The Patrol Division is composed of uniform officers who answer calls for service, detect and deter crime.
The Patrol Division provides 24 hour coverage and is divided into four units -- two day shifts and two night shifts.
The Patrol Division answers an average of 3000 calls a month.
This includes some officer initiated activities.
Criminal Investigations Division
The Criminal Investigations Division investigates all felony crimes and prepares cases to be presented to the District Attorney.
Investigators also review all police reports filed by
citizens and investigate misdemeanor crimes.
Traffic officers focus on investigating vehicle crashes and enforcing traffic laws by targeting offenses that are the cause of most crashes and focusing on locations with high amounts of crashes.
Hazardous Devices Unit
The Hazardous Devices Unit, also known as the bomb squad, investigates, detects, transports and disarms explosive devices and objects suspected to be explosive.
Explosives Officers have extensive training in this field.
Special Operations Team (SWAT)
The Special Operations Team, also known as SWAT, is a unit of officers highly trained in various weaponry and tactics. SWAT is used in high risk situations where the potential for danger is great. Common situations
where SWAT is needed are hostage situations, barricaded persons, and high-risk warrant service.
Through the well trained team concept, combined with special weapons and tactics, the goal of SWAT is to apprehend dangerous persons without
death or injuries to all parties involved. SWAT officers receive extensive training above that of other police officers and ongoing training twice a month.
One piece of SWAT equipment that is recognizable to the public are the hoods that SWAT members are often seen wearing. These hoods, or balaclava, are not to conceal the officers' identity, but is protection for the officers face and neck from tear gas which is frequently used. There is also a benefit of intimidation to the offenders to urge surrender.
The K-9 Unit consists of two Handler/Dog teams. The K-9 Units support officers in the field by searching for drugs and tracking for wanted or missing persons.
The K-9 Units also conduct demonstrations for schools and civic organizations to help educate and deter and prevent drug use.
Officers who volunteer for K-9 duty train regularly and care for the dogs themselves.
The Dive Team is made up of volunteer officers who are trained and certified in open water diving .Some officers are trained in underwater search and rescue, and underwater crime scene investigation methods.
The Dive Team is used for underwater evidence searches, drowning, recovery of stolen property, and water rescues.
The Mounted Unit consists of four specially trained horses and officers.
The Mounted Officers work special events such as the W.C. Handy Music Festival street parties, and parking lot patrols during holiday seasons.
The Mounted Unit provides a deterrent to crime and disorderly persons from their elevated mounts, enabling officers to see over crowds and parked cars.
On rare occasions the massive size of the horse is used to disperse crowds.
School Resource Officers (SRO)
School Resource Officers, or SRO's, are police officers who are assigned to schools on a full time basis. The program was first implemented in 1992. One of the goals of the SRO program is to break down barriers between police and youth and to provide positive role models.
Since these officers are located in the schools, SRO's will be more aware of unhealthy or negative behaviors before they cause a student to be referred to the Criminal Justice System. There are three main responsibilities of the SRO - Law Enforcer, Instructor, and Advisor
The Records Division is responsible with recording, archiving, and maintaining all official police reports. The Records Division prepares Uniform Crime Reports required by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Alabama Criminal Justice System.
Until 1996 all reports were manually filed and searched. In 1996 the Florence Police Department computerized all records. Records personnel complete, update, maintain and scan all police reports into the computer system.
The Communications Division is the nerve center of city emergency services and receives all calls for service from the police department.
Communications Dispatchers provide computer searches for wanted fugitives, stolen property, and information through the National Crime Information Center and Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center.
Dispatchers also enter missing and wanted persons, stolen property and bulletins into the computer information systems.
Communications Dispatchers conduct all computer searches requested by officers concerning driver's license, vehicle registration, and criminal histories.
Police Ranger Program
The Police Ranger Program was designed to allow youth from ages 16 to 21, who are interested in law enforcement, to work with officers in a limited capacity. The Rangers ride with police officers on patrol, assist with traffic control on special events, and gain experience in the various aspects of police work.
Citizen Volunteer Program
The citizen volunteer program utilizes volunteers to staff departmental programs and reduce officer paperwork to allow more patrol time. The volunteers publish a quarterly newsletter to inform the public about the Florence Police Department, and is distributed in the Courier Journal, a community newspaper. The volunteers enter data from officer reports, business information, and various other data into the computer system.
In May of 1991, the Florence Police Department and Florence Housing Authority entered into an agreement together to provide more needed law enforcement in the areas owned and managed by the Authority. The officers are responsible for 659 units and 1321 individuals.
The officers handle a wide range of responsibilities including meeting with investigators, responding to calls for assistance in public housing, writing reports on criminal activity, maintaining surveillance of gang and drug activity, conducting background investigations on potential residents, patrolling on foot, motor scooters, and police cars, attending gang recognition seminars, attending monthly firearm training, reporting to the Housing Authority Director weekly, holding meetings with problem tenants, assisting in tenant evictions, and maintaining an "open door" policy so tenants can have easy access to officers.
The officer-goal is to focus on the development of relationships with residents by showing concern for their status and encouraging them to accept responsibility for solving their own individual problems in addition to helping maintain the overall quality of life in the housing communities.