Police Law

Guide to Law Enforcement Personnel

Police Laws are those laws dealing with the regulation and code of conduct of law enforcement officials. These laws answer the question of "who polices the police?" by providing guidelines by which officers must conduct themselves and mechanisms by which law enforcement agencies can monitor their own, such as internal affairs divisions, oversight by state attorney generals, and so forth. Many of these laws deal with issues such as the use of excessive force by police officers, police misconduct, giving suspects their Miranda rights, corruption, interrogation practices, and police brutality.

Who are Considered to be "Police" Under the Law?

Police forces are usually considered to be non-military organizations that operate under the authority of the government. Their only task is to police domestic issues, not fight foreign powers overseas, which is a military function. While in the common vernacular "police" usually refer to officers of a city police department, from a broader legal standpoint "police" can often refer to any person or organization involved in law enforcement. This can include an organization authorized to operate under federal, state, or local laws. Examples of various law enforcement agencies that exercise police powers on behalf of the government include sheriffs, state troopers, city police, U.S. marshals, FBI agents, and many more.

The Role of Police in Society

The main role of police in any civilized nation is to preserve order. As such, their whole reason for being is to enforce criminal laws, reduce civil disorder, and protect people and property. To accomplish this goal, police are granted certain unique powers that other citizens do not have, like the legitimate use force in preventing crime and the power to impose fines for criminal behavior.

Regulation of Police

Of course, having been granted these privileges, it is important for society to closely monitor those who exercise these powers. Temptation to engage in the same activities that the police are supposed to prevent is very real and requires this body of law in order to prevent individuals from contributing to the problems of society rather than policing them. Police laws often mirror constitutional and human rights laws, in that these are often the areas police are likely to stray. For example, an officer who has become frustrated with the criminal justice system is prevented by police laws from beating confessions out of suspects, just as that suspect has a human right against such treatment.

For more information about the laws affecting the police, please click on the links below or check out our Law Firms page where you will find lawyers in your area who can answer your questions.

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