A police officer is tasked with the job of ensuring that the law is upheld and to protect the public. Police officers are employed by the state and work in different departments and levels of the government. The work of police officers varies depending on their assigned job role and the length of time that they have been in service as a police officer.
Police officers commonly fall into two categories:
Uniformed Police Officer
Uniformed police officers carry out regular day to day police work and this is the lowest rank for police officers. This includes patrolling and responding if a call for assistance comes in. uniformed police officials can be called to respond to a traffic accident, when a house has been burgled or when officials are needed to direct traffic during road works or extreme weather.
Non-Uniformed Police Officers
A non-uniformed police officer is often referred to as a detective. A detective is a police officer that works specifically to gather evidence during a criminal investigation. A detective does not wear a police uniform and is often referred to as a plain clothed officer. A detective is often assigned one case at a time and are involved in all aspects of solving the case including interviewing suspects and witnesses, gathering evidence and the arrest of the suspect.
Police officers work within all three tiers of government:
Federal Police Officers
Police officers working at the federal level are working to investigate crimes and to enforce law at the federal level. This also includes high profile agencies such as the FBI. Federal police officers are only allowed to act within cases that pertain to federal law and must leave the states to deal with issues unless it crosses into federal law jurisdiction.
State Police Officers
Police officers working at the state level are working to enforce the laws of the state that they operate in. The police officers working at a state level work investigating crimes and undertaking state patrols. Police working at the state level can sometimes be referred to as state police or highway patrol.
County Police Officers
Police officers serving at the county level tend to work in the sheriffs office and department. County police officers normally work in metropolitan areas. Sometimes there is a sheriff’s office in the county, and this usually handles court paperwork and provides security services to the local court. More commonly, there is no county police service and the sheriff is the only law enforcement agency acting in the county.