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Law Enforcement Agencies
A Law Enforcement Agency is an agent of the government which is responsible for enforcing laws. These are given different names like Sherriff's department or police. Other examples of Law Enforcement Agencies are ICE, Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) and DEA. There are some agencies with restricted powers and these are said to operate within a jurisdiction. Normally, they have restriction on their application of power depending on geographic locations. Those which operate across countries tend to give assistance in the enforcement of law through provision of information for law enforcement in those countries.
In some countries, the jurisdiction of these agencies is determined by policy and resource allocation. Other countries have laws which decide on the jurisdiction of these countries. In the United States, the complexity of a matter will determine which agency the matter will be referred to. Those LEAs with wide range of powers but whose powers are restricted within a certain boundary are called territorial or local police. There is a major difference between International LEAs and Multinational LEAs. An example of an international Law Enforcement Agency is Interpol, and it operates in many countries and across state borders (Dempsey & Forst, 2011).
The local law enforcement agencies can be grouped into county and city agencies with the inclusion of departments of the municipal, departments of the rural sheriff and police dealing with transit or campuses which are specialized groups. The municipal department of the police is constrained in a city or a town for its scope whereas the department of the sheriff deals with issuance of papers to a court, ensuring that there is security in the courtroom and managing the jails of the county (Gaines & Miller, 2009).
Local police agencies have a lot of powers vested in them but have a confined jurisdiction geographically. Local police agencies in Florida have several roles and responsibilities which include the following: they provide regular tour of duty around the communities within their authority, provide urgent help for instance that of emergency situations, keep records, implement laws on traffic, carry out investigations on criminal offences, protect property, operate within the given cost restrictions, carry out investigation on forensics or at the lab, come up with agendas, provide custody of young children or juveniles and adults, avail important information to the public, offer services to the community, conduct tests on alcohol consumption and finally, pass information on how to prevent the commission of crime (Leipnik & Albert, 2003).
State police agencies also have several roles and responsibilities. They include: providing security to the highways of the country, the rural areas, and several other areas within their jurisdiction. Inspection of motor vehicles, carrying out investigations on crimes, conducting public relations and participating in programs of the community is also part of their responsibilities.
The federal law enforcement agency in Florida consists of: the Federal Bureau Investigation, the United States Department of justice, the United States Department of the Treasury, the Drug Enforcement Administration and finally the United States Marshals Service. Federal police agencies' roles and responsibilities are specific to certain crime types. For instance, the Federal Bureau Investigation responsibilities' lies to eight specific areas which include cyber crime, organized crime, rights of the civilians, white collar crime, corruption in the public, counterterrorism, crimes involving theft with violence, and finally counterintelligence. Therefore this branch of the federal police deals majorly with investigating the listed 8 crimes (Wagner, 2007).
The Unites States Marshal Service deals with arrest of fugitives, management and sell of assets, offering protection to the court and the federal judges, moving prisoners from one place to another, prisons management, offering protection to witnesses who appear in courts, providing any needed documents to the court and finally, carrying out investigations on crimes (Dempsey & Forst, 2011).
The United States Border Patrol, currently the United States Customs and Border Protection, has several responsibilities which include seeing to it that non-citizens or goods do not enter the country illegally and at the same time easing trade and travel people and goods legally Although divided into several branches, the federal police agencies mostly work in union in order to curb crime and bring the criminals to face the law (Gaines & Miller, 2009).
Among the major differences between the state law enforcement agencies, federal law enforcement agencies and local law enforcement agencies lies in their budget, staff, jurisdiction, support, operations and resources. With the dynamism in the law and crime in the current society, the tasks and responsibilities of the local, state and federal police agencies are bound to change.
The jurisdiction of local police only lies in a city or a county. Their responsibilities apply to a smaller scope of area. They check for violation of traffic laws and are also responsible for curbing crimes in their respective areas of duty, that is, city or county. The local police are also involved in ordinances like those of parking and maintenance of law and order within the scope of their area. Whenever chaotic situations arise, it is the local police that is involved first in cooling down the situation (Gaines & Miller, 2009).
State police' jurisdiction lies in an entire state. They therefore ensure the implementation of traffic and criminal laws within their jurisdiction which is their state. Enforcement of ordinances of the local city is however not their role.
Federal police agencies' jurisdiction lies in the entire country and its territories. They put in force all federal criminal laws and regulations in their respective areas. Law and order maintenance is however not among their major roles like it is for the state and local police agencies.
State, local and federal law enforcement agencies are similar in that they have a common directive and administer common laws of the land, which mostly involve crime prevention and maintaining security. All the three police agencies have the mandate to apprehend individuals without necessarily having the warrant of arrest for some crimes, they have the mandate to possess guns when on or off duty and lastly, they all receive training that equips them with same skills of enforcing the law. The police force puts its life to danger for the sake of implementing the law which is part of their duties. Differing from the rest of the police force (state and local police), the some federal police agents are not directly mandated to provide security to the public or maintain law and order (Federal Labor Relations Authority, 2001).
All law enforcement officers undergo some training in order to be able to perform their tasks well. This is therefore common to all of them. Taking oaths or promising to serve their country in all possible ways and to implement laws on criminals fairly is also common to all law enforcement agencies in Florida.
Sometimes the scope of work for state law enforcement agencies expands to include that of local law enforcement agencies. This means that, whenever local police cannot handle all the issues arising, for example increased emergency cases or investigations, due to jurisdiction, time and resources constraints, the state law enforcement agencies may be consulted for help.
The cooperation between the two law enforcement agencies helps to achieve the objectives and goals set by the law enforcement agency as a whole and to serve the people in a better way. A good example of such cooperation is portrayed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI's scope of work or responsibilities is very wide as it is sometimes required to offer leadership and services regarding criminal justice to all the three law enforcement agencies, that is, state, federal and local and even to other foreign agencies upon request. It also aids the local law enforcement agencies in dealing with big cases. The state and the local law enforcement agencies may have unequipped laboratories which may not help them sort out an issue (Federal Labor Relations Authority, 2001). Whenever such occurs, they can seek help from the FBI whose labs are much more equipped to analyze the materials needed. Also, agents of the FBI are well distributed in all regions of the country in order to be able to help the local agencies for law enforcement in implementing the laws of the country and to detect and counteract any threats to state security that may be coming up.
To conclude, the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies can be said to have different defined roles. However, they all have a common objective of keeping the country safe and looking into crimes. In order to achieve these objectives, they all have to work hand in hand some other times and therefore their roles are interconnected as each agency will require the other in some way.