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Police Structure Essay

When it comes to law enforcement at the federal there are twenty one agencies that deal with issues of law enforcement. The FBI is one of these agencies, which was established in 1908. It is currently the main investigative agency of the Federal Government. The FBI is one of the agencies that is organized and run under the Department of Justice. The responsibility of the FBI is to investigate any crimes that happen across state lines as well as violation of federal criminal law. Some of the particular offenses that they investigate are civil rights violations, kidnapping, auto thefts and internal security issues. The FBI will also assist local law enforcement with their investigations as well. So when it comes to their role as it applies to the law. The law enforcement powers that the FBI as well as the other federal agencies have is to enforce any violations of current federal laws and mandates, but also have the power to enforce this over the entire United States.

When it comes to state law enforcement most states have established their own state police agencies such as the Highway Patrol or State Trooper which is run under the rules of the state government. The primary purpose of establishing these state law enforcement agencies is to allow a policing agency to work throughout the entire state without the restrictions of city or county boundaries. The authority of these state police body’s are to make arrests, execute search warrants, conduct criminal investigations and enforce traffic laws on state and federal highways as well as investigate traffic accidents. Then there are the policing agencies that represent the greatest number of police officers. Throughout the United States these city police officers who work in large and medium size municipalities are the ones in charge of handling the investigation of such crimes as burglaries, robberies, assaults, and rapes as well as patrol all local streets and highways going through the city.

The boundaries of these departments are restricted to enforcing the law within their own city limits. These local municipalities are usually run by a chief who is appointed by the city government. Outside the cities in the more rural areas there is a policing agency at the county level. These County police departments function much the same as municipal police, but are run by an elected sheriff instead of an appointed chief and the law enforcement officers who work for a sheriff’s department are typically called sheriff deputies. In the sheriff’s department the sheriff is typically elected to a two or four year term by the population of the county in which they serve. Since the sheriff is elected they usually have more degree of freedom that local city official have.

When it comes to organizational theories for police officers and other agencies in law enforcement there are two different divisions the police who you see out on the streets patrolling neighborhoods and arresting criminals then there are those who work behind the scenes and whose job it is to hire and train new employees as well as making sure that communication between police and other entities is secure and not disrupted in emergency situations. They also make sure that all equipment is kept running and in good conditions so that it doesn’t fail the office when needed. These two divisions are who make up the large body of people in law enforcements.

This chain of command is a very essential component in law enforcement administration, from the chief down to a patrol officer to those behind the scene the utilization of this organizational chart is what allows for clear delegation of authority in any chain of command structure. As stated in the book Police Administration: Structures, Processes, and Behavior. “The principal of hierarchical authority is a requirement that every lower level organization must be supervised by a higher level.

This results not only in the use of multiple spans of control, but also in different grades of authority which increase at each successively higher level in an organization. This authority flows downward in the organization as a formal grant of power from the chief of police to those selected for leadership positions. These two different grades of authority produce the chain of command” (234, Swanson).

With departments having these two very different divisions this type of management style in law enforcement is continually going to change and evolve and it will be up to the people that work in their departments to make the necessary changes by adjusting and personnel and department resources accordingly in order to continue with a working straight forward chain of command.

Works Cited

Swanson, Charles R, Leonard Territo, Robert W. Taylor. Police Administration: Structures, Processes, and Behavior. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2005


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