Our first priority must always be the security of our
nation. . . . America is no longer protected by vast
oceans. We are protected from attack only by vigorous
action abroad, and increased vigilance at home.
--President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address,
January 29, 2002
State police officers (sometimes called State
troopers or highway patrol officers) arrest criminals Statewide and patrol highways to enforce motor vehicle laws and
regulations. Uniformed officers are best known for issuing traffic citations to motorists who violate the law. At the
scene of accidents, they may direct traffic, give first aid, and call for emergency equipment. They also write
reports used to determine the cause of the accident. State police officers are frequently called upon to render
assistance to other law enforcement agencies, especially those in rural areas or small towns.
enforcement agencies operate in every State except Hawaii. Seventy percent of the full-time sworn personnel in the 49
State police agencies are uniformed officers who regularly patrol and respond to calls for service. Fifteen percent
are investigators; 2 percent are assigned to court-related duties; and the remaining 13 percent work in
administrative or other assignments.
Detectives are plainclothes investigators who gather facts and collect
evidence for criminal cases. Some are assigned to interagency task forces to combat specific types of crime. They
conduct interviews, examine records, observe the activities of suspects, and participate in raids or arrests.
Detectives and State and Federal agents and inspectors usually specialize in one of a wide variety of violations such
as homicide or fraud. They are assigned cases on a rotating basis and work on them until an arrest and conviction
occurs or the case is dropped.
The Federal Government maintains a high profile in many areas of law
enforcement. The U.S. Department of Justice is the largest employer of sworn Federal officers. Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) agents are the Government's principal investigators, responsible for investigating violations of
more than 260 statutes and conducting sensitive national security investigations. Agents may conduct surveillance,
monitor court-authorized wiretaps, examine business records, investigate white-collar crime, track the interstate
movement of stolen property, collect evidence of espionage activities, or participate in sensitive undercover
assignments. The FBI investigates organized crime, public corruption, financial crime, fraud against the government,
bribery, copyright infringement, civil rights violations, bank robbery, extortion, kidnapping, air piracy, terrorism,
espionage, interstate criminal activity, drug trafficking, and other violations of Federal statutes.
DEA agents enforce laws and regulations relating to illegal drugs. Not only is the DEA the lead agency for domestic enforcement of Federal drug laws, it also has sole responsibility for coordinating
and pursuing U.S. drug investigations abroad. Agents may conduct complex criminal investigations, carry out
surveillance of criminals, and infiltrate illicit drug organizations using undercover techniques.
U.S marshals and deputy marshals protect the Federal courts and ensure the effective operation of the judicial system.
They provide protection for the Federal judiciary, transport Federal prisoners, protect Federal witnesses, and manage
assets seized from criminal enterprises. They enjoy the widest jurisdiction of any Federal law enforcement agency and
are involved to some degree in nearly all Federal law enforcement efforts. In addition, U.S. marshals pursue and
arrest Federal fugitives.
INS agents and inspectors facilitate
the entry of legal visitors and immigrants to the United States and detain and deport those arriving illegally. They
consist of border patrol agents, immigration inspectors, criminal investigators and immigration agents, and detention
and deportation officers. Nearly half of sworn INS officers are border patrol agents. U.S. border Patrol agents
protect more than 8,000 miles of international land and water boundaries. Their missions are to detect and prevent
the smuggling and unlawful entry of undocumented foreign nationals into the United States, apprehend those persons
found in violation of the immigration laws, and interdict contraband, such as narcotics. Immigration inspectors
interview and examine people seeking entrance to the United States and its territories. They inspect passports to
determine whether people are legally eligible to enter the United States. Immigration inspectors also prepare
reports, maintain records, and process applications and petitions for immigration or temporary residence in the
Special agents and inspectors employed by the U.S. Department of the treasury work for the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; the Customs Service; and the Secret Service. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
and Firearms (ATF) agents regulate and investigate violations of Federal firearms and explosives laws, as well as
Federal alcohol and tobacco tax regulations. Customs agents investigate violations of narcotics smuggling, money
laundering, child pornography, customs fraud, and enforcement of the Arms Export Control Act. Domestic and foreign
investigations involve the development and use of informants, physical and electronic surveillance, and examination
of records from importers/exporters, banks, couriers, and manufacturers. They conduct interviews, serve on joint task
forces with other agencies, and get and execute search warrants.
Customs inspectors inspect cargo, baggage,
and articles worn or carried by people and carriers including vessels, vehicles, trains and aircraft entering or
leaving the United States to enforce laws governing imports and exports. These inspectors examine, count, weigh,
gauge, measure, and sample commercial and noncommercial cargoes entering and leaving the United States. Customs
inspectors seize prohibited or smuggled articles, intercept contraband, and apprehend, search, detain, and arrest
violators of U.S. laws. U.S. Secret Service special agents protect the President, Vice President, and their immediate
families; Presidential candidates; former Presidents; and foreign dignitaries visiting the United States. Secret
Service agents also investigate counterfeiting, forgery of Government checks or bonds, and fraudulent use of credit
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security special agents are engaged in the battle
against terrorism. Overseas, they advise ambassadors on all security matters and manage a complex range of security
programs designed to protect personnel, facilities, and information. In the United States, they investigate passport
and visa fraud, conduct personnel security investigations, issue security clearances, and protect the Secretary of
State and a number of foreign dignitaries. They also train foreign civilian police and administer a counter-terrorism
Other Federal agencies employ police and special agents with sworn arrest powers and the
authority to carry firearms. These agencies include the U.S. Postal Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of
Law Enforcement under the U.S. Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service under the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, the National Park Service under the U.S. Department of the Interior, and Federal Air Marshals under the
U.S. Department of transportation. Other police agencies have evolved from the need for security for the agency's
property and personnel. The largest such agency is the General Services Administration's Federal Protective Service,
which provides security for Federal workers, buildings, and property.
Keywords : Homeland Security , Police Officers
, Custom Inspectors ,border protection ,immigration