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View Full Version : What Exactly Constitutes "Desk Duty"?



Jcomp
06-23-2008, 08:22 PM
You often hear talk of police officers placed on "Desk Duty," but what exactly does that mean? What are the responsibilities of an officer working a "desk job?" One of my primary characters in my WIP is on Desk Duty and I don't want to just use that generic term. I want to add some authenticity to it to show why it is that she's unhappy with this assignment.

Thanks in advance for any help.

tallus83
06-23-2008, 09:30 PM
Being put on desk-duty means the officer does not ride in a patrol car, etc. for his/her shift. Kind of like keeping them away from the public for one reason or another.

This is not the same as an officer permanently assigned desk-duty/admin.

CatSlave
06-23-2008, 09:47 PM
In a real estate office, the person on desk duty answers and handles the incoming phone calls.

Maybe a desk duty police officer does the same? Answers incoming calls and routes them to dispatch? Just guessing here.

FinbarReilly
06-23-2008, 10:22 PM
Actually, it's worse for a police officer. It's sort of a nastier version of admin; not only do you answer calls, you are also looking over paperwork, taking care of the more annoying paperwork, and essentially sequestered as far away from regular people as possible (no patrolling, dispatch or detecting responsibilities).

If it helps...
FR

kristie911
06-23-2008, 10:53 PM
Is it desk duty because of discipline or because of injury?

Discipline would be horrible. Shoved away at a desk doing paperwork that really doesn't need to be done, maybe having to organize old files, purge stuff...basically just crappy busy work that admin is making up to keep them busy.

Desk duty because of injury isn't great but at least it's not a punishment. Paperwork that actually needs to be done, probably working the front desk, answering phones, working with the public at the front desk, taking walk-in type reports (minor accidents, things like that). Busy work but usually necessary busy work.

kuwisdelu
06-24-2008, 12:22 AM
Well, in the X-Files, when Mulder and Scully would put on desk duty as "punishment," it consisted of doing background checks on various suspects, government job applicants, etc. But that was the FBI. I don't know about the police.

/nerdism

Horseshoes
06-24-2008, 05:25 AM
Listen to Kristie.
I've been placed on *light duty* (our term, instead of desk duty) and essentially, I just got assigned to one of the detective units (property crimes is the hindend of police work), doing exactly what a dick does except I was not to have contact w/ suspects outside of the station, and leaving to find witness who could be stinkers required me to have a second ofc.

On the other hand, if it's disciplinary, depends on what's being investigated on your ofc char, or if the disciplinary inv is done, what was the founded accusation? DV? Lautenberg applies after conviction but many depts are precautionary and do not allow ofcs to carry if there's a case proceeding.

Williebee
06-24-2008, 05:32 AM
What Kristie said. In a small department like the one here, we also teach them to work dispatch and make them cover the 911 dispatcher's lunch breaks.

They handle "walk-ins", the folks that want to report they've lost their wallet, keys, car (I'm sorry officer, I was really loaded last night.) or file a complaint because the kids down the street keep skateboarding on their sidewalk, the neighbor's dog eats their newspaper, or someone stole the car they left the keys in last night (because they were really loaded.)

I actually had a guy park his truck on the railroad tracks and walk over to sleep under a tree. He said it was a good place to park, because it was the top of a rise and he felt he was too drunk to drive, but he wanted to be able to see the truck in the morning. By the way, the tree was too far to walk so he just lay down outside the truck.

benbradley
06-24-2008, 05:54 AM
Whoa! I understood everything in this thread up to to this post, which appears to use a lot of police-specific abbreviations and terminology that I'm having a time trying to decode. What I don't have a clue about is in bold, and what I think I understand but am not sure of is in red.

Listen to Kristie.
I've been placed on *light duty* (our term, instead of desk duty) and essentially, I just got assigned to one of the detective units (property crimes is the hindend of police work), doing exactly what a dick does except I was not to have contact w/ suspects outside of the station, and leaving to find witness who could be stinkers required me to have a second ofc. [ofc = officer?]

On the other hand, if it's disciplinary, depends on what's being investigated on your ofc char [officer character?], or if the disciplinary inv [investigation? I at first thought inventory, but that's surely not it] is done, what was the founded accusation? DV? Lautenberg applies after conviction but many depts are precautionary and do not allow ofcs to carry [as in "carry a gun," thus they can't do any duty that requires carrying a gun?] if there's a case proceeding.
Thanks, Ben. 10-4.

RJK
06-25-2008, 11:32 PM
Desk duty is just that. It can be any number of kinds of work, depending on the size of the department and the reason for the assignment to desk duty. I'm quessing your officer is assigned to desk duty while her superiors complete an investigation regarding her actions. This is most frequently seen following an officer involved shooting.

If you haven't worked the streets, either in a patrol car or an unmarked detective car, it may be difficult to visualize how restricting a 'desk' job is to a police officer. On this desk duty, they are doing work they don't particularly like, their boss is right there looking over her shoulder, and the action is out on the street where she is not.