July 29, 2011

Behind the Scenes: Roll Call

One of the most requested spots to visit at the police department is the Roll Call Room.  Maybe it's from watching a lot of police shows, or a few police movies, but this room always seems mysterious. So we thought we'd take the mystery away and give you a quick run down of what happens during Roll Call (aka briefing).

Officers begin each of their shifts with a briefing by the sergeant and lieutenant. This is an opportunity for officers to learn about crime hot spots, stolen vehicles, wanted persons and administrative information. Predictive policing? Reviewed at Roll Call. Are you going on vacation and need extra checks by your home? Provided during this briefing. Did your car get stolen or you believe you have a drug house in your neighborhood? Expect it to be discussed at Roll Call.

In other words, this briefing normalizes information across shifts. It makes sure that each shift is on the same page for what needs to be done operationally that day. And the information is extremely up-to-date (items are added to briefing that could be minutes old).

Why is this important? The police department is a 24-hour operation. Crimes may occur on the shift before you that are important for you to be aware of - Roll Call will cover that. Maybe a new trend is developing but it occurred during a part of the week you don't work - Roll Call will cover that. And there are shifts (think graveyard/overnight shift) that have limited to no contact during that assignment with administrative staff. These shifts need to learn about new policies/procedures/legal updates/training updates or other changes that they wouldn't know without this briefing.