Useful Notes American Law Enforcement Discussion

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01:26:08 PM Jun 13th 2012
edited by MULTIVAC
So, Who's in charge, here?

It depends, a lot, on where you are. In very low-population rural areas, minor everyday law enforcement duties are typically carried out by the sheriff's department or the county police. Major crimes in these areas usually get bumped up to the state police.

Small rural towns often have town/city police for everyday law enforcement, with support from the county police. The sheriffs department in these areas typically handle court orders and liason with county, state, or federal law enforcement agencies in the event of major crimes.

High population suburban areas get more complicated. Incorporated suburban towns/cities may have their own police department for routine street patrol and minor law enforcement. The county police play the largest role in the suburbs in everyday law enforcement as well as larger local issues such as dealing with gangs, major theft, drug enforcement, murder, etc. The county police also back up the sheriffs department. The sheriffs department in the suburbs is almost exclusively concerned with carrying out court-ordered actions such as evictions and repossessions, serving warrants, and transporting suspects and prisoners. The state police are seldom seen in the suburbs, unless something especially big is going on.

In most of the really big cities, the city police handle just about everything. The county and state police are considered outsiders. If they want to come in, they better get clearance from the city cops or they'll hit a wall of blue. If a suspect flees out of the city, THEN the state or county police will be notified. There may be a harbor patrol if it's a port city, but they'll be under the city cops in the pecking order. The sheriffs department here is usually still in charge of court-ordered actions, but they'll coordinate with the city police if something needs to be done.

It's should be noted that every big city has it's own unique problems. For example, in my birthtown Washington D.C. the city police find themselves at the bottom of the pecking order due to the presence of other law enforcement agencies needed to handle security for the Federal offices, monuments and museums, diplomats, tourists and lots of protesters.

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