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Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Career Choices

Descriptions of law enforcement occupations

ATF Agent


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Working for the U.S. Treasury Department, ATF agents implement and enforce U.S. laws concerning the possession and sale of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms. They take part in a wide Varity of investigations that involve obtaining search warrants, making raids, searching for physical evidence, conducting surveillance, interviewing suspects and witnesses, and making arrests. ATF agents work in close contact with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies supplying on-going assistance in the struggle against violence and crime. ATF agents also assess all evidence at the close of an investigation and organize specific case reports that assist the U.S. attorney in preparing for trial

Court Baliff

Bailiffs provide courtroom security. When they arrive at work, they ensure the courtrooms are safe. They check for hidden bombs, guns, or other dangers. They monitor the cleanliness of courtrooms. Bailiffs make sure people are not armed as they enter the courtroom. When unauthorized weapons are found, bailiffs confiscate them.

Compliance Officer

U.S. spies have been in existence since the country’s beginning, as far back Revolutionary War and a man named Nathan Hale. However, the Central Intelligence Agency is a comparatively new organization. It was established by President Truman by the signing of the National Security Act in 1947. The purpose of the CIA is: “to collect, evaluate and disseminate foreign intelligence” and “to engage in covert action at the president’s direction”. The agency formerly carried out many more undercover secret actions, many of which were in Central America.

Corrections Officer

A correctional officer watches over convicted criminals who are serving time in a penitentiary, jail, or reformatory. They also oversee those who are waiting for trail after being arrested. They preserve security and inmate responsibility to prevent escapes, assaults, and conflicts. Job authority of these officers is valid only in the institution where they are employed.

Court Clerks and Officials

Court clerks execute duties for a court of law including the processing legal records. Court clerks create a schedule of cases to be heard in court. Clerks send the participants information with the details of the trial. Clerks are also responsible for the preparation of post, file, and route documents and case folders. Clerks proof read legal documents submitted to the court to ensure the procedures followed were accurate. Incorrect documents require clerks to clarify the proper procedures or forms to those who submitted them.

Crime Scene Investigators

Crime scene investigators are responsible for carrying out complex crime scene investigations. They are accountable for the initial evaluation of the scene, and use various types of equipment to cultivate, secure, and package any physical evidence found at the scene, which will later be used for scientific comparison and evaluation. Crime scene investigators write up and organize detailed reports on the activities being carried out at the scene and the observations made. These reports are then given to the law enforcement agency in charge of investigating the crime. Crime scene investigators may also be asked to testify in court in regards to their findings and the processing methods that were used at the scene.

Forensic Science Examiner

Forensic scientists help solve crimes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence and other facts found at the scene. They specifically analyze fingerprints, blood, semen, firearms, saliva, and drugs, and may also reconstruct skeletal bones. In addition, forensic scientists write reports, preserve evidence, testify in court, and discuss evidence collection with attorneys and law enforcement personnel. Often times, the scientific breakdown of evidence is crucial in determining an accused person's guilt or innocence in a crime. Therefore, the role of forensic scientists is vital to the criminal justice process.

INS Agent

The entry of legal immigrants and visitors into the U.S. is facilitated by inspectors and agents working for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The INS is also responsible for the detainment and deportation of individuals who attempt to come into the country illegally.

Probation Officer

Probation and parole officers oversee two kinds of individuals: offenders sentenced to probation (people who carry out the conditions of sentences demanded by the court) and parolees (people released from prison that must serve parole-board-ordered sentences).

Private Security Officer

Private security is a fast growing career area with various opportunities for employment. Private security guards provide protection to individuals and private businesses. Security guards may personally monitor the events taking place in a particular area or use a wide assortment of electronic surveillance devices in order to insure the safety and security of individuals, property, and businesses. Security guards can be commonly found working for department stores, hospitals and banks. Some private security guards work directly for individuals or business organizations, while others work for privately owned security services which contract them out to various businesses and organizations.

Private Investigator and Detectives

Private detectives and investigators employ various methods to decide the facts in numerous situations. Different kinds of searches and surveillance are used in investigation procedures. Facts, including the income or place of work of a person, are confirmed by trips to the person's workplace or by phone calls. Personal interviews are used to collect information in cases that include background checks and missing persons. Private detectives and investigators provide businesses, attorneys, and the public with various personal, financial, and legal help.

DEA Agents

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents implement regulations and laws concerning illegal drugs. The DEA is the front-running agency for domestic implementation of Federal drug laws and also has the exclusive task of organizing and tracking U.S. drug investigations overseas. Agents carry out intricate criminal investigations, keep a close watch on criminals, and penetrate illegal drug organizations using covert operations.

US Marshall

U.S. marshals and deputy marshals provide the Federal courts with protection while making sure the judicial system operates correctly. Their job description includes shielding Federal witnesses, transferring Federal prisoners, providing security for Federal judiciary, and supervising criminal enterprise assets in custody. They have the broadest range of authority of all Federal law enforcement agencies and work in virtually every Federal law enforcement endeavor. U.S. marshals also track and apprehend fugitives.

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