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Law Enforcement Agencies, State and Federal Agencies

Besides local forces, each of the 50 states has its own state police system. Developed in the early 20th century, state police perform functions such as patrolling state roads, investigating gambling, and seizing drugs transported on interstate highways. State police also provide local police forces with expert assistance and resources required to fight crime across jurisdictions.

At the federal level, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the largest and best-known law enforcement agency. Established in 1908, the FBI is a division of the U.S. Department of Justice. FBI agents investigate federal crimes, including kidnapping, espionage, theft involving interstate commerce, and terrorism. In addition to its investigative duties, the FBI provides state and local law enforcement agencies with facilities such as laboratories for analyzing fingerprints and genetic evidence. The FBI also runs training programs for local law enforcement personnel.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which was created in 2002, oversees other federal law enforcement agencies such as the Secret Service, which protects the president and vice president and their families and investigates counterfeiting, and the Bureau of Border Security, which prevents illegal immigration to the United States. Other important federal law enforcement agencies include the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which combats the distribution and use of illegal drugs, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, which investigates violations of tax laws related to alcohol and tobacco, enforces laws controlling firearms, and investigates bombings. Another federal law enforcement agency, the U.S. Marshals Service, preserves order in courtrooms, handles subpoenas and court summonses, and transports federal prisoners.

 

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