Can You Answer All of These Questions About Law Enforcement?


By: Alex Wittman

6 Min Quiz

Image: Mario Gutiérrez/Moment/GettyImages

About This Quiz

It's difficult (OK, impossible) to imagine a world without law enforcement officers. Heck, it's even tough to picture TV without them! From shows like "Cops" and "Law & Order" to programs like "Hawaii Five-0" and "CSI," there's no arguing that people enjoy the drama of law enforcement work. Can you name a more iconic duo that "SVU'"s Benson and Stabler? We'll wait. But how does TV stack up to the realities of the job?

Think you know a thing or two about crime statistics and police work? You got a ticket for jaywalking once, so now, you're an expert? Maybe you've worked in law enforcement! Let's find out just how much you know about the history of policing and law enforcement agencies around the world. You don't need probable cause to take this quiz, but it will sure help if you know what that means. Along the way, you'll learn fascinating facts about past and present law enforcement. You might just have a knack for this, kid!

So, what are you waiting for? Take this quiz and see how much you know about law enforcement! Police must use their wits to catch bad guys, and you'll need to do the same to answer all these questions. 

In what year did the first modern police officers begin operating?

Law enforcement agencies have roots dating back to the 13th century, but the world saw this formalized in 1829.


Which country is home to the Royal Mounted Police?

With the exception of Quebec and Ontario, the Royal Mounted Police serve all of Canada. Despite their nickname, the "Mounties" no longer use horses as their primary form of transportation. Today, Canada's police force mostly uses horses for ceremonial events.


In the United States, which state had the first female sheriff?

In 1920, the city of Pittsboro, North Carolina, elected Myrtle Siler as the country's first female sheriff. Just a few years prior, the Los Angeles Police Department welcomed the first African-American policewoman in the U.S. Georgia Ann Robinson started as a volunteer with the force in 1916.


Which famous basketball player has served as a reserve police officer?

After joining the Miami Heat, Shaquille O'Neal underwent training to become a Miami Beach reserve officer. Since retiring from the NBA, O'Neal has served as part of the Clayton County Sheriff's Department in Georgia as a deputy. He has expressed interest in running for sheriff in the future.


Approximately how many law enforcement officers are currently serving in the United States?

Currently, there are approximately 900,000 law enforcement officers in the United States. These law enforcement officers work in some 18,000 agencies across the country. To date, this is the greatest number of officers ever employed at once.


In England, what are police officers often called?

In England, police officers are known as "bobbies." This nickname is derived from the father of the modern police force: Sir Robert Peel. Not only did Peel found the country's police force, but he also twice served as England's prime minister.


About what percentage of law enforcement officers in the United States are women?

Of the approximately 900,000 law enforcement officers currently serving in the United State, about 12 percent are women. Marie Owens is credited as being the first female police officer in the U.S. She served the city of Chicago starting in 1890.


What is the minimum age for police officer applicants?

One of the most basic requirements to become a police officer is that applicants must be at least 21 years old. Other requirements include having a high school diploma or GED, passing a drug test and having no felony convictions.


Which of the following evaluations do police officer applicants NOT need to pass?

In order to be considered for police work, applicants must pass a background investigation, psychological screening and medical exam. Applicants must also pass a drug test. The standards to become a police officer are certainly high but still attainable.


In North America, which of the following is NOT a common police vehicle?

In general, car companies customize civilian cars for police use. Modifications include high-horsepower engines for high-speed chases. While the Fiat isn't used in North America, it's a popular choice in Europe for Italian police officers who often need to navigate narrow streets.


During police academy training, which weapon are recruits required to test on themselves?

While training to become police officers, recruits must be on the receiving end of pepper spray. This physically and mentally demanding exercise is to prepare recruits to carry the nonlethal weapon on their duty belts as police officers.


In the 1880s, which country began developing the practice of police sketching?

French criminologist Alphonse Bertillon began keeping detailed notes about criminals passing through the Paris police station. He described their physical characteristics down to arm lengths, scars and ear formations. The system of observations he developed evolved into modern-day criminal anthropometry. Police sketching is one important component of this branch of forensics science.


According to American law, what do police need to make an arrest?

According to the Fourth Amendment, police in the United States must have probable cause that a person committed a crime prior to arresting them. Police also need probable cause to conduct a search or receive a warrant from a judge.


In which Asian country do police officers use nets and paintballs to catch fleeing criminals?

In Japan, police officers sometimes fire bright orange paintballs at a suspected criminal's vehicle to mark it for pursuit. They also use nets and road traps to catch suspects.


What typical law enforcement tool do 90 percent of London police officers NOT carry?

The overwhelming majority of London police officers perform their daily duties and serve the city without firearms. The police department believes in "policing by consent" rather than by force. Instead of firearms, London police officers use nonlethal weapons, like pepper spray and tasers.


Approximately how many law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty?

