Think Fast! The Law Enforcement Quiz



By: Geoff Hoppe

6 Min Quiz

Image: adamkaz/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

You may think you know law enforcement. You may have seen all the Die Hard movies. You've got entire seasons of Law and Order memorized. You even know how to spell "K-9" properly ("canine," by the way). But how well do you really know the people who protect and serve our communities? You might be surprised by the range and diversity of the people in law enforcement, and the types of agencies and groups who protect us. Sure, you know about city, county and state police forces, but did you know that there are police forces for national parks? Or for specific monuments and pieces of infrastructure? How about law enforcement officers who tackle only transportation crimes?

Law enforcement is a wide-ranging field, with people, places and tasks that might surprise you. While mainstream media attention tends to focus more on rare and sensationalistic incidents, there's a great deal about law enforcement that goes on under most peoples' radar. If you think you're ready to challenge yourself with the real information on what police, detectives and SWAT officers do, dive into this quiz and see just how much you really know!

This federal law enforcement agency was originally conceived as a national border patrol.

When the Federal Bureau of Investigation was founded in 1908, it was seen as an inter-state border patrol. Initially called the Bureau of Investigation, it would be 1935 before the "Federal" was added.


What American city established the country's first full-time police force?

New York established the first modern, full-time police force in 1845. New York modeled its police after London, England's law enforcement officers.


What new state formed a law enforcement agency in 1835 to protect new settlers from Indian attacks?

The Texas state legislature formally created the Texas Rangers in 1835. Through the late 1830s, the Texas Rangers would greatly lessen the reach and violence of Comanche raids on settlers.


The badge of this state's State Troopers features a bear at the top, a sailboat in a bay and a sunrise over a mountain.

The official badge of the Alaska State Police features a golden bear at the top, and an image representative of Alaska in the middle. There are about 300 Alaska State Troopers currently.


Which American city, of at least 25,000 people, has the highest number of police officers per 10,000 citizens?

Atlantic City has the highest number of police officers per capita, with almost 71 officers per 10,000 civilians. Atlantic City's current population is about 38,000 people.


This well-known director of the FBI expanded, professionalized, and modernized the Bureau...

J. Edgar Hoover, FBI director from 1924 to 1972, was responsible for modernizing the Bureau. Among his changes, Hoover founded a scientific crime lab, a forerunner of today's CSIs.


What is the number of local police departments in the United States?

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are about 12,000 local police departments in the U.S. That figure is based on data collected between 1992 and 2008.


Which American state has the most police officers?

California has the most police officers of any state in America. New York is the state with the second highest number of police officers.


What brand of handgun is most used by police in America?

Glocks are the most popular brand of handgun with American police departments. The Glock 22 is regarded as the most popular model among cops.


Which city has the highest murder rate in America?

St. Louis currently has the highest homicide rate among American cities, according to FBI data. Baltimore, Maryland, has the second highest total.


According to FBI data, how many police officers were feloniously killed during the year by mid-December, 2018?

According to FBI statistics, 53 police officers had been killed feloniously by December 18, 2018. That's ten more than at the same time in 2017.


What crime, called "modern-day slavery," entails using force, fraud or coercion to illegally use another human for some form of gain?

Human trafficking "involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some kind of labor or commercial sex act," according to the Department of Homeland Security. Fairfax County, VA, was one of the first police departments in America to have a task force specifically assigned to human trafficking.


What city's police force employed a ventriloquist's dummy named Brendan O'Smarty?

San Francisco cop Bob Geary's "partner" was his dummy named Brendan O'Smarty. Officers Geary and O'Smarty both retired in 2000.


What was the first year "911" was used as an emergency number in the U.S.?

911 was first used as an emergency number in 1968. The first town to officially use 911 was Haleyville, Alabama.


Which popular tourist landmark once had its own police force?

The Hoover Dam actually had its own police department until 2017. The National Park Service now patrols the area.


This is the word for the area, or activities, over which a police officer has control.

Jurisdiction is the word for the area, activities or laws for which a law enforcement official is responsible. In some states, there are laws that allow a police officer to make arrests outside their geographic jurisdiction in case of emergency.


