Everybody has opinions on law enforcement and as a country, a lot of money is spent on these individuals, but what needs to be determined are the reasons why. Law enforcement is an umbrella term that refers to a professional group of people tasked with keeping order through investigation and prevention of crime (Wikipedia 2018). So whether someone is an officer, detective, marshal, or agent, they are part of law enforcement.
Due to the inclusion of many individuals, law enforcement has different levels and jurisdictions. The three basic levels are federal, state, and local (golawenforcement.com). Federal law enforcement includes the FBI, commonly known as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This department is in charge of upholding federal law and supporting state and local law enforcement agencies.
Dropping down a level, you have the state. State law enforcement is made up of investigators and officers in charge of crime detection and prevention at the state level. These individuals are referred to either as state police, state patrol, or highway patrol. The local level includes the village and county law enforcement whose primary purpose is to uphold the laws of the jurisdiction, provide patrol, and investigate local crimes (golawenforcement.com).
Law enforcement’s relation to the economy is substantial due to the fact that taxpayers pay all of the salaries and a majority of the benefits for the said individuals. As the levels vary, so do their salaries. To become involved in a law enforcement career you must complete different requirements for different types of jobs. An FBI agent must meet these requirements; be a U.S. Citizen, be between age 23-37, obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited 4-year college, have a state license, and lastly have an average of 3 years of experience in the field (federaljobrequirements.com).
Most FBI agents receive an average salary of $134,386 (glassdoor.com). State Troopers, those of whom are considered at the State level have requirements differing from FBI Agents. To obtain a job as a State Trooper you must be at least 21 and have similar requirements but are mandated to complete a written and physical test before they will be hired (NYStrooperrequirements.com). State Troopers on average make $51,533 a year (glassdoor.com). Local officers have requirements that may be a little lower in intensity.
Although their jurisdictions are a lot smaller than the previously stated levels, they still have similar requirements. For example, to become involved in local law enforcement you must be at least 21, be a US citizen, have a high school diploma, no felonies, no domestic violence or DWI convictions, and lastly complete a training program. Most people have known a Sheriff as being apart of local level law enforcement. The only difference between a sheriff and a village cop is that they are the highest level in county law (lawenforcementedu.net). Most sheriffs and local officers earn on average, $45,041 (glassdoor.com). The increased growth rate for Law Enforcement is predicted to increase by 7% by 2026 (bls.gov).
Policing has a lot of different types of expenses as well as a low budget in relation to the services it provides. The United States spent over $100 billion dollars in policing alone and $80 billion on incarcerations. These expenses include operational costs, law enforcement salaries, benefits; prison inmate health care; administration of probation departments, boards of parole, and state departments of corrections. New York City had the highest budget of $4.89 billion.
Law enforcement budgets are decreasing rapidly due to the number of funds and different activities they are completing (forbes.com). Therefore, law enforcement says that they don’t have the funding to provide their normal services and on top of that there salaries and benefits cannot be simply changed overnight to compensate. As a decrease in money occurs this could impact the economy and increase other prices or increase the price taxpayers have to pay.
Law Enforcement is a heavy topic in the U.S. whether it is bad or good. As a country we have discussions and debates about law enforcement, but do we ever look at it from their side. According to policeone.com, it says as the economy gets worse the nation is to see an increase in crime. If you ever look up law enforcement and economics together, you will see headlines like “Man kills wife, and 5 children over job troubles” or “economic recession breeding more bank robbers” (Policeone.com). The economy is the reason policing is put on the spot.
Even after police officers take the oath to protect us, the danger is still being put onto others. As a country, street crimes cost the United States $690 billion to $3.41 trillion a year (forbes.com). In the United States 2.3 million people are behind bars (Wikipedia.com). The United States also locks up more people than any other country. On average taxpayers pay anywhere from $31,000 to $60,000 per inmate. That includes the cost of feeding, housing and keeping them secure in this state and federal penitentiaries (marketplace.org).
If taxpayers want a safer country they have to pay the price, which is in high relation to the economic standpoint. What needs to be determined is if this benefits the country enough. We blame policing for parts of the economic problems. Citizens argue that it costs too much then say police aren’t doing enough. But, we also have to realize who commits the crimes in our country. This could be something Americans can decrease, as a country we need to work on the best policy.
The Black Market also relates to policing in the economy. Law Officers are the individuals who crack down on these crimes. The Black Market, also known as the underground economy, or shadow economy is a clandestine market, a transaction that has some aspect of illegality or is characterized by some form of noncompliant behavior with an institutional set of rules. Most of the Black Market crimes relating to law enforcement would be narcotics and illegal weapons (investopedia.com).
The FBI in October of 2013 shut down the “Silk Road” which was a darknet market, which was used for selling illegal drugs. There were other attempts later after this illegal website was closed. Law enforcement officers were able to continue to shut down the new cities before they gained too many sales. The taxpayers are paying law enforcement salaries while they work long hours solving crimes. But as a result, the country obtained a lower number of illegal drug websites (coincentral.com). Theses officer use taxpayer dollars to help fight these horrible crimes and addictions.
In the United States, on average, 64 law enforcement officers die in the line of duty each year and this affects our economy in many ways. For example, we know unemployment affects the economy drastically, but jobs that need to be filled also impacts how well the economy grows. If 64 officers minimum dies across the country that is 64 job opening that the departments need to fill. If these jobs are left open there is a decrease in staff which leads to longer days and more overtime money spent. On the other side there are many unemployed individuals, to be exact there is 7.4 million as of November 2016 according to Wikipedia. Also, some law enforcement officer could have left their family with little or no money.
This creates a problem for the family if the officer benefits were not enough. There are taxpayer dollars that contribute to these families. Tragic events in law enforcement officers lives can relate to how the economy goes, just as someone without a job needs food stamps. But even without an officer injured or killed, budgets can affect these individuals. Due to budget cuts, law enforcement officers can be laid off. This would cause an increase in unemployment (businessinsider.com). This says a majority of individual use taxpayer dollars without even knowing.
As these officers meet the age of retirement it often impacts the economy as well. Many individuals could have retired under CSRS in the past, which is the Civil Service Retirement System, at a minimum age of 50 with 20 years of service. Now under FERS, the Federal Employee Retirement System, individuals can only retire after completing 25 years of service. When FERS was created in 1987, employees had an option to stay with CSRS or a move to FERS. Those who stayed with CSRS can still obtain those benefits, but as of today, there is no option for CSRS anymore. These plans CSRS and FERS are available for are federal employees.
Other law enforcement officers on the local and state police, the requirements for them in correlation to years of service are almost identical (thebalancecareer.com). These individuals usually receive a pension. A pension is a sum of money added during an employee’s employment year, and after retirement, little payments are sent to them (Wikipedia.com). Pensions are more common in standard law enforcement retirements. According to the New York Times, in 2009 the average pension was $58,563 (nytimes.com). Another way on how the economy is related to economics in the United States.
The continuous discussion on whether the crime is related to our economy is an important topic. Law enforcement does create a domino effect in the economy. This occurs due to the fact that law enforcement officers are completing their job duties by protecting and taking dangerous individuals off the street to create a country that is well rounded. But what happens is law enforcement officers put them in prison as stated earlier, but then taxpayers pay the price.
As a country, the economy is surrounded by law enforcement. Their salaries, benefits and job duties cost the country money and that money has to come from taxpayer dollars or government and city funds. This makes law enforcement a primary topic because they seem to receive a lot of taxpayer’s dollars and use a large portion of money and resources from the government. Therefore, economics relates to many topics and law enforcement is definitely a part of a large percentage of our economy.