Law enforcement agencies play a vital role in maintaining order in the United States. These agencies recruit officers who have the ability to use their commands restricted in some way and in most cases they are geographical. In the United States each state has one or several law enforcement agencies which execute different tasks. Some of these agencies for example the FBI are known as federal agencies because they operate in many countries assisting in law enforcement activities and countering international crimes like terrorism. Although these federal agencies may not directly enforce laws these agencies facilitate the sharing of information necessary for law enforcement even within the United States.
The process on how to become a Law Enforcement officer.
In the last few years the recruitment process of law enforcement officers has become increasingly challenging (Dempsey & Forst, 2009). According to Palmiotto & Brown “more than 80 percent of the nations 17,000 law enforcement agencies are facing lack of qualified candidates” (2007, p. 3). In their studies Palmiotto & Brown indicated that there is always a need for highly rained and highly skilled law enforcement agents (2007). Nowadays all policing agencies are finding that rapidly changing technology not only provides law enforcement with new ways to investigate crime but also provides criminals with new tools to commit crime. This also implies that law enforcement agencies are constantly seeking to hire and train new policing candidates who are able to work well with the public, maintain high ethical standards, work independently and act as a positive role model for the community (Palmiotto & Brown, 2007).
Palmiotto & Brown (2007) found out that “the process of recruiting law enforcement officers includes evaluating each candidates potential for civilian law enforcement then going through assortment of written, psychological, and physical tests” (p. 3). Once candidates are aware of the ability areas that the tests attempt to evaluate and the testing methods agencies typically use, they begin to sharpen and improve the necessary skills (Palmiotto & Brown, 2007). Candidates for police position are expected to communicate well both verbally and in writing.
The first step involves recruiting potential officer candidates where the department involved receives and review applications. Secondly the recruits are administered written examinations after which they conduct physical fitness tests. The next step is administering psychological examinations then interviews are conducted on the recruits. The final phase in the process of recruiting law enforcement officers involves conducting background investigation of applicants then administering medical examinations then lastly selection of the candidates and then job offers are made (Palmiotto & Brown, 2007).
FBI was created in 1908 as the as the Bureau of Investigation and there after named as the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935 (Gaines & Miller, 2008). They continue to say that FBI has jurisdiction over nearly two hundred federal crimes including sabotage, spying, kidnapping, extortion, bank robbery, interstate gambling and civil rights violation. According to Gaines & Miller (2008) FBI is uniquely positioned to combat worldwide criminal activity such as terrorism and drug trafficking. The agency in times of national emergency the FBI is the primary arm of federal law enforcement. Today the FBI has more than 30,000 employees and an annual budget of over $6.4 billion ad provides support to local and state law enforcement agencies (Gaines & Miller, 2008).
The U.S Marshals is the oldest federal law enforcement agency in America. Formed and enacted back in 1789 it acted as law enforcement agencies in the western territories. Gaines & Miller (2008) says that following the civil war in 1861 to 1865 when most of the territories had become states these agents were assigned to work for the U.S district courts where federal crimes are tried. According to Gaines & Miller (2008) the relationship “between the U.S. Marshals service and the federal courts continues today’s and forms the basis for the officers main duties” (147). Some of functions of U.S Marshals include providing security at federal courts for judges, jurors and other room participants, controlling property that has been ordered seized by federal courts, protecting government witness who place themselves in danger by testifying against the targets of federal criminal investigations.
The Los Angeles Police Department was formed in the year 1850 and has evolved from a one man marshal’s office to one of the biggest and most sophisticated law enforcement agencies in the nation (Pitt & Dale, 1997). This law enforcement agency since 1950 has become the second largest police force in the nation protecting over 3.4 million people living in a 465 square mile area. Pitt & Dale (1997) says that “its mandate is to enforce city, state, and federal laws for the protection of persons and property and for the preservation of community peace” (299). They continue to say that the Los Angeles Police Department has the mandate of setting overall state policy, conducts the final review in any mandatory investigation n the use of force (Pitt & Dale, 1997). Headed by the police chief he is responsible for the administration, inspection and control of the department and for maintain relations with the city council.
The California Highway Patrol has its roots in the early 1920s. According to Mattos & Estrada (2008) “the California Highway Patrol became a separate state entity in 1929 and has grown from the early traffic enforcement role to that of one of the premier law enforcement agencies in the United States” (p. 128). The responsibilities range from patrolling the freeways and county roads of California to providing security for the state capital and other state buildings besides protecting the governor and visiting dignitaries from around the world. Mattos & Estrada (2008) also found out that the California Highway Patrol has marshaled its forces to restore and maintain peace in times of war, civil unrest or natural disasters.
The Los Angeles Sheriff Department is the largest sheriffs department in the world. According to the article “History of the Los Angeles County Sheriff department” published in Los Angeles County Sheriff department his law enforcement department was formed in April 1850. This agency is the largest provider of contact law services, transit service, court services and custody services. The website further says that the Los Angeles County Sheriff department Provides custody and correctional facilities, inmate information.