Police roles and Functions Paper
May 16, 2013
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 ( Siegel, Senna, 2008).
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. 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 Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff provides law
enforcement to residents living in the county area. Just like local or city police a Sheriff’s
Department can vary in size. The Sheriff’s Department’s are assigned their duties by State law
and have the primary responsibility for investigating violent crimes in their jurisdiction (Gaines,
Local police and a Sheriff perform basically many of the same tasks however there are
differences between the two agencies. For instance the Sheriff’s Department officers participate
in the daily operations of jails. Sheriff Officers are also called upon for search and rescue
operations, and Sheriff’s are more involved with the courts than local police officers (Gaines,
Miller, 2006). Also local law enforcement agencies perform more traffic related tasks than the
Sheriff’s Department. Another important department under the operation of the Sheriff’s
Department is the County Coroner’s Office. A County Coroner’s duties vary from county to
county but their main function overall is to investigate all unexplained, unnatural, or suspicious
deaths (Gaines, Miller, 2006). Coroner’s assist law enforcement agencies with homicide
investigations to help determine the accurate cause of death and when and how and an individual
was murdered. Here’s 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 investigate criminal
activities that have crossed state lines, to provide law enforcement to county and rural areas and
to control labor and strike movements (Gaines, Miller, 2006).
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...
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