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You might say we need more hot cops. And who am I to argue? But today’s question is about quantity, not quality. Are there too many cops? Make the jump for the list of federal police agencies cribbed from the hive mind at Wikipedia. You know it’s going to be as long as a kissing booth line for Marisa Miller, with some not unexpected weirdos amongst them (Library of Congress?). For those of you on the fence about the wisdom of the post-911 militarization and expansion of the U.S. law enforcement industry, ask yourself this: is America in danger of slipping into a police state simply because we have so many police with nothing much to do? Remember: the list below is restricted to federal police. Don’t forget to add in your city, state and county cops.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

United States Coast Guard (USCG)
Coast Guard Police (CGPD)
Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS)
United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
United States Border Patrol (USBP)
Federal Protective Service (FPS)
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
United States Secret Service (USSS)
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS)

Department of Justice (USDOJ)

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)
Drug Enforcement Administration (since 1973)
Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (1968–73)
Federal Bureau of Narcotics (1930–68)
Bureau of Prohibition (1927–33)
Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (1966–68)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP)
United States Marshals Service (USMS)

United States Department of State (DOS)

Bureau of Diplomatic Security
Diplomatic Security Service (DSS)

United States Department of Commerce (DOC)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement

United States Department of Treasury

Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division (IRS-CID)
Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)
United States Mint Police (USMP)
United States Treasury Police – merged into the US Secret Service Uniformed Division in 1986.

Department of Defense

Defense Criminal Investigative Service(DCIS)
Pentagon Force Protection Agency
Department of the Army
United States Army Criminal Investigation Division (Army CID)
United States Army Military Police Corps
Department of the Air Force
Air Force Office of Special Investigations (Airforce OSI)
Air Force Security Forces
Department of the Air Force Police

Department of the Navy

Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)
Office of Naval Intelligence Police (ONI Police)
Marine Corps Provost Marshal’s Office

Department of Education

Office of the Inspector General (OIG)

Department of Health and Human Services

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Office of Criminal Investigations

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations

Office of Inspector General

United States Department of the Interior (USDI)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Police
Bureau of Land Management Office of Law Enforcement & Security

National Park Service

National Park Rangers

United States Park Police

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement

Other Major Federal Law Enforcement Agencies

Central Intelligence Agency Security Protective Service (SPS)
Federal Reserve Police
Library of Congress Police
National Security Agency Police (NSA Police)
Smithsonian National Zoological Park Police
United States Capitol Police (USCP)
United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS)
United States Supreme Court Police
Veterans Affairs Police

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21 Responses to Question of the Day: Do We Need Fewer Armed Police?

  1. I think we have too many agencies. I don’t know how many actual LEO’s this list of agencies contains.

    In the private world, they would look to consolidate similar enforcement requirements.

    Expanding further on that – in an ideal world – the Military Law Enforcement would be one department with different divisions. The FBI type of LEO’s (DEA, BATFE (our favorite), ICE, IRS, etc…) would fall under DHS as a division. But then again, being a director of one of those organizations is a powerful and heady experience – nobody wants to relinquish the power they have attained. In the end, Follow The Money!!!

    But this really speaks more about bloatacracy in Government than it does the “police state”. The Feds have a complete inability to really work well in each others’ sandbox. Oh sure, smaller units in some sort of “joint” venture may be successful – but I think the overhead of running this many agencies is more the problem than the “quantity” of LEO’s.

    Then again, I don’t know what that number is in relation to the population.

  2. Do we have too many cops? Yes. Good luck getting rid of them though. A much larger problem is that we have nowhere near high enough training standards, regardless of department or duty.

    So long as we maintain a judicial system that prevents gross violations of the Constitution, it’s less of an issue. That, however, is becoming an increasing issue to contend with.

    Fortunately, technology is beginning to play a very large role in preventing abuses of power, and that trend may well continue to limit said abuses more and more effectively. Providing, of course, the ability to record the cops is protected.

  3. Yes, yes , and yes.What must be remembered about most government agencies is that only a fraction of the manpower is actually out kicking doors and serving warrants. A majority of people in those departments are strapping on their Glock 22’s and traversing the deadly corridors of the regional Headquarters’ copy room.

    A solution to this problem would be to apply the same “need based” criterion to law enforcement the way some New Jersey issues concealed weapon permits;

    “So the last warrant you served was over ten years ago. Can you fit into your beat uniform? No? Please turn in your Glock and magazines at the desk, Mr. Department Desk Jockey”

    ” Mr Marshall, so your job detail is to guard Cosa Nostra court witnesses from attack? Here’s your P90 and extra mag.”

