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About Law Enforcement

Updated on October 22, 2014

What is Law Enforcement?

The simplest answer is management of crime and punishment. Society's rules and the people they affect. Law enforcement is the maintenance of what society deems correct or acceptable.

The technical definition is - any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to promote adherence to the law. More specifically, the rules that are set and designed to maintain the order of the people; to maintain control and or civility. To do this law enforcement encompasses a wide range of behaviors and systems. Specifically they are:

Governing bodies who enact laws;

The judicial system who applies the law;

and the enforcement mechanism which monitors the society for rule-breakers and disruptive forces.

Each entity has it function in preserving the peace of society as well as cultivating the better elements of advancing the populous.

When there's no Law, there's no Bread.

B. Franklin

Legal Enforcement
Legal Enforcement

Functions of Law Enforcement

Law enforcement, while having many roles, serves mainly two - enforcement and Implementation. The enforcement mechanism and its professionals seek to avert crime. These agents seek to protect society at large; making sure the laws as agreed upon are both adhered to and universally applied.

The other mechanism is the implementation. The implementation of the law IE legal enforcement employs professionals whose capacity is to ensure criminal suspects (law breakers) are tried in compliance with the law. This group also implements the punishment of said individuals in a manner consistent with the rules of behavior society has deemed for law professionals. They are responsible for both punishment and if possible rehabilitation of criminal suspects who fail to comply with the law.

Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.

~ Johnathan Swift

Original Law
Original Law

History of the Law

rules and regulations

No discussion of law enforcement or legal history would be complete without what many would regard as a principle foundation of civilized law. Jews refer to it as Torah, we summarize it as the Ten Commandments.

Thou shalt not kill.

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Thou shalt not steal.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Thou shalt not desire thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not desire thy neighbour's wife, nor his bondman, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbour's.

Preceded by one rule; "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die ." There is no simpler way to introduce the concept; law-ordinance and enforcement-punishment.

Civilized man has his rules. Having instituted rules he decides on punishment. And with punishment comes people in the societal arch whose job it is to enforce the rules however they are agreed upon.

Keep in Mind

Law is Order & Enforcement Ensures

Chaos will not derail the society

Criminal Justice for Kindle

NYPD officers
NYPD officers

Agencies of Today's Law Enforcement

As said earlier enforcement is contained mostly within two areas; prevention and punishment. As such there are many professionals whose jobs indeed careers fall under the enforcement category.

Ranging in scale from property security officials; police officers/ deputies; private investigators; up to and surpassing traffic control and parking officers.

These only encompassing the prevention and deterance stage:

For the actual enforcement or mitgation-punishment stage;

There are agents of the court system - probation officers; judges; district attorneys; correctional service employees; as well as some federal officials who are charged with protecting the citizen and controling the incidences of crime among the general populous.

In effect both sides working together to maintain the order established by the laws adopted in a society.

Some more official job descriptions below:

  • DHS - Deparment Homeland Security: The Department of Homeland Security has a vital mission: to secure the nation from the many threats we face.
  • TSA- Transportation Security Administration: The Transportation Security Administration protects the Nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.
  • U.S. Secret Service: The Secret Service was established in 1865, solely to suppress the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. Today, the agency is mandated by Congress to carry out dual missions: protection of national and visiting foreign leaders, and criminal investigations.
  • DEA - Drug Enforcement Agency: The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States:
  • U.S. Park Police: The oldest uniformed law enforcement agency in the United States. The United States Park Police provide law enforcement services to designated areas within the National Park Service (primarily the Washington, D.C., New York City and San Francisco, California metropolitan areas).
  • FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation: The mission of the FBI is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States
  • ICE - Immigration Customs Enforcement: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the second largest investigative agency in the federal government.
  • Correctional Officers: is a person charged with the responsibility of the supervision, safety and security of prisoners in a prison, jail, or similar form of secure custody.
  • Magistrate/ Judge: a magistrate or judge in a superior court; has jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases.
  • County Sheriff: The sheriff is always a county official, and serves as the arm of the county court.


There is but one law for all, namely, that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator, the law of humanity, justice, equity -- the law of nature and of nations.


Legal Enforcement and the Justice System

Both state and Federal laws allow officials to judiciate evidence;

Law Enforcement agents then, provided there is sufficient evidence, make arrests apprehending suspects to begin the process of traversing the legal system. Between the two agencies they have broad authority to function throughout the U.S. borders as well as beyond - through the use of extradition treaties; using agencies like INTERPOL.

As the legal process goes forward - The justice system takes the lead of enforcement. After trying a case(defendant), if found guilty of breaking the law statute; the district attorney and other legal professionals including the judge prescribe a sentence of incarceration or rehabilitation for the person. From that point they are then placed in the hands of correctional staff including probation officers and jail officials to complete the process of legal enforcing and justice administration.

for a closer look at justice in America: Click Here

Park Police
Park Police

Careers in Criminal Justice

Because of a wide range of laws, and as society/ population expands there are many career opportunities in the law enforcement field. So its only fair we examine the wages of varying enforcement officials.

Salaries courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Security Officials: $24,380 per year

Police Officers: $53,540 per year

Sheriffs: $42,870 per year

Federal Border Agents: $44,490 per year

Judges: $91,880 per year

Correctional Services: $39,020 per year

FBI agents: $68,820 per year

Secret Service: $55,010 per year

Military Police: {rank O3} $44,544 per year

These are average salaries of those professionals who choose a career in Law and Legal Enforcement.

legal education
legal education

Education Requirements for Law Occupations

The education requirements for law enforcement jobs varies according to title. however the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that law and legal enforcement is a growing field for 2012; as such here are some of the things to know of education needed to begin a career in law enforcement.

For an entry level position in a field such as security maintenance the minimum requirement is a high school diploma. and a clean criminal history.

For a more mid-level position such as police officer or detective the requirements are a high school diploma plus a associates degree; also a clean criminal background

For a more high level position- typically a federal enforcement job; the requirement is a four year college degree, a clean background; as well as specialized training in an entry level or mid level enforcement agency.

There is a more detailed look at the selection process for enforcement agents on both a federal and state level at (ASIS). There are also other materials within the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( to assist anyone looking to make a career of Law Enforcement.

Justice in the Judiciary

What happens when the lawgivers break the law?

(CNN) -- Police officers in the Mexican resort town of Playa del Carmen are suspects in the alleged rape of an Italian citizen earlier this month, according to the local state's attorney's office.


A former Birmingham police officer charged with arson and child pornography was in court Wednesday.

These represent stories of law enforcement going terribly wrong.

sadly this feature will be focused on such stories going forward. because as all laws aren't equal; apparently neither are all cops.

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