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Police Department Organization

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In United Sates of America, Police are also called the law enforcers. Law enforcement, courts and corrections are the three main independent components of the criminal justice system in USA. The purpose of policing is to maintain order and service functions, investigate supposed criminal activity and passing on the suspected criminals to the courts for trial. In case of an emergency, police offer first response, protect public officials and maintain public safety. There are various types of police agencies at local, state and federal level. Maguire, E. R. (2003).

Police agencies at local level are those found within a City or a County. They consist of Local police department, County police, Sheriff’s department, Municipal police department and Puerto Rico police department. Local police department are the police found within a City level. Their role is to provide police services in a city. Their jurisdiction may differ according to various categories; at full service, they provide police services to the entire city and the country. At limited service, its jurisdiction is only limited to the city. County police are also called boroughs or parishes. County police are found in metropolitan counties only. Their role is to provide police services to the whole county. At full service, they provide services to the whole county irrespective of local communities. At Limited service, their jurisdiction is limited o the county and at restricted service category, it provides police services to facilities and parks owned by the county. Sheriff’s departments have sheriffs who are responsible for the security of the county. In Counties where there are county police, local sheriff is not the exclusive law enforcement agency but in counties that have no county police, mostly the non-metropolitan counties, local sheriff is the exclusive law enforcement agency. Its jurisdiction depends on the following categories; at full service, sheriffs act as law enforcers, perform countrywide patrol and investigations. At limited service, law enforcement, patrol and investigations are only limited to the county. At restricted service, sheriffs are involved services related to court such; guarding county jails, transporting prisoners, provision of courthouse security, conducts auction sales of real property and seizures of chattel property. Miller, F. P., Vandome A. F., McBrewster, J.(2010)

Municipal police are the marshals and the Municipality Police department such as New York Police department, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police department among others. Officers are mandated to offer their services to the municipalities and their jurisdiction is only limited within a municipality. Puerto Rico Police Department provides police services to Puerto Ricans. This is an island whose possession was taken over by United States of America in July 1898.

Police agencies at the state level are called State Police, Highway Patrol or State Patrol. This is a government agency found within a state whose purpose is to provide law enforcement duties, conduct patrols and investigations within the boundaries of its state. Such agencies are usually a part of the state Department of Public Safety. Various Departments of State government agencies usually have their own enforcement division such as Campus Police, State Hospitals, Game Wardens, Capitol Police Departments of Correction and Department of Revenue.

Police agencies at the federal level include the Federal police. Federal police have the full federal authority as delegated by the United States Code. Federal Law Enforcement Officers enforces laws at federal level. Both agencies have the jurisdiction to enforce federal law all over the United States.  The Federal is made up of several departments. Department of Justice is mandated to enforce law at federal level. It consist of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ,the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) , the United States Marshalls Service (USMS), the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) among others. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was created in 2002, has some agencies that report to it. They include; U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), United States Secret Service (USSS), which protects the president and vice president of  United States and their families, the dignitaries and investigation of counterfeiting crimes, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), includes Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO) who deals with interior immigration enforcement issues and Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) formed after the merger of special agents from the former United States Immigration and Naturalization Service and United States Customs Service. There is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG). The United Sates Customs and Border Protection (CBP) includes United States Border Patrol (USBP) responsible for the U.S international border between United States Ports of Entry, the Customs and Border Protection office of Air and Marine responsible for law enforcement at United States’ Ports of Entry such as airports, land border points and seaports. Federal Protective Service (FPS) is mandated to enforce law in federal buildings and properties. 

United States Federal Protective Service is composed of several police agencies and is mandated to provide its services in scenarios where a crime or a disaster affects large number of United States nationals.   Unites States’ National Guard are the military. They are constitution gives it the power to deal with foreign and interstate affairs.

Major Organization theories associated with policing include the contingency theory and institutional theory. Contingency theory proposes that the task environment of an organization i.e., its age, size, community characteristics and technology determines its structure and activities. Institutional theory proposes that the structure and activity of an organization are variable responses of its institutional environment e.g. sources of funds and region and external entities such as civilian review boards or unions which can exercise influence over it. These theories usually compete. Wilson, J. M. (2005)

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