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Police services are one of the three primary emergency services, along with fire and EMS.

The police are part of a public organization responsible for preventing and detecting crime and maintaining public order. Police are constituted bodies of individuals empowered by federal, state, and municipalities to enforce the law, protect property, and limit civil disorder. Their function is known as policing.

While the police are also known as law enforcement officers (LEOs), law enforcement is only a part of their duties. Although, within the United States, the Supreme Court has ruled that the police are not required to protect and serve the public or provide medical aid, these functions are generally a part of what they do regularly. However, this will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Police also write traffic tickets and may be involved in enforcing other regulations and policies. However, the police enforcement of policies, as opposed to laws, is controversial.

The role of the police has become controversial and, to some extent, always has been. Detractors cite varying degrees of corruption, authoritarianism, and brutality on the part of individual police officers, and, at times, these were found to be institutional.

Depending on the jurisdiction, specific function, and other matters, a police force may be referred to as a police department, a law enforcement agency, a police service, constabulary, crime prevention unit, protective services, marshalls, agents, detectives, gendarmerie, civil guard, civic guard, and perhaps some others. Individual members may be called police officers, troopers, sheriffs, deputies, constables, rangers, or peace officers.

In some jurisdictions, conservation officers are considered law enforcement officers, as they enforce hunting and fishing laws and other functions. Depending on the jurisdiction, they may have full police powers. Conservation officers may be referred to as game wardens, fish and game wardens, park rangers, wilderness officers, wildlife officers, wildlife troopers, forest guards, forest watchers, foresters, gamekeepers, and other terms.

Of course, there are also a lot of slang terms that are used to refer to the police. We won't get into them here, but one of the oldest, cop, has evolved into a common term used by the public and the police to refer to those in the profession.

Law enforcement is a significant duty of the police, who act to enforce the law by discovering, deterring, rehabilitating, or punishing those who violate laws, which are the rules and norms governing society. The police, court system, and correctional services may operate independently or collectively, but they are all involved in law enforcement services.

Law enforcement agencies are limited to operating within a specific jurisdiction, and within the United States, they are organized into three primary levels: national, regional, and municipal. There are federal, state, and local police and sheriff departments. Some territories may have only national-level law enforcement in Canada, while Canadian provinces may have national, provincial, and municipal police.

At the national level, multiple agencies might function at the same level but with differing focuses. Examples include the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, with the DEA focusing on the enforcement of narcotics laws, while the ATF focuses on the regulation of weapons. Most federal agencies have their own police departments, including the Postal Service.

At other levels of society, various elements have their own law enforcement agencies. The military has the military police, many schools have campus police, and airports have airport police. Private police may serve other entities, such as airports and railroads.

Another function of the police is crime prevention. This is an attempt to deter criminals and reduce the levels of crime. These functions may also apply to cybercrime and cybercriminals, as well as sexual abuse and sex offenders.

Criminal investigation is often carried out by specially trained members of police agencies, and those who have been promoted to this level might be known as investigators or detectives. Criminal investigation is an applied science that involves the study of facts that are subsequently used in criminal trials. This might include searching, interviews, interrogations, collecting and preserving evidence, and other methods of investigation, including forensic science.

Active in some jurisdictions around the world, a gendarmerie is a military force with law enforcement duties within the civilian population. For example, in France, the gendarmerie is considered a branch of the armed forces responsible for internal security in parts of the country, primarily in rural areas and small towns without police services.



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