Law enforcement – Key agencies, jobs, and training Everything else

Law enforcement – Key agencies, jobs, and training

Law enforcement is a disciplinary activity to enforce rules and regulations set by legal bodies governing society. It also entails identifying, punishing, and rehabilitating people who violate the law. The purpose here is to mitigate the damage caused by the offense and caution others of the consequences of committing criminal deeds. It plays a vital role in maintaining peace and smooth functioning of the society, community, state, and country and preventing riots among people.

In the country, law enforcement agencies are categorized as local, state, and federal.

Local agencies: Local authorities are the primary point for reporting criminal activities. They are responsible for taking immediate actions, preventive measures, and recording complaints. They escalate cases that involve a state-wide or nationwide network of syndicates to state or federal agencies. Local authorities include the city police department, county sheriff’s office, transit authority police, school district police, housing authority police, district attorney’s office investigators, airport police, harbor police, university police, and hospital police.

State agencies: State law enforcement agencies exercise their powers across respective states without boundaries between counties or jurisdictions. They collaborate with other departments depending on the investigation requirements. The agencies generally include state troopers, highway patrol, the department of corrections, state port authority, the attorney general office, and the department of conservation.

Federal agencies: The authorities here exercise their powers across the country over national concerns. They work against anti-social elements, including terrorism, that threaten public safety and damage national assets. Some prominent examples include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and United States Marshal Service. Many federal agencies work under the supervision of justice, agriculture, defense, education, commerce, and homeland security departments. Some of them, such as the Secret Service, work under the direct supervision of the president.

Common law enforcement jobs consist of the following roles:

Uniformed officers: The officers are required to take immediate actions in response to anti-social and undesirable events, such as fire accidents and murder. They are the primary point of contact for people in trouble. Local police officers, deputy sheriffs, state troopers, or border patrol agents are all uniformed officers. One of the skills required for this law enforcement type is the ability to build connections with citizens and utilize them to prevent crime.

Investigators: Investigators gather evidence, analyze, and trace criminal activities to find perpetrators. They contribute to solving crimes and help the government recognize the need for reforms in regulations related to public safety. They are usually plain-clothed officers, but special agents from federal offices are in uniform. The key traits required for the job are agility, patience, broad-mindedness, critical thinking, and reliability, as investigators need to follow the suspects, engage in raids, and arrest criminals. Most investigators working for state and federal agencies have an in-depth understanding of dealing with a single type of violation. Agencies may also hire candidates without prior experience in investigations.

Support positions: These roles call for assisting investigators in law enforcement services that require a specific skill. Evidence technicians, firearms or ballistic examiners, crime lab technicians, handwriting examiners, intelligence analysts, and investigative assistants are common support roles.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, selected candidates should receive about 21 weeks of police academy training, which includes classroom instructions and field training. It focuses on the following elements:

  • Operations training, such as on high-speed chases, first information reports, preliminary examination of crime scenes, and CPR
  • Training on firearms and defense tactics
  • Skill-development training to improve communication and ethical behavior
  • Lessons on law-related subjects, such as the US constitution and traffic regulations

Following entry-level law enforcement training, officers undergo various kinds of training throughout their careers to stay updated regarding new developments relevant to the law.

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center: FLETC, run by the Department of Homeland Security, offers 83 basic and advanced training programs in partnership with 105 federal agencies. The programs cover various aspects of investigation and law and order. Some of them are:

  • Active shooter threat training program
  • Basic first aid and safety training program
  • Crime scene investigators’ training program
  • Cyber incident response and analysis
  • Financial investigation and analysis training program
  • Inland boat operator training
  • Law enforcement advanced driver instructor training program
  • Seaport security antiterrorism program