Which of the following numbers is closest to the current number of sworn law enforcement officers in the United States?

The United States currently has around 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers. Roughly .002% of the American population is police officers.


Which American Indian law enforcement agency deals with paranormal incidents, among other crimes?

The Navajo Rangers are tasked, among other crimes, with responding to claims that entail paranormal occurrences. These range from hauntings to coins suddenly appearing out of midair.


Which of the following is a difference between police departments and sheriff's departments?

While not all sheriffs are elected, far more sheriffs are elected than police chiefs, who often get their jobs by appointment. Another frequent difference is that a sheriff's jurisdiction is more often county-level than a police officer's.


Which city's police force insignia features a covered wagon and team of oxen?

Leavenworth, Kansas' police insignia features a covered wagon and a pioneer homestead. It also features the sun rising over the landscape in the background.


Which law enforcement agency raided the home of Gov. Rod Blagojevich in December, 2008?

The FBI raided Rod Blagojevich's home, and arrested him, in December 2008. Blagojevich was charged with multiple crimes, including fraud, and trying to sell Barack Obama's recently vacated Senate seat.


What word do police use for a plan to catch a wrongdoer?

A dragnet is a thought-out attempt to apprehend a criminal. The word originates with the net used by fishers to trawl for fish.


What is the name for the study of crime?

Criminology is the study of crime. Criminology is a broad discipline that looks at crime from multiple angles.


Which Newman, Californian police officer's murder by an illegal immigrant in early 2019 led to renewed calls for improved border security?

Officer Ronil Singh was killed by an illegal immigrant at a routine traffic stop on Dec. 26, 2018. His suspected killer, suspected gang member Gustavo Arriaga, was arrested days later.


A fatal 2016 attack on police officers from which city resulted in a 344% uptick in applications to that same police department?

In July of 2016, Micah Johnson killed five Dallas police officers in cold blood. After Dallas Chief of Police David Brown called for people to join the police in response, the Dallas PD saw roughly 40 applications a day come in over the next week and a half.


Between 2013 and 2016, the number of sworn police officers in America dropped by this number...

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were 23,000 fewer police officers in America in 2016 than 2013. That brings the BJS's count of sworn police officers down to about 701,000.


For over a century, Secret Service agents were part of what federal body?

Secret Service agents are actually employees of the Department of the Treasury. While they're best known for protecting the president, they were founded to combat counterfeiting.


What department was the Secret Service transferred to in 2003?

In 2003, the Secret Service switched from their prior department, to Homeland Security. Secret Service agents at the New York office were some of the first people to help evacuees and survivors after the 9/11 attacks.


A study by Deloitte and Collective Learning found that what percentage of police officers surveyed were women?

According to the survey, 13.3% of police officers are women. The raw number was 98,738 women in total.


What percentage of police officers are black, according to a survey by Deloitte and Collective Learning?

13% of police officers are black, according to the Deloitte/Collective Learning study. The largest racial group is white, at 79%, and the third largest group is people whose backgrounds include two or more races.


According to data from 2010, what percentage of police officers have a bachelor's degree?

According to 2010 data, 48% of police officers have a bachelor's degree. Some police departments will offer several thousand dollars more to an officer if they have a B.A. or B.S.


What sort of unusual vehicle is used by the Somerset, Kentucky, police department, to patrol its jurisdiction?

The Somerset, KY police office owns an M-24 Orion gyrocopter. The gyrocopter gives Somerset police a valuable vantage point, especially in searching remote parts of the rural, mountainous terrain.


Which of the following is used by police as a non-lethal shotgun round?

Some police departments also use beanbag rounds in shotguns, as a non-lethal weapon. Beanbag rounds can be fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, and are lighter than many other non-lethal projectiles.


Which real-life lawman was portrayed by Kevin Costner in a 1987 movie?

Eliot Ness was a real-life Treasury Department agent during the Prohibition era. After Ness's team, the Untouchables, helped take down Al Capone, he was a reformer in Cleveland's police department.


What dog breed is most often associated with K-9 police units?

German shepherds are frequently used by police departments. Other popular breeds include Belgian Malinois, Labrador retrievers, and golden retrievers.


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