Law enforcement describes the agencies and employees responsible for enforcing laws, maintaining public order, and managing public safety. The primary duties of law enforcement include the investigation, apprehension, and detention of individuals suspected of criminal offenses. Some law enforcement agencies, particularly sheriffs' offices, also have a significant role in the detention of individuals convicted of criminal offenses.
BJS maintains several national data collections covering federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and special topics in law enforcement. Data are typically collected directly from law enforcement and related agencies, including crime laboratories, police departments, sheriffs' offices, and training academies. The most recent tool to access incident-based data on crimes recorded by law enforcement is the Law Enforcement Agency Reported Crime Analysis Tool (LEARCAT).
Most data collections are conducted every 2 to 4 years and report aggregate findings. From these collections, BJS publishes national estimates for personnel, equipment, operations, policies, budgets, and job functions across agencies.