50 Shades of Blue

The content below is from Episode 114 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast


  • This week I recommend you watch The Orville.
    • Created by Seth McFarland (the creator of Family Guy), this show was expected to be a ridiculous parody of Star Trek, but turned out to be a legit SiFi series.
    • The show does have some McFarland humor throughout, but it isn’t saturated with comedy. Seth obviously has the ability to be funny and some of his projects in the past have been slam dunks like Family Guy and TED. But other projects of his were just too ridiculous for me. Luckily the Orville saves the humor for when it best fits the story. In my opinion that makes the few jokes that do make it past editing even funnier.
    • But this isn’t a comedy show, the main focus of the show is to go where Star Trek never did and certainly doesn’t today (today’s version of Star Trek sucks).
    • The Orville proposes some deep concepts only possible on a futuristic exploration starship. I think it is leagues better than the Star Trek spin-offs of today, and that is why I recommend you check it out.


  • The other weekend I was headed to bed after having a few beers and all I wanted was to watch a cool movie I’d never seen before. I turned on Netflix and saw U.S. Marshals.
    • It is a movie from the late 90’s starring Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes, and Robert Downey Jr. It is technically a sequel to the much more famous movie The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford. As I watched this mediocre movie I found myself wondering what a US Marshal does… What makes them different than regular cops or FBI agents?
    • And so this episode was born! LOL this episode is all about the different kinds of law enforcement and what they do.
  • Before I get into the different kinds of law enforcement, let us cover some basics:
    • Law Enforcement is the sum of all the agencies and employees that are tasked with protecting the public, keeping the peace, and enforcing the law. This is a massive amount of responsibility and therefore Law Enforcement has been split up.
    • There are jurisdictions such as Federal, State, County, and Local cities/towns.
    • The Feds include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the U.S. Marshals.
    • State cops include State Troopers and Highway Patrol.
    • Then Counties have Sheriffs/Deputies and cities/towns can have their own police force.
  • So let’s pick apart some of the big ones:
  • Uniformed Officers
    • Uniform cops make up the majority of the US’s police force. They investigate crime and help the public… which includes menial tasks like directing traffic.
    • Have you ever heard of a Beat cop? Well, a beat refers to a specific patrol that an officer will take. That is their designated area and therefore they can become familiar with the area and will be the first to spot any irregularities.
  • Detectives
    • Detectives are the guys that all the books, shows, and movies are written about. They talk to people who witnessed crimes and suspects. They interview everyone involved to collect clues and evidence to build a case. They organize all the facts and type up detailed reports on crimes. Detectives are typically very organized people as they are responsible for creating the prosecution in a court case. Everything they type up is picked apart by the defense’s legal team. If they are sloppy the case can be thrown out of court.
  • State Police and Highway Patrol
    • State and Highway Patrol have a huge jurisdiction compared to local cops. They are typically patrolling major roadways or highways. But they also help local police during emergencies or situations that go past the jurisdiction of local cops. If local police don’t have the resources to address a situation they will rely on State police.
  • Fish and Game Wardens
    • Now we’re getting into more uncommon police forces. Game wardens aren’t even typically thought of as Law Enforcement, but they are. These are the guys protecting wildlife such as fish and animals… as well as the forests as a whole.
    • They work with nature conservation departments maintaining the health of our forests. They also help federal departments with investigations.
      • As an example: if a murder victim is found in the woods or a suspect has fled into the woods, game wardens will assist investigating law enforcement by guiding them through the wilderness.
    • The main responsibility of Fish and Game Wardens is to enforce fishing and hunting laws. They make sure fishermen and hunters are safe and not poaching.
    • Similar to how they help investigating forces as guides in the woods, they also conduct search and rescue operations. They are supposed to know the woods better than any other official law enforcement so it makes sense. Game Wardens also follow up on complaints or accidents regarding parks and trails. They are supposed to know how to operate boats and off-road vehicles.
    • Fish and Game Warden is a very sought-after job. The competition to become a Game Warden is stiff because there are a lot of people like me who would love to be out protecting nature from people.
    • Wardens need a bachelor’s degree related to biology or conservation plus impressive experience helps as well.
    • Where a lot of other departments of law enforcement have come under fire for misconduct or blatantly illegal actions under the protection of the badge, Game Wardens are typically safe from all that negative PR. These guys care about nature and making sure people don’t muck it up. The only PR they typically get is positive.
    • You may think of a Fish and Game Warden as a simple nature protector, but I assure you that they have arresting power and will book your ass if need be. They have just as much authority as a regular cop, it is just that their jurisdiction is out in the woods.
