This nontechnical report describes the Patrol Car Allocation Model (PCAM85), a computer program to help police agencies determine the number of patrol cars to have on duty in each of their geographical commands.
The report indicates PCAM can be used to analyze any policy question related to the number of patrol cars or patrol officers to have on duty as well as the times of day at which patrol cars should begin work. Typical applications of the model are determining the total number of patrol officers a department should have, allocating a fixed number of patrol officers among geographical commands, and assigning patrol cars to geographical commands at the start of each tour. Examples of dispatching practices that cannot be studied using PCAM are listed. PCAM's descriptive capabilities permit displaying quantitative information about any allocation of patrol cars by time of day and geographical command. Prescriptive capabilities specify allocations that best meet the performance standards established by the user. An explanation of data needed to use the program is provided covering geographical commands, patrol car operations, and anticipated number and length of service calls per each for each day in each geographical command. A discussion or resources needed for PCAM considers characteristics of the required computer system, cost, the effort in preparing a data base, and staff requirements. The appendix lists names, addresses, and phone numbers of persons who can provide further information on the model. Twenty-three references are listed. For the user's guide to PCAM and program description, see NCJ 98720-21.