Law Enforcement Agencies and Organizations
Role of Local, State, and Federal Police Agencies
Law Enforcement agencies are organized into geographic districts, which includes town, city, county,
State or Federal agencies. Their duties vary depending on the size and type of the organization.
Branches of Police Department
are agencies that provide law enforcement for towns, cities and state agencies. Each police department
comprises of the following:
- Department head: Police Chief and/or Commissioner
- Station commanders and Desk Sergeants
- Police Administrators
- Evidence unit
- Special Reaction Team
- Special Weapons and Tactical Team
- Detectives and investigators units
- Uniform police officers and/or patrols
Detectives, who are often called agents or special agents, perform investigative duties such as
gathering facts and collecting evidence.
Uniformed police officers have general law enforcement duties, including maintaining
regular patrols and responding to calls for service. Much of their time is spent responding to calls and doing
paperwork. They may direct traffic at the scene of an accident, investigate a burglary, or give first aid to an
accident victim. In large police departments, officers usually are assigned to a specific type of duty. Many urban
police agencies are involved in community policing—a practice in which an officer builds relationships with the
citizens of local neighborhoods and mobilizes the public to help fight crime..
Sheriff and Deputy Sheriffs enforce the law on the county level. Sheriffs are usually
elected to their posts and perform duties similar to those of a local or county police chief. Sheriffs’ departments
tend to be relatively small, most having fewer than 50 sworn officers. Deputy sheriffs have law enforcement duties
similar to those of officers in urban police departments.
State Police or State Troopers arrest criminals Statewide and patrol highways to enforce
motor vehicle laws and regulations. State police officers often issue traffic citations to motorists. At the scene
of accidents, they may direct traffic, give first aid, and call for emergency equipment. They also write reports
used to determine the cause of the accident. State police officers are frequently called upon to render assistance
to other law enforcement agencies, especially those in rural areas or small towns.
Fish and game wardens enforce fishing, hunting, and boating laws. They patrol hunting and
fishing areas, conduct search and rescue operations, investigate complaints and accidents, and aid in prosecuting
Federal Law Enforcement
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, Drug enforcement Agencies (DEA), Fire
Arms and Tobacco Agency (FTA), U.S. Marshals and deputy marshals, Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Special Agents are examples of the Federal Government role in many areas of law
Government’s principal investigators, responsible for investigating violations of more than 200
categories of Federal law and conducting sensitive national security investigations. Agents may conduct
surveillance, monitor court-authorized wiretaps, examine business records, investigate white-collar crime, or
participate in sensitive undercover assignments. The FBI investigates a wide range of criminal activity, including
organized crime, public corruption, financial crime, bank robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, espionage, drug
trafficking, and cyber crime.
Other Federal agencies employ police and special agents with sworn arrest powers and the
authority to carry firearms. These agencies include the Postal Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Law
Enforcement, the Forest Service, and the National Park Service.