  • Transit Police
    • If you don’t live in a larger city then this kind of law enforcement might be a bit alien to you.
    • Transit cops patrol subways and freight railways stations. They typically stop property damage-type crimes like vandalism and theft. But they also patrol for trespassing and smuggling.
    • Transit cops are required to go to the Police academy like uniformed cops and some cities require further training.
Kevin M. Kraus sheriff of Allegheny County PA
  • Sheriffs
    • The biggest difference between other police or law enforcement and Sheriffs is that Sheriffs are elected positions. They have to be voted into their roles.
    • They are also in charge of enforcing laws throughout a county instead of just a city or town so they have a larger area to cover.
    • While most Sheriffs have had some sort of education and/or experience in law enforcement before running for Sheriff’s office, it isn’t required.
    • The Sheriff’s Office is responsible for carrying out the orders of the Court to enforce Injunctions, serve warrants, the service of Out of County* ProtectionFrom Abuse Orders (PFA), Writs of Summons and Complaints, Subpoenas, and Writs of Attachment / Garnishments.
This is a pic of my college police force and a the lady is a fellow student of mine
  • Special Jurisdiction Police
    • Places like college campuses or other schools fall under special jurisdiction, and Air Ports and other transportation systems do as well.
    • Even though I always thought of them as rent-a-cops or not real cops when I was in college, they are indeed real cops. Please learn from my mistake: Special Jurisdiction cops have just as much authority as regular cops. They are not to be trifled with lol.
      • The main difference in their authority is that they don’t have jurisdiction outside their special jurisdiction. So if you are doing some shady stuff in town, the campus PD aren’t supposed to arrest you… but you can bet they will call the local police to do it anyway.
  • Border Patrol
    • While you might imagine border patrol agents following tracks in rural areas or performing routine customs checks at the border or the airport, they can work in many other capacities as well.
    • While many of them are responsible for surveying land and coastal borders for smuggling and other illegal activities and communicating with those crossing the border, border patrol agents can also find specialized work within Customs and Border Patrol agency with opportunities in horse patrol, bike patrol, and emergency medical services.
    • If you’re looking for the best chance at becoming a border patrol agent, a combination of law enforcement experience and criminal justice college courses is a great place to start.
  • CSI – Crime Scene Investigators
    • Crime scene investigators sometimes called forensic technicians or forensic scientists, are the law enforcement professionals who scour crime scenes for evidence, gathering and documenting what they find. Depending on the role, they may conduct laboratory analysis of the evidence they collect. Additionally, they may be called on to testify as expert witnesses in criminal trials—this can require explaining complex subjects in plain language, so strong communication skills are a big plus.
    • To become a crime scene investigator, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field like forensic science or biology before stepping into that crime scene or onto the witness stand.
  • But what about…
    • TSA
      • Airport security or TSA…
        • People often believe that an agent has the same role as a law enforcement officer. However, TSA agents are not law enforcement officers. TSA officers cannot arrest a passenger. They also do not carry any weapons and are not allowed to use force as a part of their duties. They simply screen for security reasons and if a situation arises, they must contact the local law enforcement. In the case of a breach of security in an airport, the TSO would contact airport law enforcement to handle the situation. 
    • Deputies
      • We talked about Sherriffs, but what about their cronies the Deputy Sherriffs?
        • The main difference between a deputy sheriff and a police officer is jurisdiction. A police officer is solely responsible for the prevention of crime within their city limits, whereas a deputy sheriff is responsible for an entire county, which could include multiple small towns and several larger cities. Job responsibilities are also different for a deputy and a police officer. Police officers mainly patrol the city, issue tickets, and testify against criminals they arrest. The duties for deputy sheriffs vary by state but may include maintaining county jails, acting as security in courts, investigating crimes or accidents, and issuing warrants. Qualifications and training also differ, with additional training needed to become a deputy.
    • Prison Guards or Correctional Officers
      • Generally speaking, the men and women who guard prisoners on US soil do enforce the law… but within a controlled environment.
        • They don’t attend police academies. They typically don’t make arrests, but some states do permit arresting power to their correctional officers.
        • Where beat cops have reality to deal with, correctional officers have an enclosed world full of convicted criminals to deal with. They are two very different things. Prison guards are tasked with keeping convicts from getting out or committing further crimes when inside.
    • Texas Rangers
      • The Texas Ranger Division, commonly called the Texas Rangers and also known as “Los Diablos Tejanos“—”the Texan Devils”,[4] is an investigative law enforcement agency with statewide jurisdiction in Texas, based in the capital city of Austin. Over the years, the Texas Rangers have investigated crimes ranging from murder to political corruption, acted in riot control and as detectives, protected the governor of Texas, tracked down fugitives, and functioned as a paramilitary force at the service of both the Republic (1836–1845) and the state of Texas.
