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Public Safety

Structure

The industry can be divided into two primary segments: government agencies and commercial agencies. By far, the greatest number of people in emergency and protective services are working at the local level of the government. Almost every community has its own police department. In the smallest communities, a police department may have as few as one or two employees. In larger cities, the members of a police department are divided into many divisions, each with its own area of the city to patrol. A police force may have specialized divisions, such as a narcotics squad to combat illegal drugs; a vice squad to fight rape, prostitution, and related crimes; a SWAT team that can be called upon in emergency situations; a hostage rescue team; and a bomb squad. Most police departments employ a military-style ranking system. Patrol officers may become detectives. Police officers may rise through the ranks to become sergeants, lieutenants, or even the chief of police for a community. Many other people provide support for a police department, from traffic clerks and police clerks to forensic experts and polygraph examiners.

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