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  • structure of US police forces

    ok so could someone explain to me?
    you have city officers and state troopers? and state troopers just work the highways etc? am I close? and are they both governed by the same powers e.g

    NYPD and state troopers for the state of new york have to answer to the same people? are the state troopers part of NYPD or a seperate establishment?

    and what about other depts. do you have to work so long as a response officer before you can apply to become a detective? or specialise
    can you get attachments to FBI? ATF? DEA? or does this need college degrees?

    i'm just curious to know


  • #2
    I am not an LEO yet, but i believe it goes as follows:

    The municipal PD reports to the town, which reports to the county they are in.

    The NYPD would report to its county. For example, chicago is cook county, so cook would in a sense reign over chicago. Although bigger cities may have more independency.

    Counties have their county prisons where usually the inmates stay during trial or just temporarily. Municipalities only have small jails to hold an inmate until they get taken to the county.

    The county reports to the state.

    State troopers report to the state.

    Again, I may be wrong. But i figured I'd take a crack at it.

    Last edited by ZmanCarlvr; 12-16-2003, 04:34 PM.


    • #3
      sturucture of US police

      Iam in LE this is how it working my state.
      state troopers jurstiction over the whole state. they can make arrest anywhere in the state. they enforce state laws.
      the Sheriff jurstiction is in the his or her county. and they enforce the state laws and serve papers (like protection order)
      and City police jurstiction is just in the city limits. and they enforce state laws and city ordinances.

      they all have different commander or bosses. but they all need to get along with each other.

      about the FBI ATF, and CIS. They are the big wiggs. they inforce fedual laws. But their all their "T" are cross and "I" are Dotted. One of my instructures said he went to the FBI Training center. All he did was eat, study,go to class, and try to get a nap here or there.
      this is a test of the national weather alert system. this is only a test. [beeep]if this was a real emergency. this is the sound that you heard [aahhhhh!!!]


      • #4
        To fully explain this would take a lot more time than I have right now. But I'll try to give you a quick synopsis.

        Law enforcement in the U.S., in general, has three different levels:

        1. Federal
        Examples: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), etc.
        These agencies are controlled by the federal government. They have nationwide jurisdiction and tend to specialize in certain areas of law enforcement that affect the country as a whole.

        2. State
        Examples: State Police, State Troopers
        Each state has has a section of its constitution that addresses law enforcement in that state. Many states have created state police organizations with two primary responsibilites. The first is serving as an organization that can provide resources to smaller departments within the state that don't have the experience or training to handle certain situations. The second is to patrol rural areas that don't have their own police departments. State troopers are highway patrol officers who normally are tasked with traffic enforcement. Both state police and troopers have state-wide jurisdiction.

        3. Local
        A. County
        Example: Sheriff's Department, County Police
        Most counties in the U.S. have a sheriff's department. In just about all cases, they are charged with running the court system in their counties. This includes handling the county jail (not to be confused with the state or federal prisons) and serving civil papers. Some counties' sheriff's deputies also will be responsible for patrolling rural areas that don't have local police departments. In a few places throughout the country, county police departments have been set up, often where sheriff's departments don't do patrol work and the county has a sizeable enough population to warrant regular county-wide patrols. Both normally have county-wide jurisdiction and answer to a county board. The position of Sheriff is typically an elected position.
        B. Municipal
        Examples: City Police Departments
        Municipalities (cities, towns, villages, etc.) often have their own police departments responsible for law enforcement within their borders. In most cases their jurisdiction ends at those same borders. They are usually overseen by city government.

        In reading my reply, you may notice my liberal use of qualifiers like 'most', 'some', typically', 'often', 'normally' and others. These are general guidelines and things can be quite different throughout the U.S.
        Caution and worry never accomplished anything.


        • #5
          I love Indiana Law. A full-time Police officer/Deputy Sheriff/ State Trooper has State wide arrest powers if needed. Due to paperwork procedures that are different between different counties, an arrest is not usually done out of your county. Deputy Sheriffs patrol the county with full arrest powers. Deputy Sheriff's answer to the Sherif who only answer's to the voters. Police chiefs are appointed by town boards/city councils/mayors and Superentendant (sp?) of State Police is appointed by Gov.


          • #6
            The NYPD answers to the NYC mayor. New York City covers 5 counties and is the sole police force of those area's (with the exception of some port authority and TBATA locations).

            No one except the NYPD answers 911 calls.

            A police Officer in New York State has full arrest powers in the entire state on or off-duty/


            • #7
              A police Officer in New York State has full arrest powers in the entire state on or off-duty/
              If you are referring to a Trooper then yes. Not so for city/county/village etc.


              • #8
                thanks alot folks, i think i'm a little wiser to it now seems a lot more complicated than over here however your country is alot bigger!


