In addition to the broad resources provided by local and federal law enforcement agencies that daily exercise general police powers, more and more agencies of government have specialized law enforcement personnel to police compliance with their executive authority under agency regulations, codes and statutes. The responsibility for protecting government facilities and operations may be vested in yet a third category of public sector security with police powers to enforce laws necessary to protect public property. As a nation we are becoming more security conscious than in the past and more territorial about who will provide it.
In addition to a vast network of municipal, state and federal law enforcement agencies that investigate and enforce federal and state criminal laws, we have enforcement agencies with more limited authority for carrying out specific violations of law and rules governing the activities of layers of administrative departments and agencies. The general law enforcement authority of the FBI, federal agencies investigating and enforcing criminal laws such as ATF; Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); DEA; Secret Service; Federal Park Police; IRS Agents; and a host of other federal agents with sometimes overlapping jurisdictions can be found protecting their territories on the federal level.
We have also become familiar with scores of law enforcement agencies on state and local levels, sworn and unsworn, with authority limited geographically, by subject matter, and by the extent of their statutorily grants of power competing with each other and federal agencies for enforcement priorities. Here we encounter vast municipal police agencies such as NYPD or LAPD that dwarf federal counterparts in number if not in power, with general law enforcement authority state-wide. On the local level the roster also includes officers designated for animal control, health inspections, building code enforcement, school security agents and scores of others with full, partial, and limited police or peace officer authority.
Coordinating and understanding the duties, responsibilities and powers of the nation’s officers, investigators, agents, sheriffs, constables and marshals is a daunting task not essential for most of us to master. But understanding how all of these security personnel interact with each other and the public is important in understanding how and why in times of crisis public security personnel may be overwhelmed by the needs of society for swift, effective and efficient action and support.
In this section, FRAC will seek to provide information on how our public law enforcement and security agencies work to provide protection from criminal activity as well as maintaining stability in times of crisis. FRAC will try to present critical issues currently affecting law enforcement ranging from crime prevention training for the public to the use of invasive technologies. The use of new technologies designed to expedite the movement of passengers at airports, and the ethics of profiling passengers in pubic transportation facilities are examples of specific issues of concern in this time of national terror alerts that have resulted in new protocols and regulations affecting many aspects of how we secure the nation at home. In this section, FRAC will also provide an up to dated analysis of many of the topics and issues affecting public sector law enforcement and security of interest to the nation.