Department of the Air Force Police

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Badge of the US Air Force civilian Police
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United States Air Force Security Forces POLICE Patch
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United States Air Force Security Forces GUARD Patch

The United States Air Force Police are the civilian uniformed police service of the United States Air Force, responsible for the force protection of assets and all aspects of law enforcement on U.S. Air Force installations, and other facilities operated by United States Air Force. [1]


The Air Force Police are a federal law enforcement agency with full authority to enforce laws, rules and regulations and make arrests on Air Force–controlled property. Air Force Police operate throughout the United States under the direction of the installation commanders and the Air Provost Marshal. Air Force Police can issue the DD Form 1408 Armed Forces Traffic Ticket, and the DD Form 1805 U.S. District Court Violation Notice. The DD Form 1408 does not have any monetary fines associated with it, and is typically used as a warning or other type of punishment. The DD Form 1805 can carry a monetary fine or require a mandatory appearance in U.S. District Court. Points are also assessed on all 50 states driver licenses.

The Air Force Police occasionally provides executive protection services for visiting dignitaries.

The U.S. Air Force Police is part of the largest governmental agency, the United States Department of Defense.

Cadets of the U.S. Air Force Police attend a 6-week training academy at the Department of Veterans Affairs Law Enforcement Training Center (LETC) in Little Rock, Arkansas. This is an Air Force-specific course that does not certify officers to work on Veteran's Administration properties, only Air Force installations. [2]


Performs law enforcement and crime prevention duties to maintain law and order during normal and emergency operations. Performs police duties to assure the protection of life, property, and the civil rights of individuals through the enforcement of federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, agency rules, and regulations. Testifies in court. Takes measurements and photographs of crime and accident scenes. First responder to all types of emergencies or volatile situations such as terrorist attacks, hostage/barricaded situations, bomb threats, vehicle accidents, robberies, hazardous material incidents, and other emergencies. Provides specialized traffic control services. Secures and processes crime scenes, conducts preliminary investigations, gathers evidence, obtain witness statements and, if necessary, detain suspects. Trains to proficiency with 9mm semi-automatic pistol, and other firearms such as the M-4/M-16, shotgun, and other special weapons or ordnance. Experienced in computerized investigations systems.

Job description

U.S. Air Force Police are designated under the GS-0083 series. Police Officer or Detective is the established title for nonsupervisory positions in the Police Series, GS-0083. (The detective title is for positions primarily concerned with police investigations involving violations of criminal or other laws.) This series includes positions the primary duties of which are the performance or supervision of law enforcement work in the preservation of the peace; the prevention, detection, and investigation of crimes; the arrest or apprehension of violators; and the provision of assistance to citizens in emergency situations, including the protection of civil rights. The purpose of police work is to assure compliance with federal, state, county, and municipal laws and ordinances, and agency rules and regulations pertaining to law enforcement work.

Occupational information

The primary mission of police officers in the federal service is to maintain law and order. In carrying out this mission, police officers protect life, property, and the civil rights of individuals. They prevent, detect, and investigate violations of laws, rules, and regulations involving accidents, crimes, and misconduct involving misdemeanors and felonies. They arrest violators, assist in the prosecution of criminals, and serve as a source of assistance to persons in emergency situations.

Police services are provided in federal residential areas, parks, reservations, roads and highways, commercial and industrial areas, military installations, federally owned and leased office buildings, and similar facilities under federal control. Within their jurisdictions, police officers enforce a wide variety of federal, state, county, and municipal laws and ordinances, and agency rules and regulations relating to law enforcement. They must be cognizant of the rights of suspects, the laws of search and seizure, constraints on the use of force (including deadly force), and the civil rights of individuals.

Police officers are commissioned, deputized, appointed, or otherwise designated as agency and/or local law enforcement officers by statute, delegation, or deputization by local governments, or other official act. Arrest and apprehension authority includes the power to formally detain and incarcerate individuals pending the completion of formal charges (booking); requesting and serving warrants for search, seizure, and arrest; testifying at hearings to establish and collect collateral (bond); and/or participating in trials to determine innocence or guilt. Police officers carry firearms or other weapons authorized for their specific jurisdictions. They wear uniforms and badges, use military style ranks (private, sergeant, lieutenant, etc.), and are commonly required to refamiliarize themselves with authorized weapons periodically and demonstrate skill in their use.

Police work in the federal service may involve both line operations and auxiliary operations. Line operations typically include such activities as patrol work, traffic control, canine operations, vice control, work with juveniles, and detective operations. Auxiliary operations performed by officers include such activities as operating control centers and communications networks, court liaison, limited laboratory activities, and other miscellaneous duties that support and enhance line operations. Trained officers might perform in any of the line or auxiliary operations in full-time or part-time assignments.

