1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Bumpass, Virginia

    state vs. county vs. city vs. town police

    What are the differences between these types of police agencies? Especially in New York. What are their primary jobs? I know we've called the police to our house 2 times before for domestic problems and both time, NY State Police showed up, the local town/county police did not show up.

    Do State Police have more power than County or City or even local Town police? Are the latter subordinates to the bigger agencies?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    In VT all the above agencies are equals. The difference is who is charged with taking care of the place you live in. Some towns, villages, cities only have part-time agencies, thus either state police or sheriffs would answer the calls after pd hours.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    tactical208's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Rochester, New York
    In new york all agencies are equal, just the state police are broken up into troops which cover a certain area.

    Just becuase you have a local police force doesn't mean tha the troopers can't show up.

    Here in my county the troopers enforce everything on the expressways except crimes, then those crimes are turned over to the local police department. They don't answer calls for service other than things that happen on the expressways ie: accidents, disabled vehicles, radar enforcement etc. In some of the more rural areas the state police are te first responders, just depends where you live.

  4. #4
    PeteBroccolo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada
    In Canada, criminal law is enacted by the Federal Government, but administered by each Provincial and Territorial Government. Within each Province, generally only urban, but also rural, in some Provinces, Municipalities are empowered, and required, to provide Policing Services to enforce Federal, Provincial and Municipal legislation.

    Pursuant to contracts between the Federal and 8 of the 10 Provincial Governments, and many Municipalities within those Provinces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police provides both Provincial and Municipal Policing Services. Further the RCMP is the ONLY Police Service in Canada's 3 Arctic Territories, as well as providing National Police Services to ALL other Canadian Law Enforcement Agencies (fingerprint / criminal records, CPIC (like NCIC & NLETS).

    While the Municipal PS do not answer to the Provincial PS, nor the Provincial PS to the RCMP (where they are not one and the same), any PS could request the assistance of any other PS to conduct any sort of investigation, in particular where the requesting PS is the subject of the investigation, either as a whole or one or more of their members.

    There are laws in Canada, however, that are only enforceable by certain Agencies - Federal laws, such as Customs, Immigration, Excise and Tax legislation is only enforceable by certain Federal Agencies, including the RCMP. Provincial laws are enforceable by the Provincial and Municipal PS for each Province, while Municipal by-laws are only enforceable by the PS specifically for that Municipality. Up here, there is a LOT of concurrent / joint enforcement responsibility, so we all try to get along!

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Patrolling the Yellow Brick Road
    It all depends on the politics. If you look back at the history of the US citizens were fearful of having one branch of government or- in this case - one police agency with too much power. Hence the different levels of law enforcement which were supposed to break up this power and, to some extent, police each other (e.g. State Police may investigate a local police shooting, the FBI may investigate police corruption in a Sheriff's Department/County Police agency etc).

    Some states brought in strong central State Police agencies (I believe the first was Pennsylvania) with the power to enforce and investigate laws statewide. Examples of these are usually found in the northeast- New York, Maine, Maryland, Virginia etc.

    Some state legislatures were fearful that a State Police would become the Governor's own "bully boys" who would enforce their political agenda and stop members of other parties from making it to the statehouse for votes. In my state, the state agency originally had to appoint Troopers to 4 year terms, 1/2 from each political party so no party would have too much control. This brought about other splits you see across the US where states have Highway Patrols / State Patrols with seperate State Bureaus of Investigation. Some examples of this are Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Texas (Rangers), California etc.

    Sorry for the history lesson- but I think it is important to know where we come from. In my opinion, had this nation been formed today, when communications and media provide instant information and little is hidden, we may have had more State Police agencies formed. Without question a State Police agency is more efficient and doesn't have to fight jurisdictional issues when pursuing criminals.

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