In 1791, the United States had its first law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty. Since then, more than 21,000 officers have died while on the job. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial displays the names of these fallen officers on its walls.


Which American city has recorded the most police deaths?

As of 2017, New York City has lost 833 law enforcement officers in the line of duty. On September 11, 2001, 72 officers died while serving their city in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.


About how much of a police officer's time is spent enforcing criminal law?

Even though television dramas make it seem like police officers are constantly fighting crime, they actually only spend about 33 percent of their time enforcing laws. Officers spend a significant amount of time peacekeeping and problem solving.


Law enforcement is just one of how many major components of the criminal justice system in the United States?

In the United States , the criminal justice system consists of three major components. In addition to law enforcement, courts, and corrections work together to keep the criminal justice system running.


Which of the following is the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the United States?

Originally named the Office of the United States Marshal, the United States Marshals Service (USMS) dates back to the days of President George Washington. It serves as the enforcement agency for the federal courts. It's known for its fugitive operations and oversight of the Federal Witness Protection Program.


The passage of what act increased federal investigate powers for law enforcement agencies?

In October 2001, President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act into law following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It granted law enforcement agencies, like the FBI, new powers in the name of national security.


Formed in 1870, which federal executive department of the U.S. government is responsible for the majority of federal law enforcement duties?

At the federal level, the Department of Justice oversees law enforcement. Agencies within the Department of Justice include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.


Who served as the first FBI Director?

First working for the Bureau of Investigation, which preceded the FBI, Hoover led the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1924 until his death in 1972. He's credited with spearheading the creation of the FBI Laboratory and helping to streamline federal investigations.


In Texas, what is the name of the state investigative law enforcement agency?

While many states have a statewide law enforcement agency called state police or highway patrol, Texas does things a little differently. Since 1823, when Stephen F. Austin first recognized the need for statewide law enforcement, the Texas Rangers have been investigating crimes, tracking down fugitives and keeping the peace in the Lone Star State.


As it relates to law enforcement, what does the acronym SWAT stand for?

In the United Sates, police departments in large cities like New York and Los Angeles have a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit to call in for extreme circumstances. Some of these extreme circumstances include hostage situations and high-risk searches.


Even without making an arrest, what legal process allows law enforcement officers to confiscate items from a person they suspect of committing a crime?

In the United States, law enforcement officers have the authority to seize assets from any person they suspect of committing a crime. However, the officers doesn't need to make an arrest in order to confiscate property. Common items seized include money, houses and vehicles.


While on duty, what type of firearm do law enforcement officers generally carry for daily use?

Up until a few decades ago, most officers carried revolvers. But events like shootouts prompted law enforcement to invest in semiautomatic pistols as their daily handgun. Popular brands include Glock, Smith & Wesson and Beretta.


In what U.S. city is the National Law Enforcement Museum located?

Located in Judiciary Square in Washington D.C., the National Law Enforcement Museum aims to educate the public about law enforcement by giving civilians an opportunity to "walk in the shoes" of a law enforcement officer. The museum houses more than 20,000 objects related to law enforcement.


What is the list the Federal Bureau of Investigation maintains with the names of its "toughest guys" currently alluding capture?

Since 1950, the FBI has used its Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list to promote the capture of suspected criminals. The names on the list are not ranked in any way. Nearly 1/3 of the more than 500 suspects that have been on the list were caught with the public's help.


Of the following nonlethal weapons, which uses electric shocks to subdue a suspect?

Law enforcement officers use electronic control devices in potentially violent situations that require some type of force. Although there are a variety of brands available, Taser is one of the most popular on the market. A Taser gun sends electric pulses into the body through probes, incapacitating a person's muscles.


What other federal executive department of the U.S. government oversees federal law enforcement duties?

Although the Department of Justice is primarily responsible for ​federal law enforcement duties, the Department of Homeland Security houses several law enforcement agencies as well. Those agencies include U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Transportation Security Administration.


Which U.S. law enforcement agency becomes a part of the Department of Defense during wartime?

Generally under the Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard moves to the Department of Defense in the event of war. It is also considered a branch of the United States Armed Forces.


As part of the Department of Homeland Security, which federal law enforcement agency protects the country's leaders?

In addition to protecting current and former national leaders, the Secret Service also investigates a myriad of financial crimes. Founded in 1865, the original purpose of the agency was to combat counterfeiting of currency.


Which U.S. president served as a deputy sheriff in North Dakota?

Before he became the 26th president of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt was a deputy sheriff in North Dakota. During his time as a deputy sheriff, he famously pursued three criminals across a frozen river and went 40 hours without sleep while transporting them to trial. Later in life, he served as the New York City Police Commissioner.


In what month does America honor its law enforcement officers?

Since 2015, the people of the United States have honored law enforcement officers on Jan. 9. One suggested way to show your support and appreciation is to wear blue clothing.


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