Organizational Management and Operations
The federal, state and local police have different responsibilities and duties. They are tasked with protecting the society by acting to prevent crime, maintain law and order, and serving the public. Most of the police serve in the local agencies. The agencies are independent, and they are governed by a set of established policies and procedures. Policing at different levels have experienced changes which have resulted from technological improvements, social, political, and economic pressures, as well as the need for more security based on increased terror threats. The police have realized the need to become more engaged with the public, and this has contributed to some of the changes. The local law enforcement agencies often work directly with the community. However, there has been great collaboration among the different agencies in the last few years, and this has helped to increase efficiency and operations within the agencies.
Federal policing is concerned with enforcing the statutes that are contained in the United States code. Federal agencies are highly specialized, and they have distinctive resources and training. The Federal Bureau of Investigations and The Department of Homeland Security have enforcement powers. Other agencies include Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, US Customs Service, US Marshal’s Service, and Immigration and Naturalization Service. They act on issues that affect the nation. Some of the responsibilities include dealing with issues such as immigration, drugs, kidnapping, terrorism, and other threats to national security.
The US does not have a national police service. However, it has federal law enforcement agencies. Over the years, the number of the federal agencies and their responsibilities has continued to increase over the years. This has expanded the participation of the federal government in matters concerning crime and law enforcement. Increased threats of terror have been especially responsible for the increase in the federal government’s involvement. The department of homeland security has the responsibility of protecting the country from terror attacks and it works with 24 police agencies. Most of the federal agencies have police powers (Gaines and Miller 13).
State agencies enforce state laws and investigate crimes in the states and in rural areas that do not have local police. They include the highway patrol as well as state police departments. They have a larger jurisdiction than the local agencies, but they do not operate at a national level. They have several specialized units. Hawaii is the only state without state law enforcement agencies. Some states have specialized law enforcement agencies such as fire marshals, investigators for welfare fraud, and fish and game wardens among others.
The state police or highway patrols are the most common state police agencies. Historically, the state police agencies were established with the objectives of assisting local policing who often did not have adequate training or resources. They were also used to break up strikes and other labor movements. Presently, there are 26 highway patrols and 23 state police agencies. There are also state investigators, who are not part of the patrols or state police. State policing in some states have full-service police departments and statewide jurisdictions. Highway patrols have limited authority. Most of them concentrate on traffic activities, and restrict their patrols to state and federal highways (Gaines and Kappeler 40)
The local police work directly with the communities. Some of the functions include patrol work, responding to service calls, assisting the public, and traffic duties. The local law enforcement agencies provide emergency services, community services, and detention for the offenders. In addition, they are involved in crime prevention and investigations. The local agencies consist of metropolitan departments and local sheriffs. The metropolitan departments are managed by police commissioner or chiefs, elected by the local executive. A popularly elected sheriff heads and manages the sheriff offices. The duties of sheriffs vary depending on the size of their department and the level of urbanization in their counties. Some of the duties include court related and correctional duties, as well as law enforcement activities.
The different police functions at the three levels have some similarities. They can enforce the law, and this gives them the right to arrest suspects. They protect the rights of the people, and they ensure that those they serve are safe and secure. They follow the laws and regulations established in their jurisdictions. All agencies are governed by federal laws. However, the state agencies are governed by state laws and the local agencies are governed by the rules established by the cities or municipalities. The agencies differ in their levels of authority. Federal policing is above local and state agencies. Federal agencies can operate nationwide but local, and state agencies are restricted in their capacity. Federal agencies work under the executive and they have to go through intensive training before they receive their appointments. The level of training depends on the responsibilities that the agents will have. The number of resources provided differs among the agencies. Federal policing agencies receive the most resources
Administration functions are concerned with the direct needs of the agencies. They have little effect on the community. They include activities such as hiring, training, personnel management, planning, research, community relations, legal affairs, and internal affairs. The level of training and support is different at all levels of policing. Federal policing requires intensive and long training. Many of the federal law agencies require four-year college degree for appointments (Dempsey and Forst 56). It also needs more resources. The federal law enforcement agencies are located within the executive arm of the government, and their jurisdiction is limited by congressional authority.
Duties of federal law enforcement include inspections, police response and patrol, criminal investigations, court operations, and security and protection. Four main departments are responsible for administering most of the federal law enforcement agencies and personnel. They include the department of homeland security, department of the treasury, department of the interior, and the department of justice.
Local agencies employ the largest number of law enforcement personnel. The most common local agencies include city and municipal police and county agents. There are more than 3000 elected sheriffs and more than 160000 sworn officers. Court duties include serving of subpoenas, warrants, and civil papers and managing the jail. The sheriffs are responsible for administration and operation activities of their agencies. The county police departments are independent of the sheriff, and they report to the county commission or other forms of county government. They are present in counties with high populations, and they lessen the work of the sheriff. The county governments only control the budget. The county police departments are managed by the chief of police (Gaines and Kappeler 45).
Dempsey, John S. and Linda, Forst S. An Introduction to Policing. New York: Cengage Learning, 2015
Gaines, Larry K. and Roger, Miller L. Criminal Justice in Action. New York: Cengage Learning, 2014
Gaines, Larry K. and Victor, Kappeler E. Policing in America. New York: Routledge, 2010
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