A law enforcement officer, or Police Officer, is an employee who is assigned to the police department whose primary duties are engagement in the enforcement of law and maintenance of order within the state and its political subdivisions including sheriffs and sheriffs deputies. In most cases, a Police Officer is employed by federal, state/provincial or municipal governments.
Police officers have the responsibility of enforcing federal, state and provincial laws along with municipal and city ordinances. They also have the responsibility of keeping the public peace. This is usually accomplished by uniformed cops pro-actively patrolling within their jurisdiction looking for and investigating law breakers, and by responding to calls for service.
Police officers are required to keep records of all situations in which they take action and must appear as witnesses during both criminal prosecutions and civil litigation. One of the lesser-known but most time-consuming duties of police officers is completing documentation of activity / police reports.
The responsibilities of a Police Officer are broad and not limited to the duties listed here. Police are expected to be able to respond in some fashion to any and all situations that may arise while they are on duty. Also Police Officer must act as government officials in the cases of investigation. In some communities, rules and procedures governing conduct and duties of Police Officer require that they act if needed even when off duty.
There are a number of excellent organizations and websites dedicated to providing resources for the law enforcement community and related career fields. Here, we’ll attempt to highlight some of the most useful sites and provide an brief overview of what you’ll find on their site.
Whether you’re just beginning to look into the field of police work, or you’re already a seasoned officer, we recommend that you start with PoliceOne.com. PoliceOne.com provides information and resources help cops protect their communities and stay safer on the streets. A similar site is Officer.com. It provides information on everything from firearms, tactical weapons, technology, the latest news, discussion forums and more.
We also recommend checking out Law Enforcement.com. Although not as extensive as the two sites listed above, it does provide good information on police careers, training, facts and information, discussion forums and more.
If you’re looking for training and development or continuing education, check out the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The FLETC serves as an interagency law enforcement training organization for Federal agencies. The Center also provides services to state, local, and international law enforcement agencies
United States Law Enforcement Agencies
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is a law enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice. Its unique responsibilities include protecting the public and reducing violent crime. ATF enforces the Federal laws and regulations relating to alcohol and tobacco diversion, firearms, explosives, and arson.
Federal Bureau of Prisons – The Bureau is responsible for the custody and care of more than 181,000 Federal offenders. Approximately 85 percent of these inmates are confined in Bureau-operated correctional facilities or detention centers. The remainder are confined through agreements with state and local governments or through contracts with privately-operated community corrections centers, detention centers, prisons, and juvenile facilities.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the investigative arm of the US Department of Justice. The FBI’s investigative authority can be found in Title 28, Section 533 of the US Code. Additionally, there are other statutes, such as the Congressional Assassination, Kidnapping, and Assault Act (Title 18, US Code, Section 351), which give the FBI responsibility to investigate specific crimes.
Financial Crimes Enforcement Network – The mission of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is to safeguard the financial system from the abuses of financial crime, including terrorist financing, money laundering, and other illicit activity.
Interpol – Interpol exists to help create a safer world. Its aim is to provide a unique range of essential services for the law enforcement community to optimize the international effort to combat crime.
U.S. Marshals Service – The Marshals Service is the nation’s oldest and most versatile federal law enforcement agency. Since 1789, federal marshals have served the nation through a variety of vital law enforcement activities. Ninety-four U.S. marshals, appointed by the president or the U.S. attorney general, direct the activities of 94 district offices and personnel stationed at more than 350 locations throughout the 50 states, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Each district, and the District of Columbia Superior Court, is headed by a U.S. marshal. The Marshals Service’s headquarters are located in the Washington, D.C. area. The Marshals Service occupies a uniquely central position in the federal justice system. It is involved in virtually every federal law enforcement initiative. Approximately 4,800 deputy marshals and career employees perform the following nationwide, day-to-day missions.
National Institute of Justice – NIJ is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice and is dedicated to researching crime control and justice issues. NIJ provides objective, independent, evidence-based knowledge and tools to meet the challenges of crime and justice, particularly at the State and local levels.
Law Enforcement Associations
Associations are a great way to connect with others within the law enforcement industry, get access to ongoing training and development resources, and network with other professionals. If you’re interested in joining, we recommend starting with the Fraternal Order of Police. It is the largest organization of sworn officers in the world. It provides a wide variety of resources including special programs, legislative updates, relevant news, legal defense support resources, and much more.
Another important organization is the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), which serves that serves as the professional voice of law enforcement. The IACP addresses cutting edge issues confronting law enforcement though advocacy, programs and research, as well as training and other professional services.
We also recommend the National Sheriff’s Associations. The organization serves as a voice for Sheriffs across the nation and provides an extensive array of resources.
For a full list of organizations, see Law Enforcement Associations.
Resources for Families
Law enforcement is an extremely dangerous profession. Every day, officers lives are lost while they are protecting and serving in their local community. The American Federation of Police & Concerned Citizens is a nationwide program designed to support the families of officers killed in the line of duty.
If you’re interest in purchasing equipment used by police officers, please visit our Spy Gear section. There, you’ll find many of the same hi-tech devices and surveillance equipment they use. However, remember to consult your local laws to see what is legal in your state. We also have a collection of helpful books, guides and reference manuals in our bookstore.
Other Recommended Resources
- Prison/Corrections Links – eInvestigator.com list of Prison / Corrections links
- U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command – As the Army’s primary criminal investigative organization and DoD’s premier investigative organization, CID is responsible for the conduct of criminal investigations in which the Army is, or may be, a party of interest.
- United States Park Police – National Park Service Agency with a long history of public service dating back to 1791.
Also, learn about Police Drones, the latest aerial surveillance and photography technology used in Law Enforcement and Investigations.