Law enforcement is the method by which governments ensure public safety, maintain rules and enforce laws. Government officials who work to prevent and detect crimes include police officers, customs agents, and sheriffs.
They are in charge of keeping the public safe and ensuring they are treated with dignity and respect. However, many people don’t realize that being a police officer is a difficult job that requires a lot of dedication and hard work. In this article, we will outline a few things you need to know about law enforcement.
1. What Is the Law Enforcement Agency
Detection of crimes and investigations are mostly carried out by law enforcement agencies such as the police, the department of corrections, and the courts. The most common organization among them is the police.
Their work is limited to specified jurisdictions. Some LEAs can enforce laws within a state, for example, The United States of America Bureau of Alcohol. Few agencies can enforce the law only inside a country, for instance, The Australian state Queensland Police .
2. Types of Law Enforcement Agencies
Law enforcement agencies are divided into three types. Local, State and Federal. Each type has a specific geographic area within which they can enforce the law.
Local Law Enforcement Agency
A local law enforcement agency is responsible for the identification, investigation, and prevention of crime in a city. The two most common of them are the county sheriff’s office and the municipal police department. Municipal police handle patrols and criminal investigations while county jails and courts are managed by the county sheriff’s department, which is also in charge of patrolling the county.
State Law Enforcement Agency
State law enforcement agencies investigate crimes within a specific state. State police serve a variety of different roles in their respective states. They enforce traffic laws, especially in areas that are not under local police jurisdiction such as highways and rural areas. They also support local police when they don’t have enough resources to effectively do their job.
Federal Law Enforcement Agency
The responsibilities of federal law enforcement are similar to those of state and local law agencies. However, they can enforce the laws, investigate crimes, collect and preserve evidence, prepare reports for government lawyers, and arrest criminals in any state. Some of the major federal law enforcement agencies are the U.S drug enforcement agency, FBI, CIA, and TSA.
Police officers have to protect the public seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. They conduct criminal investigations and gather and analyze evidence. According to information found at NICE Public Safety & Justice, doing these tasks manually requires a lot of time and effort. Despite these difficulties, many people want to become police officers because they feel a moral obligation to defend and assist others. Here’re the duties that police officers fulfill to keep the public safe.
- They patrol their assigned areas and respond to crime-related calls.
- Police officers examine crime scenes, perform legal research, and interrogate suspects.
- They are first responders to accidents and natural disasters. The majority of police officers undergo fundamental training in performing CPR, treating minor wounds, etc.
- Police officers respond to complaints and requests and apprehend offenders. The police will place the person under arrest if it is lawfully required.
- In addition to their regular responsibilities, police officers are often employed by businesses and private persons to operate in the private sector, particularly to provide security services at events.
4. Code of Ethics
A code of ethics is a set of values intended to assist professionals in conducting business honestly and morally. Police agencies must always follow a code of ethics to act morally and ethically in their quest for justice. Otherwise, they will lose their credibility. The Code of ethics for police officers says that serving the community, protecting lives and property, and defending the innocent against deceit are fundamental responsibilities of the police.
There are different standards for police officers in each state. Some states do not demand that police officers hold college degrees. In other places, like Minnesota, becoming a police officer requires an associate’s degree or equivalent training. As of March 2022, the State of Connecticut requires police officers to fulfill the following requirements:
- The age of the applicant should be 21 or older.
- The applicant should possess a valid driver’s license.
- Candidates should achieve a passing score in entrance tests.
- They should never have been convicted of a crime.
- Applicants should possess a GED or high school diploma.
- Applicants should receive training at the police academy which allows them to register as law enforcement police officers.
The Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council of the state sets these requirements. While the above is a list of the state’s base criteria, individual law enforcement agencies can also impose additional ones. Most agencies and departments are starting to demand higher degrees of college education from their applicants.
6. Skills Required for Law Enforcement Agent
Law enforcement officers must possess various skills in addition to their qualifications. They should have high moral values, quick thinking ability, and effective communication skills. Here’re the skills that communities want in their law enforcement leaders.
- They should have integrity and high moral values. It shows communities that the person is honest and they can trust them.
- They should be able to communicate with people from different cultures and languages.
- They need to be adaptable, and always prepared for any eventuality. Because they handle numerous cases and victims every hour, they should be able to anticipate and overcome these challenges.
- They should think quickly about situations and fix issues as they emerge.
Law enforcement can refer to government agencies and employees who prevent and detect crimes such as police officers, customs officers, and sheriffs. They also enforce court orders such as restraining orders against violent offenders who pose a danger to others around them. Although law enforcement agencies are primarily focused on the detection and prosecution of criminal activity, they also prevent a range of non-criminal violations of rules and regulations. The police officer’s job is not easy, but they do it for the sake of protecting the public.