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"In the Criminal Justice System the people are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups. The police who investigate crime and the District Attorneys who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories."  Opening of the long-running TV series, Law & Order

Law enforcement broadly refers to any system by which some members of society act in an organized manner to enforce the law by discovering and punishing persons who violate the rules and norms governing that society. Although the term may encompass entities such as courts and prisons, it is most frequently applied to those who directly engage in patrols or surveillance to dissuade and discover criminal activity, and those who investigate crimes and apprehend offenders. ~Wikipedia

Note: Topics in law enforcement in schools of criminal justice are more general and academic than the approach in a police academy. If you are looking for courses and learning resources dealing directly with police work and careers, see Law Enforcement in the Public Service topifs.

Overview of Law Enforcement  

Courses are organized studies that include at least a free online textbook and a study guide. Many include exams, quizzes, instructional videos and other helpful learning resources. They are suitable for both self-learning and formal instruction.

Policing Operations A short course. The main reading assignments are available for your use, but the study guide is still under development

A Brief History: The Evolution of Law and Our Criminal Justice System A short course. The main reading assignments are available for your use, but the study guide is still under development

These are contemporary textbooks that appear online, free of charge but with an undetermined number of pages missing. They are selected for their relevance and quality.



Addressing Community Gang Problems
An e-book

These are complete chapters from leading textbooks. Skilled lifelong learners can use one or a combination of several sample chapters as the foundation for a complete study program.


PDF files require the Acrobat PDF viewer plug-in
Enforcing the Law: Practice and Research  

Topics included in these free online learning resources are roughly equivalent to one- or two-semester courses in a traditional school environment.







Police and Detectives

Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who sometimes are called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes. Law enforcement officers’ duties depend on the size and type of their organizations.

Entry-Level Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Career Advisory: Police and Detectives

Recommended Free-Ed.Net Career Preparation Programs

  1. Those who have no high school diploma should begin with the GED Prep & Beyond program.
  2. Those who already have a high school diploma or GED can benefit the following courses:
Common Core Studies
Basic Computer & Internet Skills
Overview of Civil and Criminal Law

Private Detectives and Investigators

Private detectives and investigators find facts and analyze information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They offer many services, including verifying people's backgrounds, tracing missing persons, investigating computer crimes, and protecting celebrities.   

Entry-Level Education: Some college, no degree

Career Advisory: Private Detectives and Investigators


David L. Heiserman, Editor

Copyright ©  SweetHaven Publishing Services
All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015