What is the difference between police, sheriff and state trooper in the US?

They have different jurisdictions (scopes).

The U.S. is divided into 50 states (and territories like Puerto Rico).In the vast majority of cases, these are divided into counties (counties); within the districts there are municipalities (villages ormunicipalities). In some states, in addition to these, there are also county-free cities, in other townships or other divisions.

All have their own police departments:

  • Police (without supplement) means the municipal police.

It may only operate within its own village or municipality. For example, Minneapolis and St. Paul are right next to each other and each have their own police, but a St. Paul police officer is not allowed to investigate or arrest in Minneapolis (and vice versa). This police force is subordinate to the mayor of his own municipality. Typically, they wear blue, black or blue-black uniforms with the peaked cap or sometimes basecap in black.

Typical police uniforms in the U.S.

  • The sheriff is responsible for areas outside closed towns, but only within his county.

(In some states, however, the sheriff may also operate in the communities of his county in certain situations.) The name comes from England, shire-reeve, the highest state representative in a shire or county (county).Sheriffs usually wear brown or beige uniforms, usually with a cowboy hat or similar in felt or leather, or basecap in brown. Their service mark is usually a star with five to nine points.

A sheriff in uniform

  • A State Trooper (or State Police or State Highway Patrol) is primarily used for traffic control on interstates, US highways, and state highways (i.e. counterparts to highways, highways, and highways) roads), but not on county roads or similar. They are also often responsible for investigating crimes that have crossed city and county boundaries, with many states also having counterparts to the FBI ,which is responsible for investigations.

They are subordinate to the Governor of the State. State Troopers have very different uniforms, depending on the state.They are often grey or grey-blue, but in some states they are brown, beige or of a different color. Most often they also wear a typical military hat (campaign hat), less often a peaked cap or basecap.Unlike the others, they have more military accents, e.g. trooper is a term from the cavalry.Some state police emphasize this origin in the names and uniforms (like the Mounties in Canada), others do not.

State Troopers of Virginia

New Jersey State Police officers

California Highway Patrol officers at the conclusion

Ohio State Highway Patrol officer (and adult in uniform)

In each state there are specialfeatures.

Louisiana, for example, does not have counties, but parishes. Texas has state troopers and the investigative agency united in the Texas Rangers (not the baseball team of the same name, but the police department). [1 In Virginia, cities of a certain size are generally county-free, while in others there are no county-free cities.In many states, sheriffs are elected and often they are very powerful local politicians, in others they are not. And so on.

In addition to the municipal and federal police, there are also several from the federal government, again with narrowly defined scopes.Some examples:

  • U.S. Marshals are the police of the federal courts.
  • The US Secret Service is responsible for investigating counterfeit money and protecting the president.
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is responsible for domestic terrorism, organized crime, and crimes across federal borders, among other things.
  • Drug Enforcement Agency is responsible for drug trafficking investigations.
  • U.S. Forest Service is designed to protect state-owned forests and nature reserves.
  • Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) is responsible for monitoring passengers in air traffic.
  • Etc.

For each of these authorities, there are separate terms for their officials.For example, US marshals are just marshals, Secret Service police officers, DEA and FBI are agents, Forest Service police officers are rangers, etc.


[1 Texas Rangers (police) – Wikipedia

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