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Tom Dempsey

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Law Enforcement for the Twenty-First Century: An Entry-Level Guide
David Coffey  More Info
Contemporary Patrol Tactics - A Practical Guide for Patrol Officers
Dempsey  More Info

About the Torrance Police Department

The City of Torrance is located in southwest Los Angeles County in a region known as the South Bay. The fourth largest municipality in Los Angeles County, the City is bordered on the southwest by one mile of beach, on the west by the City of Redondo Beach, on the north by the community of Lawndale, on the east by the Cities of Los Angeles' Harbor Gateway and Gardena, and on the south by the communities of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.


The City is part of the greater suburban Los Angeles area. Prior to 1912, Torrance was part of a Spanish land grant belonging to the Dominguez family. The land was largely unpopulated, open, dusty plain. By 1912, a real estate developer from Pasadena named Jared Sidney Torrance had purchased 2800 acres to make his vision of a "Modern Industrial City" a reality. Police services during this period were provided by Los Angeles County in the form of a Constable stationed in Lomita. During these early years, the City's physical layout followed Jared Sydney Torrance's master plan.


Today, the Torrance Police Department has 240 sworn police officers and 101 civilian support personnel.  In addition to the main police station, the Torrance Police Department operates four Police Community Centers.  The Torrance Police Department is organized into four Bureaus, with a Captain in charge of each bureau, reporting to the Deputy Chief of Police.  The four bureaus are:  Administrative, Services, Patrol and Special Operations.

 The Patrol Bureau contains the Patrol  Division which is the largest personnel pool in the department.  The Patrol Division is under the command of one captain. Six lieutenants serve as watch commanders. There are twelve field sergeants and 80 officers in Patrol. Lieutenants, sergeants and officers are assigned to work one of three different shifts, 07,15 or 00 watch. The City is divided into 6 beats, with each beat patrolled by at least one unit.  Patrol is the largest division within the Police Department, and the Patrol Officers are the first responders to our community's calls for service; playing a key role in our public service, crime prevention, crime detection, criminal apprehension, S.W.A.T., C.S.I., K9 and Community-Oriented Policing efforts.  

Patrol Officers generally work in full uniform and operate marked black and white police vehicles. A Patrol Officer's day ranges from handling routine reports to life threatening dangerous situations. When not answering calls for service, Patrol Officers seek out and proactively suppress criminal activity. They also routinely participate in such activities as traffic enforcement, community problem-solving activities, assisting citizens in improving the quality of life in the City and numerous other law enforcement functions




Tom Dempsey has been the Director of the Police Training Institute (PTI) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign since June 2002. In that capacity he directs the activities of the only law enforcement training activity in the United States that is a unit of a major research institution. Prior to accepting his current position, Director Dempsey was a faculty member and program director at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia.


Tom Dempsey was a Torrance Police Department police officer for eighteen years.  He served in a variety of assignments including as a police officer, supervisor and manager in patrol, investigations, vice and narcotics and administration. He is also a former United States Marine Corps officer. Tom Dempsey holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Arizona State University and Master’s degrees in public administration and in criminal justice administration from California State University.


Tom Dempsey is the co-author of Law Enforcement for the Twenty-First Century.  According to the book description, Law Enforcement for the Twenty-First Century, “continues to be a valuable tool for both instructors and students of law enforcement because it identifies and thoroughly examines the entry-level training topics that form the foundation of the successful law enforcement officer’s career.

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