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Police Roles and Functions Running head: POLICE ROLES AND FUNCTIONS

Police Roles and Functions Allison Fernandez University of Phoenix

Police Roles and Functions All law enforcement agencies in the United States are connected to one another due to the fact that most agencies have multi levels of government and overlapping jurisdictions. In general, all levels and departments of law enforcement work and co-operate together to protect the citizens and to prevent and solve crimes. Local law enforcement agencies are entrusted with the power to serve and protect the public and maintain peace within the community. Most local law enforcement agencies are small in size and employ many civilians for data processing, finger printing, and other clerical duties. Local law enforcement agencies are responsible for patrolling an area or jurisdiction, the apprehension, detention of adult and juvenile criminal suspects, for providing emergency services, community service and relations, criminal and forensic investigations, and enforcing traffic laws. Most local law enforcement agencies also perform a standard set of functions and tasks and provide similar services to the community; these include the following: traffic enforcement, narcotics and vice control, accident investigations, radio communications, patrol, peace keeping, crime prevention, property and violent crime investigations, finger printing processing, death investigations, and search and rescue. Many local law enforcement agencies have become very involved with schools and the citizens of the community. Many schools have officers on campus to assist teachers and students. Local police also have programs like D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) that help educate children and parents about the signs of drug use, the dangers of drug use and domestic violence issues. The rural and outlaying county areas of a city are under the care of the Sheriffs Department. The Sheriff provides law enforcement to residents living in the county area. Just like local or city

police, a Sheriffs Department can vary in size. The Sheriffs Departments are assigned their duties by State law and have the primary responsibility for investigating violent crimes in their jurisdiction. Local police and a Sheriff perform basically many of the same tasks; however there are differences between the two agencies. For instance, the Sheriffs Department officers participate in the daily operations of jails. Sheriff Officers are also called upon for search and rescue operations and Sheriffs are more involved with the courts than local police officers. Also local law enforcement agencies perform more traffic related tasks than the Sheriffs Department. Another important department under the operation of the Sheriffs Department is the County Coroners Office. A County Coroners duties vary from county to county, but their main function overall is to investigate all unexplained, unnatural, or suspicious deaths. The Coroner assists law enforcement agencies with homicide investigations to help determine the accurate cause of death, as well as when and how an individual was murdered. Heres another interesting fact; if a Sheriff is arrested or forced to leave his or her position then the County Coroner becomes the main law enforcement officer for that county. The State Police are our most visible for of law enforcement on our highways today. Originally, state law enforcement agencies were created to assist local police agencies that did not have adequate resources available for crime solving, forensics, and arrest, to investigating criminal activities that have crossed state lines and providing law enforcement to county and rural areas, as well as help control labor and strike movements. Today, State law enforcement agencies focus on enforcing traffic laws, regulating traffic, investigating motor vehicle accidents and investigating violent crimes. State law enforcement agencies have a wide variety of functions and responsibilities. Basically, State police provide the

same types of services as local law enforcement agencies except that the State Police may use his or her power throughout the state they work in; whereas local police officers are limited to their use of power within the jurisdiction he or she is working in. In some cases, the type of offense committed may determine who has power or jurisdiction over the case. Federal law enforcement is divided into three categories: The Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of the Treasury. Each of these federal law enforcement agencies work together in order to solve specific types and forms of crimes. Federal law enforcement agencies are authorized by Congress to enforce specific laws or attend to specific situations. Under the Department of Justice, the following are the following departments: The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), United States Marshal Service (USMS), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The FBI is responsible for investigating federal law violations and has jurisdiction over two hundred federal crimes like sabotage, espionage, kidnapping, bank robberies, extortion, interstate crimes and civil rights violations. The FBI also helps assist and provide training to other law enforcement agencies. There are eight separate divisions under the control of the FBI; they are the National Security Division, Criminal Investigation Division, the FBI laboratory, Criminal Justice Information Services Division, Information Resources Division, Training Division, Administrative Services Division, and the Critical Incident Response Group. All eight of these agencies work together to combat worldwide criminal activity such as terrorism, organized crime, foreign intelligence, federal drug offenses and white collar crimes. Under the Department of Homeland security (DHS) the primary function is to protect United

States citizens against international and domestic terrorism. There are fifteen separate agencies that operate under the control of the Secretary of Homeland Security. The DHS consist of the United States Secret Service, the United States Customs Service, Bureau of Customs and Border protection, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Each of these agencies perform different tasks but the main objective is the same; monitor international and foreign military and or terrorist activities to protect citizens from harm, stop illegal transport and delivery of goods through customs, and stop illegal immigrants from entering the country illegally. The Department of the Treasury is also part of law enforcement. The primary office is known as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) which was formed in 1789 to regulate and control the federal governments financial affairs. The IRS mints coins and prints paper money, borrows money, collects taxes from individuals and corporations, and pays all of the federal governments expenses. The IRS Department also focuses on regulation and violations of the tax laws. The IRS has three branches; the Examination Division that audits individual and corporation tax returns. The Collection Division attempts to collect owed and past due tax from individuals and corporations. The Criminal Investigation Division investigates possible tax fraud and tax evasion cases. Even though most people do not consider the IRS as part of law enforcement, it very much is; it just mainly focuses mainly on money matters. However just like with all the agencies, the IRS under Federal Law can carry a firearm and arrest you. Our personal survival depends on our law enforcement agencies to provide us with protection and community service and apprehend criminal suspects. If anyone of these organizations only had power to function within a specific community, then the rest of the places outside of this community would probably see a dramatic rise in criminal behavior and activity.

Without laws and law enforcement agencies, the world would become disorderly and chaotic. Overall, all of these law enforcement agencies carryout many of the same the responsibilities: providing citizens with community services, maintaining the peace, preventing and controlling crime, the apprehension of criminal suspects, and maintaining order of a community by the laws of our nation.

References Duties & functions of the u.s. department of the treasury. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.treasury.gov/about/role-of-treasury/Pages/default.aspx About the department of justice. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/about/about.html About the department of homeland security. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.dhs.gov/xabout/