Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw Enforcement & Police · 6 years ago

Does city, county and state HAVE to work with federal agents?

I was watching a crime show and the patrol officer said "I was patrolling and all of a sudden I got a message on my screen saying to keep out of this area since the Secret Service was conducting an investigation and didn't want a marked car driving around". I never knew that federal agencies had that much pull; I am aware that hey are federal and can pretty much operate anywhere but I didn't know they could tell a local PD to stop doing their job and put their stuff on hold. My guess is that its just a courtesy thing to keep the relationship within the agencies in good standing. Is this the reason? Or is there some mandate that makes it mandatory for local police to assist federal agencies?

Another thing I always wanted to know was who provides back up for agents? Like can they call 911 for help and get SWAT to assist? or can the local police say no and make them use their own resources? I know FBI's HRT or SWAT equivalent would take hours to respond and some smaller agencies like CGIS and NCIS probably don't even have a such a team. So when these agents are serving a warrant, can they ask the Sheriff's office or city police to assist them for back up? Or are they pretty much all alone?

Thanks for reading. They question may seem dumb to some of you police officers or federal agents but I never worked in that field so I can only go from TV shows and documentaries. Federal Vs state always confused me, and in movies it makes it seem like a federal agent can tell a local cop to drop and do push ups and he will. Hollywood has a way of making federal agents seem invincible; but I am sure in real life they have to show police officers respect and work with them if they want good results.


3 Answers

  • Bruce
    Lv 7
    6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    A federal agency would not work in a local jurisdiction without giving the local police a heads up, so the situation you saw on TV shouldn't happen.

    Conflict between agencies makes for good drama on TV, but that is not how it works. In real life, different agencies work together very well and count on each other for support.

    Source(s): Law enforcement since 1991
  • 6 years ago

    No they do not. Neither do they have to give up jurisdiction from the state to federal unless there were federal crimes committed. Local law enforcement investigates prosecutes local and state crimes, and federal law enforcement prosecutes federal law.

    That's why you can be found innocent under state law but convicted under federal law. Murder for instance is not generally against federal law unless drugs, etc. were involved. (generally)

    We had a guy break into a house to get money he was owed by the residents for a previous drug deal. He disarmed the residents and shot them dead. But since no drugs were involved at the time of the crime, It remains a state crime and no federal laws was broken.

  • 6 years ago

    I'd be interested in knowing what Bruce thinks about the fact that DEA agents in Oregon were obtaining Administrative subpoenas in an effort to override Oregon's extant law that any law enforcement agency needs to obtain a warrant before rifling through the contents of a digital report on people's prescription medications.

    My friend is an ACLU attorney. They're lawyers are in court contesting the fact that the DEA claimed "people have no constitutionally protected rights over their prescription medicine" and that's why they in one case overrode Oregon's state law (which comes right out and disputes that claim) and looked through the digital contents of someone's prescription medications.

    I don't know who the flying f*** the DEA thinks they ARE, but they sound like wanton snoops if you ask me. I hope the judge rules that they're NOT allowed to preempt Oregon's existing law that requires law enforcement to obtain a warrant before looking through digital prescriptions of Oregon residents and tells them they're no longer allowed to preempt the law with an administrative subpoena exempting themselves from obtaining warrants.

    All of that sounds pretty conflicting between federal and state law enforcement agencies if you ask me. It sounds like the DEA has an extremely DISrespectful attitude toward American citizens when they want to do something THEIR way - and Oregon law can be d*mmd for all they care.

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