Law Enforcement Officer Law & Legal Definition


A law enforcement officer is a government employee who is responsible for the prevention, investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws, including an employee engaged in this activity who is transferred to a supervisory or administrative position; or serving as a probation or pretrial services officer.

Federal law enforcement agents have duties similar to those of local police officers. These agents enforce the law, investigate crimes, preserve evidence, write reports for government prosecutors, apprehend fugitives, and testify in court. However, federal agents deal with specialized types of federal crimes throughout the United States.

The following is an example of a state statute dealing with impersonating an officer:

18-5-113. Criminal impersonation.

(1) A person commits criminal impersonation if he knowingly assumes a false or fictitious identity or capacity, and in such identity or capacity he:

  1. Marries, or pretends to marry, or to sustain the marriage relation toward another without the connivance of the latter; or
  2. Becomes bail or surety for a party in an action or proceeding, civil or criminal, before a court or officer authorized to take the bail or surety; or
  3. Confesses a judgment, or subscribes, verifies, publishes, acknowledges, or proves a written instrument which by law may be recorded, with the intent that the same may be delivered as true; or
  4. Does an act which if done by the person falsely impersonated, might subject such person to an action or special proceeding, civil or criminal, or to liability, charge, forfeiture, or penalty; or
  5. Does any other act with intent to unlawfully gain a benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another.

(2) Criminal impersonation is a class 6 felony.