The federal government of the United States empowers a wide range of law enforcement agencies to maintain law and public order related to matters affecting the country as a whole.
| Law enforcement|
in the United States
|Separation of powers|
|Lists of law enforcement agencies|
|Types of agency|
|Variants of law enforcement officers|
While the majority of federal law enforcement employees work for the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, there are dozens of other federal law enforcement agencies under the other executive departments, as well as under the legislative and judicial branches of the federal government.
Different federal law enforcement authorities have authority under different parts of the United States Code (U.S.C.). Most are limited by the U.S. Code to investigating matters that are explicitly within the power of the federal government. There are exceptions, with some agencies and officials enforcing codes of U.S. states and tribes of Native Americans in the United States. Some federal investigative powers have become broader in practice, especially since the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act in October 2001.
The United States Department of Justice was formerly the largest, and is still the most prominent, collection of federal law enforcement agencies. It has handled most law enforcement duties at the federal leveland includes the United States Marshals Service (USMS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and others.
However, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) became the department with the most sworn armed Federal law enforcement officers and agents upon its creation in 2002 in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks when it incorporated agencies seen as having roles in protecting the country against terrorism. This included large agencies such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Secret Service (USSS), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) (created by combining the former agencies of the United States Border Patrol, United States Customs Service, and the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) into a single agency within the DHS.
Federal law enforcement in the United States is more than two hundred years old. For example, the Postal Inspection Service can trace its origins back to 1772,while the U.S. Marshals Service dates to 1789.
Agencies in bold text are law enforcement agencies (LEAs). Logos are used to more simply demonstrate the parent department and/or agency.
Independent Agencies and federally-administered institutions;
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), also known as the Justice Department, is a federal executive department of the United States government responsible for the enforcement of the law and administration of justice in the United States, and is equivalent to the justice or interior ministries of other countries. The department was formed in 1870 during the Ulysses S. Grant administration, and administers several federal law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Marshals Service (USMS), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The department is responsible for investigating instances of financial fraud, representing the United States government in legal matters, and running the federal prison system. The department is also responsible for reviewing the conduct of local law enforcement as directed by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) is a federal executive department of the U.S. government. It is responsible for the management and conservation of most federal lands and natural resources, and the administration of programs relating to Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, territorial affairs, and insular areas of the United States, as well as programs related to historic preservation. About 75% of federal public land is managed by the department, with most of the remainder managed by the United States Department of Agriculture's United States Forest Service. The department was created on March 3, 1849.
A special agent is an investigator or detective for a governmental or independent agency, who primarily serves in criminal investigatory positions. Additionally, many federal and state "special agents" operate in "criminal intelligence" based roles as well. Within the U.S. federal law enforcement system, dozens of federal agencies employ federal law enforcement officers, each with different criteria pertaining to the use of the titles Special Agent and Agent.
The United States Customs Service was an agency of the U.S. federal government that collected import tariffs and performed other selected border security duties.
The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is the uniformed security police division of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). FPS is "the federal agency charged with protecting and delivering integrated law enforcement and security services to facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration (GSA)"—over 9,000 buildings—and their occupants.
Inspector is both a police rank and an administrative position, both used in a number of contexts. However, it is not an equivalent rank in each police force.
The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) serves as an interagency law enforcement training body for 105 United States government federal law enforcement agencies. The stated mission of FLETC is to "...train those who protect our homeland". It also provides training to state, local, campus, tribal, and international law enforcement agencies. Through the Rural Policing Institute (RPI) and the Office of State and Local Training, it provides tuition-free and low-cost training to state, local, campus and tribal law enforcement agencies.
The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), or the Postal Inspectors, is the law enforcement arm of the United States Postal Service. It supports and protects the U.S. Postal Service, its employees, infrastructure, and customers by enforcing the laws that defend the nation's mail system from illegal or dangerous use. Its jurisdiction covers any "crimes that may adversely affect or fraudulently use the U.S. Mail, the postal system or postal employees." With roots going back to the late 18th century, the USPIS is the oldest continually operating federal law enforcement agency.
A border guard of a country is a national security agency that performs border security, i.e., enforces the security of the country's national borders. Some of the national border guard agencies also perform coast guard and rescue service duties.
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) is an agency that reports to the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights within the Department of State. Under the umbrella of its general mission of developing policies and programs to combat international narcotics and crime, INL plays an important role in the training of partner nation security forces.
Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) is, per the United States Office of Personnel Management, a type of premium pay that is paid to Federal law enforcement officers who are classified as GS-1811, criminal investigator or special agent. Due to the nature of their work, criminal investigators are required to work, or be available to work, substantial amounts of "unscheduled duty." Availability pay is generally an entitlement that an agency must provide if the required conditions are met, but is optional in any agency's Office of the Inspector General that may employ fewer than five criminal investigators.
Executive Schedule is the system of salaries given to the highest-ranked appointed officials in the executive branch of the U.S. government. The president of the United States appoints individuals to these positions, most with the advice and consent of the United States Senate. They include members of the president's Cabinet, several top-ranking officials of each executive department, the directors of some of the more prominent departmental and independent agencies, and several members of the Executive Office of the President.
Law enforcement in New York City is carried out by numerous law enforcement agencies. New York City has the highest concentration of law enforcement agencies in the United States.
Project Gunrunner is a project of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico, in an attempt to deprive the Mexican drug cartels of weapons.
The District of Columbia Police Coordination Amendment Act of 2001 is an amendment to the National Capital Revitalization and Self-Government Improvement Act of 1997. It was enacted on January 8, 2002. This act was created to fund and increase coordination between law enforcement agencies in the Washington Metropolitan Area.
The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (NIPRCC) is a U.S. government center overseen by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The NIPRCC coordinates the U.S. government's enforcement of intellectual property laws.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is charged with identifying and combating waste, fraud, and abuse in the HHS’s more than 300 programs, including Medicare and programs conducted by agencies within HHS, such as the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health.
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