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Policing Functions Essay

1398 words - 6 pages

Policing Functions
Sara Powell
February 7, 2012
Patrick Daulton

Law enforcement agencies in the United States have numerous different functions. There are three basic levels of law enforcement; Federal, state, and local level. Each level of law enforcement is organized to deliver effectively the services that meet the public’s needs. Collectively these levels and agencies work together to achieve many duties. Whereas each level of law enforcement has its own responsibilities and procedures, their functions are very comparable. Research reveals the various roles of each police agency at its perspective level, how these functions compare to each other, and the ...view middle of the document...

Prior to the 1993 and 1995 bombings of major government buildings in the United States, the FBI was not aware of the potential catastrophic threats of international and domestic terrorism (Federal Bureau of Investigations, 2011). In the wake of these two catastrophic events, the FBI quickly retorted by dramatically expanding the number of legal offices around the country. The FBI also began providing skilled law enforcement education and training to foreign nationals. The International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) was opened in Budapest in 1994 to help facilitate the education of foreign law enforcement (Federal Bureau of Investigations, 2011).
The FBI’s missions have also changed drastically because the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The investigation of the 2011 terrorist attacks according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (2011) “was the largest in FBI history,” which resulted in another change for the FBI. The USA Patriot Act, which presented new investigative guidelines to support the FBI’s proactive approach to counterterrorism (Federal Bureau of Investigations, 2011).
In 2007, the FBI created standard procedures for agents in the field to help alleviate global terrorist threats. Since 2007, the FBI remains focused on the continued improvement of national security and reducing violent crime. The Bureau has also expressed the desire to continue improving and expanding relationships with other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners.

State Level of Policing
The State levels of policing are distinctive each U.S. state. State level police officers have statewide jurisdiction and authority to conduct criminal investigations within their states borders. Although state police agencies differ in organization, most state police agencies primary functions focus on criminal investigations, traffic law enforcement, and state capitol security. Coordinating task forces to assist in serious crimes is also another function of state police. For an example, the Maine State Police (MSP) troopers provide full service law enforcement services to the citizens of Maine “through investigation and patrol work” (, 2012).
The Maine State Police is unique in that it falls under a larger umbrella agency called Maine Public Safety. Maine Public Safety combines all public safety services under one agency. Maine State Police includes other agencies such as the Major Crimes Unit, which is responsible for homicide investigations, child abuse, and other major crimes. MSP has several specialty units such as tactical, underwater recovery, evidence response, crisis negotiation, and incident management teams. These specialty units provide more focused services in each area.
The advancement of technology has forced State Police agencies around the country to expand the functions of the agency to include computer crimes task forces. In recent years, prior to the rise in technology, computers were not mainstream...

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