    Before someone gets their feewings hurt , I served in the military in a non-combat AFSC (Army guys call it MOS). Had the MAJCOM bosses decided my non-combat job title did not merit a 9mm issue pistol in the desert I wouldn’t feel the least bit put out, as in the event the desk commandos in my career field are the ones leading a combat charge it means the front line guys were gone and the base was history anyway.

  4. I was raised in New York City, where cops walked a beat, knew everybody in the neighborhood and everybody knew them. Now they cower in their cruisers, happy in their anonymity and armed to the teeth. Let them keep their armament, but get them out of their damn cars and into the places where they might actually do some good.

    • +1. Cops complain that they can’t be social workers, but that’s pretty much what they used to be. If Danny O’Leary was getting too far into the whiskey, you could put a stop to the trouble before he started beating his wife. I understand that it wasn’t Mayberry, but now the cops are more like an occupying army, especially in “bad” (non-white) neighborhoods. Nobody trusts the cops. Nobody likes the cops. I tell my kids not to talk to the cops if they can help it, and I’m pretty much an upstanding citizen. As individuals, the couple of cops I’ve known are totally decent people, but on the street, forget it. It’s all us-and-them now. Protect and serve? Ha.

  5. Hot blonde cops are ok as long as they keep their unproven suspicions, snarky comments, and opinions to themselves.
    I bet she plays good cop bad cop better than anyone.

  6. Most of the women police I’ve observed look and act like men. I’ve come to the conclusion that most police forces are affirmative action institutions first, and police agencies last.

    With open carry they could do away with the police, since I could carry a handgun and rifle with me. But don’t get rid of the firemen. I can’t very well carry a fire hose.

    • I guess cops don’t do anything but carry a gun and shoot people? What about the hundreds of calls a night to keep people from fighting or hurting each other? What about pulling accident victims out of cars? What about getting people out of burning structures because the fire department takes 3 extra minutes to get there? What about running to the sound of gunfire instead of running away?

      I guess cops just hide in the cruisers waiting to shoot someone if I follow your logic.

      • Yes. Cops spend a lot of time breaking up fights with low lifes. But who cares? Let the losers beat each other up. If they shoot each other, I frankly don’t care.

        The other stuff is probably a benefit. But questionable women are not the ones that do it best. Nor do cops need a large military style arsenal in order to complete the task of saving folks from burning structures. I exaggerate some, but not much.

        • Well, the problem with what you propose happen is the shots those people are firing at each other tend to fly into homes and hit other people. I agree that law enforcement has gone off the deep end, but to totally dissolve it and let people eat each other is not the answer.

  7. I wonder if the Library of Congress cops have a SWAT team, nebpver know when you might have some hostile kids talking loudly in the stacks.

  8. The politicians need to have fewer laws with less government and enforce the remainder. As of now we have many laws with uneven enforcement. I think too many dumb victimless crime laws resulting in non-violent offenders crowding the prisons and violent offenders being shown the revolving door.

  9. Amazing isn’t it — the post office has its armed force.

    I less concerned that we have so many agencies versus so many are redendent and they are poorly coordinated so their is a lot of waste and turf wars. Govt in general is rarely if ever efficient — if they where more efficient and effective, we would need fewer. The issue, is that in many cases, some politician or dept has their hand in the till, and so they will not give back or reduce.

    That said, we have a large country with lot of land mass and there are plenty of illegal activity that happens so you do need a force of sufficient size. Many of these groups do have a focused mission and the local PD cannot be everywhere and then you have federal versus state versus local juristiction which make things even more messy.

    In the end, it is a lack of coordination, cooperation and efficiency that worries more than all these agencies.

  10. The list is out of date. The Library of Congress PD and Supreme Court PD were merged into the US Capitol PD several years ago.

    A lot of the list of Federal “Police ” agencies is a matter of semantics and fine print. A lot of those listed are essentially security forces at their own buildings. Lots more are essentially forensic accountants dealing with finiancil waste and abuse dealing w/ their respective Gov’t entity. Neither catagory has much effect or interaction on general public.

  11. I don’t know if we have too many cops, but I sure think that we have too many agencies, with too many beaurocracies, too many different sets of rules, different levels of training, different agendas. And there is obviously to me too much overlap, especially in customs and immigration, and the department of the interior.

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