      • The Texas Rangers were unofficially created by Stephen F. Austin in a call-to-arms written in 1823 and were first headed by Captain Morris. After a decade, on August 10, 1835, Daniel Parker introduced a resolution to the Permanent Council creating a body of rangers to protect the Mexican border.[5] The unit was dissolved by the federal authorities during the post–Civil War Reconstruction Era, but was quickly reformed upon the reinstitution of home government. Since 1935, the organization has been a division of the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS); it fulfills the role of Texas’ state bureau of investigation. As of 2019, there are 166 commissioned members of the Ranger force.
      • The Rangers have taken part in many of the most important events of Texas history, such as stopping the assassination of presidents William Howard Taft and Porfirio Díaz in El Paso, and in some of the best-known criminal cases in the history of the Old West, such as those of gunfighter John Wesley Hardin, bank robber Sam Bass, and outlaws Bonnie and Clyde. Scores of books have been written about the Rangers, from well-researched works of nonfiction to pulp novels and other such fiction, making the Rangers significant participants in the mythology of the Wild West. The Lone Ranger, perhaps the best-known example of a fictional character derived from the Texas Rangers, draws his alias from having once been a Texas Ranger. Other well-known examples include the radio and television series Tales of the Texas Rangers, and the several Texas Ranger roles, including Chuck Norris portraying Cordell Walker in Walker, Texas Ranger.
      • During the early years of the19th century, the Texas Rangers were the main fighting force against native tribes, namely the Comanche. While other colonizing forces used muzzleloading firearms, the Texas Rangers used the newly invented Colt Revolver.
        • Samuel Colt developed the first mass-produced, multi-shot, revolving firearms. Various revolving designs had been around for centuries, but precision parts couldn’t be made with available technologies. Colt was the first to apply Industrial Age machining tools to the idea.
        • The use of the revolver gave the Texas Rangers a major advantage over their enemy. Comanches were master horsemen and were able to rapid-fire arrows from their horses. Where other colonizing forces had to dismount their horses and take minutes to reload their firearms, the Texas Rangers could rapid-fire back to the Comanche.
        • Their ability to successfully face the Comanche in combat cemented the reputation of the Texas Rangers as badasses of the west.
      • The Rangers are culturally significant to Texans and are legally protected against disbandment.[6] There is a museum dedicated to the Texas Rangers known as the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas, which celebrates the cultural significance of the Rangers.
    • Police Ranks
      • Police technician
        • Entry level – high school diploma – paper pusher – parking tickets – directing traffic –
      • Police officer/patrol officer/police detective
        • This is the uniformed police officer I spoke of earlier.
        • Most broad rank – training academy – HS diploma or Bachelors – patrol – investigate emergency and non-emergency
        • Some departments view detectives above officers
      • Police corporal
        • officers that show leadership qualities typically become corporals – in charge of officers
      • Police sergeant
        •  5 years of experience minimum – interpret and apply ordinances to a wide variety of situations – train officers – give out punishments – develop new policies
      • Police lieutenant
        • Many years of experience needed and an exam – Middle management – hire and fire power – assign titles and roles/shifts – work with other police departments and interact with public –
      • Police captain
        • College Degree – Public speaking/relations – Manage department activities – answer only to chiefs/deputy chiefs – Budget management – training/hire – work with public – conduct research
      • Deputy police chief
        • Deputy Police Chiefs are in big cities where it is too big of an area to police for just a chief. They can act as a Chief in the Cheif’s absence like a Vice President.
        • Becoming a deputy police chief is likely to require several years of service in a law enforcement management position. A Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice is typically required, and some agencies may prefer additional training or education like completion of the FBI National Academy.
      • Chief of police
        • These are the head honchos of the police. They oversee everything at the top and assign officers to special task forces.
        • Most police chiefs are appointed by elected officials. As the public head of a law enforcement agency, they work closely with mayors and city government officials. They implement law enforcement programs for their cities and review criminal cases to look for trends and patterns. They handle the department’s budget, direct the systems that maintain records and legal documents, handle grievances, and address the public in the event of crisis incidents
        • As the high-profile leaders of a public law enforcement agency, the buck stops with them. They are ultimately responsible for any issues or incidents in the agency under their watch. Because of this, they often face criticism from public leaders, activists, and local politicians if things aren’t going well. This means most successful police chiefs are educated, articulate, and at least a little politically savvy.
  • And that’s all Ive got on law enforecment.
  • Thanks for listening Who’d a Thunkers!


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