                • #9
                  As to "attachment" to Federal agencies. There are task forces, where all levels of law enforcement may work together. However, in some cases, the local officers cannot have the authority of the Federal officers. For example, I was with U.S. Customs, which has special search authority regarding the border and nexus to the border (a legal concept). In short, I could make certain searches without a warrent. If a local officer was assigned to a task force with me, I would have to initiate the search, and then 'require' the local officer to help me (under a special Federal law requiring all persons to assist a Customs officer).
                  In some cases, we would train and "cross designate" a local officer as a Customs Officer, with the same search authority in the absence of a Customs ofiicer.

                  In most states, a sworn local officer has arrest authority state wide, but usually will not make an arrest in another jurisdiction without an officer from that department. Thus, a city officer with a warrent can arrest a person out in the county (outside the city), but usually takes a Sheriff's Deputy with him/her. Only Federal officers have authority that crosses state lines.

                  All these different agencies have different controlling bodies (city chief/council, County Sheriff/Board of Supervisors, State Commander/Govenor, Federal Agency Head/U.S. President).

                  Clear as mud, right?
                  "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                  John Stuart Mill


                  • #10
                    IN FL, you have city police departments, sheriff's office which is responsible for LE services in cities that contract them, as well as the unincorporated areas. FHP does nothing but traffic on highways, and state roads. The sheriff's office does have county wide jurisdiction, but normally will not do much in a city that has their own PD. There are attachments available to federal agencies such as DEA, FBI, ATF, etc...
                    In law enforcement, the customer is ALWAYS wrong.

                    In God we trust. Everyone else is run through NCIC.

                    Sometimes there is justice. Sometimes there is just us.

                    I'd rather be tried by 12 then carried by 6.

                    The opinions given in my posts do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sgt. Mikey
                      If you are referring to a Trooper then yes. Not so for city/county/village etc.
                      Oh really? I don't know where you work, but I am a NYC police Officer and I have full arrest powers in all of NYS on or off-duty.

                      That's the case for all police officers anywhere in NYS. PEACE officers on the other hand, can only arrest while on duty (corrections offices and the like)


                      • #12
                        It's a pretty interesting topic. From what I have learned so far:

                        City Police: Authority is limited to city limits and has no arrest power outside the city limits. City police reports to city police chief.

                        County Sheriff/Police: Can make arrests and enforce laws anywhere in the designated county, including city/townships within the county, and has no arrest power outside the county boundaries. County Sheriff/Police reports to county deputy or county police cheif.

                        State Police: Has arrest power anywhere within the state and enforces laws and regulations anywhere in the state. State police reports to State Police Cheif.

                        Federal Agency(CIA, FBI, NSA, US Marshal, DEA, etc.): Have nation-wide power, however, they mostly have arrest power within their districts.

                        However, all the LE agencys work very well together and coordinate activities and resources.

                        Getting int Fed. Agency does require a 4-year degree, plus some years of consequetive full-time employment. However, if you have special skills such as be a computer guru, fluent in languages such as chinese, arabic, french, purtegues, spanish, etc., can substitute for the employment requirement.
                        Better to sweat in the gym than to bleed on the street


                        • #13
                          Almost right, Moshref. Local officers (City, County) have authority (arrest powers) outside their city or county anywhere in their state, but as a matter of courtsey (I kan't spell!) will not make an arrest without an officer from that jurisdiction. If it is something that requires immediate action, they will make the arrest, but notify the local agency.
                          Federal agencies are devided by function - I was a Customs Officer, and could make an arrest anyplace in "the special Customs territory of the United States". I was expected to make those arrests only for Customs violations. However, if I encountered someone with, say, an unregistered sawed off shotgun, I would arrest him/her, but would then notify AFTE and turn the prisoner over to them.

                          Cities have Chiefs of Police,
                          Counties have Sheriff's (The only elected police position)
                          States have a Commisioner or Commander of State Police
                          Federal Agencies have Department/Bureau Chiefs (or Commisioners). They are part of the Execuitive Branch, so they all report to the President.

                          The role of the Sheriff varies greatly from state to state. IN GENERAL, on the East Coast, there are strong state police agencies, and the Sheriff handles court security, serves court papers, and runs the county jail. In the West, the state agencies are generaly Highway Patrols, and the Sheriffs deputies patrol unincorporated areas and provide all police services, in addition to the other services.
                          "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                          John Stuart Mill


                          • #14
                            Oh really? I don't know where you work, but I am a NYC police Officer and I have full arrest powers in all of NYS on or off-duty.
                            Try disconning someone outside of the city, as a police officer, and see how far you get.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sgt. Mikey
                              Try disconning someone outside of the city, as a police officer, and see how far you get.
                              Ok, i thought I said Full arrest powers from CRIMES (felony/misdemeanor), sorry about the mix-up.


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