What do GPO, FEMA, NIH, USDA, TVA and a few other federal agencies have in common?

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  • DougC

    Active Member
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    Feb 22, 2021
    Besides being the government here to help citizens (note: BIG loud snarky sound just now) they are some 73 federal agencies that have full-time LEOs; armed and can make arrests.

    While reading a mystery thriller the lead character gets a federal carry license I wondered just who can be armed as fed beside the usual FBI, Capitol Police, CBP, Customs, LEOs. Surprised to see Dept of Education, FDA, NIH and a few others. Who are they arresting?
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    Just Another Boomer
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    Nov 22, 2011
    Who are they arresting?
    IME, small(er) agency LEOs rarely make arrests and when they do they are always accompanied by other LEOs whose jobs require arresting people every day.

    The reason folks like the Railroad Retirement Board have full-time LEOs is that the laws they enforce are so specialized that no LEOs from any other agency could possibly be sufficiently trained to identify when those laws are broken, much less be able to competently testify in court during trials.

    Like it or not, when criminals are on trial, "the system" demands that a real, sworn, badge- and gun-carrying LEO is going to have to be the arresting officer of record and must be able to testify knowledgeably about the alleged infraction. Where arcane federal laws are being broken, that sort of expertise only exists in the person of full-time LEOs trained and employed by the overseeing agency.

    I ran head first into this state of affairs many years ago when I was doing data recovery and lead development on cases involving obscenity. I was completely capable of testifying in court about all technical aspects of these cases. However, I was completely shut out of helping and was told, quite bluntly, "If you don't carry a badge and a gun, no one will believe you strongly enough in court to send someone to prison."

    It was a bit frustrating to see cops who could barely use Outlook to read their email being "trained" (and I use that term very loosely) to testify in court about how data was recovered from seized digital media. In the intervening decades, things have greatly improved. However, when digital evidence was a new thing, much of the testimony of LEOs about it boiled down to "I wear a badge so just believe everything I tell you". At the time, defense attorneys tended to be so unsophisticated on the subjects involved that they took those LEOs at their word. So did juries.

    Thank goodness things are better now.

    The bottom line about your original question, though, is that when the law is obscure, you need a few obscure LEOs to specialize in it or else it can't practically be enforced.


    TGT Addict
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    Sep 27, 2017
    IMO, all the post stander/uniform police guarding buildings and such need to be rolled into one fed agency like FPS or Homeland Security. The specialty folks like RR police should be special agents.

    There’d be some bugs to work out but nothing would be too hard.
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