Patrol Division

Burlington officers employ a community policing philosophy in keeping with the department’s mission statement: The police department is committed to improving the quality of life in partnership with our community through fair and professional police services. We use a community-oriented policing service that uses a cooperative approach to meet the safety needs of the community we serve. Our goal is to be more familiar with our community and to establish trust between its members and our officers while providing efficient and effective services.
Each shift is supervised by a lieutenant and two sergeants. Patrol officers are considered first responders; they are responsible for investigating a variety of crimes and responding to all requests for police services. Each patrol officer has received a minimum of 648 hours of Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) and continues their law enforcement training throughout their career. The officers are strategically assigned to a patrol area or beat to provide 24 hours of continual coverage to the community. 

Calls for police services are generated by community members contacting Communications using either 911 or our non-emergency number (336) 229-3500 to report criminal or suspicious activity. Patrol officers are responsible for investigating criminal violations, traffic violations, traffic collisions, and serving arrest warrants. Some officers in the Patrol Division have additional specialized training in police K-9crime scene processing, driving while impaired (DWI) detection, or speed enforcement.

Patrol Beats:

Consistent with our community policing philosophy, the city of Burlington is divided into four patrol beatsThis ensures that assigned beat officers will become accustomed to beat neighborhoods and residents which allows them to better serve their community. By being aware of their beat's characteristics and residents, the beat officer can focus on solving problems and concerns within their beat.

Each sergeant is the leader of a team and is responsible for several beats. The officers and their sergeant work the same rotation. Officers assigned to the team are assigned to specific beats. Beat officers can work together on projects and are not solely restricted to their area. All officers are directed to practice good community policing practices and work closely with community leaders, faith-based organizations, and community watch groups.

Components of the Patrol Division

There are several different resources available for patrol officers and residents, some of these are listed below:
  • Patrol Desk: The patrol desk is staffed by former officers and professional staff. As former officers, these individuals are helpful in answering inquiries from the public. Residents may contact the patrol desk by calling (336) 229-3503. 
  • Drug Recognition Experts: The department has officers who are specially trained in the detection and identification of narcotics impaired driving. They assist in identifying the types of substances that an impaired driver may have introduced into their body. They also testify to the driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of the identified narcotics.
  • Crime Scene Investigators: Each patrol shift has officers who have received specialized training directly related to crime scene processing. The officers utilize advanced scene processing and photography training to recover and document evidence at crime scenes. The officers are trained in recovering DNA, latent fingerprints, tool marks, hair, fiber, and serology (serums: blood or other bodily fluids) evidence.
  • Ride AlongResidents can apply for permission to accompany an officer on a patrol shift and see first-hand what officers experience on a regular day on duty. Citizens are required to complete a short background check and schedule a time to ride at least two weeks in advance.

Community Policing:

It is a philosophy that guides police management style and operational strategies. It emphasizes the establishment of police/ community partnerships and a problem-solving approach that is responsive to the needs of the community in order to design and implement solutions and services that are truly community-based. This requires police to make a conscious effort to create an atmosphere in which community partners actively and willingly cooperate with the police.

It is effective at problem-solving by identifying crime and conflict, actual and potential, then using those results to develop measures that address those problems. It is a partnership with the objective of determining community needs and policing priorities and to promote police accountability and effectiveness; it should include the participation of all stakeholders. It respects and protects human rights, appreciates and accommodates our diverse community, shares responsibility, and solves problems in consultation with the community. It educates police personnel and community members to enable constructive participation, and it enhances the accountability of police to the community they serve.

Body Worn Cameras:

In a continued effort to maintain and develop trust with the community, the Burlington Police Department has equipped all sworn officers with body-worn cameras. The camera is to be worn on the chest, and it continually records footage while officers are on duty. Officers use body-worn cameras in most interactions with the public, such as interviews, arrests, and traffic stops. These cameras promote transparency and legitimacy of police encounters. 

We use the cameras to demonstrate to the community that our officers act in a fair and just manner. Cameras are used as a tool to collect digital evidence to be used in the successful prosecution of cases. They are also used to review complaints filed by citizens against officers. So any interaction a community member has with an officer may be recorded.

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