With so many different types of government law enforcement agents, it can be confusing which
government agent does what and how a citizen should react to each of them.
In an emergency, you should always call 911. When reporting a non-emergency you should call your local police department’s non-emergency phone number.
Law Enforcement Agents have many different roles depending on which agency they work for.
Code Enforcement Officers wear uniforms and drive specifically marked vehicles, though they are technically not police. They are in charge of working with members of the community to support a safe and healthy community by investigating and correcting municipal code violations.
These municipal codes include things like property maintenance, neighborhood disputes, ticketing abandoned vehicles, graffiti, residential parking issues, and animal complaints.
City Police Officers are also called Municipal Police in some areas and can include the regional police that derive authority from the local governing body that created it, such as a city or town. The primary purpose is to uphold the laws of the jurisdiction, provide patrol, and investigate local crimes.
County Deputies also conduct criminal investigations but are employed by the County Sheriff’s office. The County Sherriff is an elected official and Deputies conduct criminal investigations. They uphold the laws of the county and can be brought in to assist local departments such as city police and/or work with Federal Agents in the county on joint investigation efforts.
State law enforcement agents are called Troopers. They patrol the freeways and roads of the state. They often conduct criminal investigations/traffic citations associated with federally funded highways and roads.
There are also DEA agents for Drug Enforcement, Federal Agents who deal with major crimes associated with drug trafficking and coordinate with other agencies like Federal Wildlife Officers, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Borders and Customers Agents, Home Land Security Agents, Federal Bureau of Investigation , as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
When approached by any law enforcement officer, it is important that you remain calm and courteous. Always follow an officer’s instructions.
You have the right to an attorney and to have an attorney present if you are questioned when being investigated for a crime. Always have your attorney present if you are being accused of a crime or questioned about a crime.