The Law Enforcement Division, commanded by a lieutenant, is comprised of four squads, each of which is supervised by a sergeant. The members of the Law Enforcement Division work a 12 hour shift schedule, and are assigned to either the day shift or night shift and begin work at 6:00 am and 6:00 pm, respectively. Each cycle is two weeks in length and consists of 84 work hours. The shifts are permanent and are assigned through a shift bid that is conducted annually. Members may be re-assigned to shifts based on the needs of the agency.
Example of a day shift schedule:
|Week 1||6am – 6pm||6am – 6pm||Day Off||Day Off||6am – 6pm||6am – 6pm||6am – 6pm|
|week 2||Day Off||Day Off||6am – 6pm||6am – 6pm||Day Off||Day Off||Day Off|
The Law Enforcement Division is the largest division within the agency. Along with daily patrol functions, the primary functions include, but are not limited to, response to calls for service, preventative patrol, crime prevention and suppression, criminal apprehension and prosecution, report writing, court testimony, traffic control, direction and enforcement, crisis intervention and the development of relationships within the community and with our citizens, merchants and businesses, and visitors. The Law Enforcement Division is charged with the responsibility of providing 24-hour-a-day police service, every day of the year.
All new officers receive extensive training. To be certified as a police officer in the State of Florida, an individual must complete a minimum of 770 hours of basic recruit training provided by a certified police academy training center. After completing the basic recruit training, the aspiring officer must pass a state examination on the principles and techniques learned in the police academy. A new officer must complete the basic training and pass the state examination before being certified as a law enforcement officer in Florida.
Once an officer is certified and employed by the Auburndale Police Department, he/she is integrated into the Field Training Program and assigned to a series of Field Training Officers. Upon successful completion of a minimum of 17 weeks in the Field Training Program, the new officer is then assigned to solo duty on one of the patrol squads.
All agency members must complete a one (1) year probationary period. Once an officer has successfully completed probation and has completed certain required advanced training classes, the officer may be eligible to transfer into other areas of the department. Some of these areas include:
Detectives assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit (CIU) are selected from the various squads and units within the Law Enforcement Division through a competitive process. They first request to transfer to the Criminal Investigations Unit and then are chosen after a review of several important performance areas.
The review of their work includes an assessment of their performance in prior assignments based on supervisory evaluations, a review of their prior investigations to look at how thorough and detailed they were, a review of reports written, their ability to interact in a positive way with members in the community, their proactive activities, and other important areas.
Once they are chosen and complete training, detectives are assigned to conduct follow-up investigations based on initial reports and investigations completed by officers assigned to Patrol. These investigations most often involve felony crimes such as burglary, auto theft, and fraud. They also investigate sex crimes, child victim crimes, robberies, and homicides and other suspicious deaths.
Officers assigned as a K-9 handler are selected through a competitive process from the squads and units within the police department. Those selected for assignment to a K-9 team have to be highly motivated, and need to have a love for dogs. Since the dog will live at home with the handler and be his/her responsibility, the handler has to have an ability to create a strong relationship with his K-9 partner.
After selection, the handler and his K-9 partner attend a significant amount of training specific to their assignment. This involves a scent discrimination course that teaches the dog to sniff a garment or other item and then use that odor to track down the person who last wore or handled it.
The K-9 team is required to complete a basic patrol canine course as well that teaches them obedience, how to track missing people or criminal suspects, how to conduct an area search to find an article, how to go over, around, or through an obstacle like a fence or a wall, how to determine where a suspect might be hiding, and how to apprehend a suspect, among other things.
Lastly, the K-9 team completes a course in either narcotics detection or explosives detection, which teaches the dog how to search for and safely find narcotics or explosives.
School Resource Officer
School Resource Officers (SROs) are selected from the various units and squads within the police department for assignment to one of the schools within the city. Currently, there is one officer assigned to Auburndale High School, one assigned to Stambaugh Middle School, and one officer assigned to the elementary schools in the city.
SROs work on campus to mentor and provide counsel to students and act as a resource for the school faculty and staff; they focus on building a rapport with students in order to enhance citizen-police relationships; they teach classes such as the Substance Abuse & Violence Education program; they provide information on other topics; and they occasionally investigate criminal offenses that occur on campus. The criminal cases are resolved either through the Teen Court process (a diversion program) or they are referred to the Office of the State Attorney for prosecution, based on whether the offender has prior involvement in the juvenile or criminal justice system.
Through their visibility and active efforts, SROs provide a level of safety and security on campus during the school day as well as during after-school hours at inter-school athletic events.
Traffic Homicide Investigator
Traffic Homicide Investigators (THIs) are specially trained patrol officers who are given additional responsibilities. After appointment as a THI, the officer is called on to investigate motor vehicle crashes that involve serious bodily injuries or fatalities. The special training they receive includes an 80-hour basic traffic homicide investigations course, and an advanced 80-hour THI course. They may also attend specific training regarding the investigation of pedestrian crashes, motorcycle crashes, and commercial vehicle crashes, as well as a more advanced traffic crash reconstruction course.
The additional training involved in this assignment is required because the investigation of serious traffic crashes is very technical in nature. The laws of physics and motion are complicated and the THI is expected to call on special knowledge in order to understand and reconstruct a crash and the moments leading up to that crash. The THIs also use laser mapping equipment to map crash scenes and to reconstruct vehicle damage in some circumstances.