Becoming a Police Officer: Law Enforcement Glossary
Below is a list of commom law enforcement terms:
arrest. An arrest occurs when any sworn officer deprives a person of his/her liberty by taking that person into custody to answer for an alleged criminal offense or a violation of a code or ordinance that the officer's jurisdiction is authorized to enforce. Most arrests are made by police officers, peace officers, troopers, or sheriff's deputies, but depending on the jurisdiction or circumstances, probation, parole, or court officers may be authorized to arrest all or certain categories of people.
auxiliary/reserve/part-time officer. Designations that refer to different types of officers in different areas of the United States; regardless of title, they are found in many police departments and sheriffs' offices but rarely in state police agencies. Depending on local usage, these officers may be volunteers or may be paid. They generally perform in uniform a certain number of hours per week or per month supplementing regular officers during certain times of the year, such as in resort communities when populations increase substantially, or for certain events including traffic control or work at fairs or civic or cultural events. In other jurisdictions they have the same duties as fully-sworn, full-time officers. Although candidates for these positions may not be interested in employment as full-time law enforcement officers, many are and in some jurisdictions this type of employment is viewed as a stepping-stone to attaining that, offered first to those who are Police Explorers or others involved in similar programs or those who are on the civil service eligibility list, awaiting being called for full-time police employment.
background investigation. A key element of the hiring process, a background investigation delves into a candidate's past life, including education, employment, military service if any, criminal history, credit and driving records, and past associations. A candidate must provide information which is verified by the hiring agency as part of the process of determining whether the candidate is suitable for law enforcement employment. Deliberate falsehoods are automatic grounds for a candidate to be dropped from further consideration for employment.
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