The police department is significant in the American society. There are several agencies and departments that help in keeping the people safe from homicides, drugs, armed robbery, hate crimes, rape, just to mention a few (Cole & Smith, 2010). The police are putting more effort in ensuring that the streets are safe by practicing safety precautions. This discussion will consider types of police agencies at federal, state, and local levels; principle roles and functions of police organizations; and major organizational theories, associated with policing.
The types of police agencies at the local level include the county police and Sheriffs’ department. County police exist in metropolitan counties and possess countywide jurisdiction. The county police fall into three categories, namely full service, limited service, and restricted service (Cole & Smith, 2010). The full service county police provide a full range of police services to the entire country, regardless of local communities. They may offer contractual security police services to a number of special districts in the county. The local government of Hawaii does not have local police, but it has county police only. Limited service county police offer their services to the county’s unincorporated areas and may offer contractual police services to the county’s incorporated areas (Cole & Smith, 2010). They usually offer security police services to a number of special districts in the county by contract. Restricted service county police provide security police to the county parks and facilities. Some of the restricted service county police may perform road patrol duties on the county roads, and offer support to the municipal police departments within the county (Cole & Smith, 2010).
Some local authorities include sheriffs’ departments, which only deal with minor issues like service of papers, and security for the local courthouse. Like the county police, sheriffs’ departments include full service, limited service and restricted service sheriffs (Cole & Smith, 2010). The full service sheriffs offer all types of traditional law enforcement functions, which include countywide investigations and patrol, regardless of municipal boundaries. Along with the full service sheriffs, limited service sheriffs carry out traditional law-enforcement functions, including investigations and patrol. The function may be limited to various security police responsibilities on county properties, and contractual security police duties in the county’s both unincorporated areas and incorporated areas (Cole & Smith, 2010). Restricted service sheriffs offer court related services, which include providing courthouse security, transporting prisoners, keeping the county jail, and other responsibilities with regard to summonses and service of processes that the state and county courts issue. The sheriffs also conduct auctions of real properties, and have the authority to carry on seizures of chattel property for a judgment satisfaction (Cole & Smith, 2010).
In addition to the functions of police agencies at the local level, the state police agencies provide police services such as law enforcement, state patrols, and investigations. The state police constitute the state Department of Public safety (Cole & Smith, 2010). Each state’s office of the General Attorney has its own state bureaus of investigation. Various departments of the State Government may have their own enforcement divisions such as Campus Police, Capital Police, Department of Correction, State Hospitals, Water Police, Conservation Officers, and Game Wardens who have statewide jurisdiction and full police powers (Cole & Smith, 2010). For instance, in Colorado, Department of Revenue has a specific investigative branch just as many of the state funded higher learning institutions such as universities (Cole & Smith, 2010). Finally, the police agencies of the highest level include the federal police.
The federal level comprises the Federal Police and Federal Law Enforcement Officers. Federal police have full federal authority, which they obtain under Unites States Code (Cole & Smith, 2010). The Federal Law Enforcement Officers have the authority to enforce laws and regulations. Federal agencies possess nationwide jurisdiction, regarding the enforcement of federal law. The United State Code limits all federal agencies to investigate only issues that are explicitly within the federal government’s power (Cole & Smith, 2010). In the United States, law enforcement agencies belong to two branches, namely the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland security. The Department of Justice has authority over many law enforcement responsibilities at the federal level. This includes the United States Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and others. The Department of Homeland Security includes United States Immigration, United States Customs, Customs Enforcement, Border Protection, Transport Security Administration, and others (Cole & Smith, 2010).
Principal roles and functions of police organizations
Cole & Smith (2010) define police as the civil force of federal, local, or state government, which is responsible for the prevention and detection of criminal activities, and maintenance of public order. Therefore, police organizations are important in three different ways, namely crime control, order maintenance, and service provision (Cole & Smith, 2010). Crime control involves investigating crimes as well as patrolling the streets to prevent the occurrence of offenses. Order maintenance involves settling various domestic disputes, controlling conflicts that take place between citizens, and calming loud parties. Service provision involves acting as a referral agency and searching for the missing individuals (Cole & Smith, 2010).
Organizational theories, associated with policing
Various theories are useful in explaining police organizational behavior. The major organizational theories, associated with policing include Contingency Theory, Resource Dependency Theory, and Institutional Theory (Stevens, 2009). These theories are useful in solving cases and ensuring that criminals are ready to return to their respective communities.