Most police officers are engaged in patrol duties and/or traffic control. In performing patrol duties, they serve as a deterrent to crime and other violations of laws, rules, and regulations. Crime prevention is enhanced by the presence of uniformed officers in an area and by their being continually alert in observing, inspecting, and investigating circumstances or individuals which appear unusual and suspicious. Police officers regulate pedestrian and vehicular traffic; prevent accidents, congestion, and parking problems; give warnings; issue citations for traffic violations; and make arrests if necessary. They conduct preliminary investigations of crimes, investigate accidents, dispose of complaints, recover stolen property, counsel adults and juveniles, and assist persons needing help. Typically, investigations that remain incomplete at the end of an assigned shift are turned over for completion by detectives or criminal investigators.

Officers assigned to "control desk" activities receive and record radio, telephone, and personal messages and instructions involving emergencies, complaints, violations, accidents, and requests for information and assistance. They transmit messages and instructions to officers on patrol and dispatch officers to investigate complaints and assist in emergencies. They interpret rules and regulations and answer general inquiries. They may also explain to violators their rights and the procedures involved in securing bond and legal aid and in contacting family members. They collect collateral, issue receipts, record charges and, as necessary, place offenders under arrest. They also search prisoners and remove weapons and articles which could cause injury or be used in escape attempts. They maintain records and prepare reports covering activities and events occurring over the course of a shift.

Officers assigned to detective work, full-time or part-time, conduct investigations of crimes and maintain surveillance over areas with high rates of crime. Investigations involve searching crime scenes for clues, interviewing witnesses, following leads, analyzing and evaluating evidence, locating suspects, and making arrests. In cases involving major crimes (capital crimes, those involving prescribed monetary values, or others that may vary in different jurisdictions), the Federal Bureau of Investigation or other specialized law enforcement agencies may assume jurisdiction and control over the investigation. In these cases, police detectives may perform some investigative work under the direction of assigned criminal investigators. Full-time detectives typically work in civilian clothes, although, depending on the availability of investigative personnel, uniformed officers may also perform investigative duties.

Investigations conducted by police detectives are distinguished from those conducted by criminal investigators (GS-1811). Detectives handle cases that occur within a prescribed local jurisdiction, where the violations are clearly within the authority of the local police force. Police investigations are limited by agreements with investigative agencies (FBI, DEA, etc.) which prescribe responsibility according to the seriousness of crimes committed and monetary values involved, are conducted totally within the local jurisdiction, and they are commonly of relatively short duration (e.g., a few days). Criminal investigators, by contrast, tend to handle cases that clearly involve felonies, violate federal law, extend over other federal and civil jurisdictions or involve large monetary values, and extend for periods of weeks, months, or even years.

Uniformed officers may perform detective duties on a regular and recurring basis when following up on cases originating during their regularly assigned patrol or response activities. In some police forces and jurisdictions, some uniformed officers may perform many or all of the functions commonly assigned in other jurisdictions to plain clothes detectives. In evaluating police officer positions under this guide, the amount and kind of investigative work performed may influence the selection of appropriate factor levels.

Federal police officers enforce a wide range of laws. Federal courts commonly "assimilate" local laws for application to and enforcement within federal jurisdictions. In many jurisdictions, therefore, officers must be aware of and enforce some combination of federal, state, county, and local laws and ordinances. In addition, some officers are required to be fully cognizant of other bodies of written and unwritten law, such as in the case of Indian reservations where tribal law and custom are often enforced by the federal police force. Some federal police officers are responsible for enforcing state and federal fish and game laws on federal installations. These involve licensing requirements, creel and bag limits, installation rules concerning open and closed hunting areas, protection of nongame species, poaching, control of firearms and other weapons, and related aspects of game law and regulation. Some of these working conditions require the officer to make decisions about placing charges and preparing incident reports according to the jurisdiction and requirements of specific courts.

Federal police officers perform their duties within prescribed physical boundaries or jurisdictions which are usually clearly defined by physical limitations such as fence or property lines around installations, city sidewalks, or street lines around federally owned or leased buildings. Within those boundaries, Federal police officers typically have full jurisdictional authority over all violations of law, rule, or regulation (exclusive jurisdiction).

In some instances, federal authorities negotiate agreements with local governments to share jurisdiction (concurrent jurisdiction) on federally owned or leased property when such agreements can contribute to more effective enforcement actions. Such agreements often contain provisions for federal officers to extend their enforcement actions beyond the bounds of their normal jurisdictions, as in cases of "hot pursuit" of felony suspects. Within a single police organization which covers properties over a widely dispersed area (federal reservation combined with federally owned and federally leased property off the reservation), several definitions of jurisdiction may apply for each kind of property. These are usually clearly defined, although such arrangements may impose different knowledge requirements and some differences in the way officers exercise their authority in each kind of location.

Police officers receive training in police academies or other training facilities in subjects involving community relations; the definition and application of arrest authority; familiarity with federal and other laws, rules, and regulations; the rights of individuals; laws of search and seizure; the use of weapons; protecting evidence; interviewing witnesses; and other information pertinent to performing law enforcement duties. Some officers receive additional training covering specialized techniques for crowd and riot control; detection and response to attempts at espionage and sabotage; specialized weapons; bombs and incendiary materials; and special measures pertinent to the specific installation or facility. [3]

See also

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