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Law enforcement Agencies

There are approximately 900 local law enforcement agencies in Ohio. Local law enforcement agencies include:

  • Municipal police departments. Municipal police are law enforcement agencies under the control of local government. The police department is composed of a chief and other officers and employees. Their responsibilities include preserving the peace, protecting persons and property, and obeying and enforcing criminal laws of the state and local ordinances.

  • Sheriff's offices. There are 88 county sheriff's offices in Ohio. Sheriffs are the chief law enforcement officer in the county, and their responsibilities are extensive. Not only do they provide full police protection to unincorporated areas of the county, they are also required to provide common pleas court services (e.g., court security, service of papers) and corrections (e.g., jail operations, extradition, transport of prisoners) on a countywide basis. For more information about the hiring process and requirements, contact information can be found here.

State law enforcement agencies include:

  • Ohio State Highway Patrol. The Ohio State Highway Patrol, established in 1933, is an internationally accredited agency whose mission is to protect life and property, promote traffic safety and provide professional public safety services with respect, compassion, and unbiased professionalism. The Patrol provides statewide traffic services in all 88 counties of Ohio to keep our roadways safe, statewide emergency response services and support services to the public and the criminal justice community, investigation of criminal activities on state-owned and leased property throughout Ohio, and security for the Governor and other dignitaries.

    Although personnel strength varies, the Patrol historically maintains a uniformed complement of about 1,600 officers. In addition, about 1,000 support personnel, including load limit inspectors, motor vehicle inspectors, motor carrier enforcement inspectors, dispatchers, electronics technicians, and civilian specialists complete the Patrol's personnel strength.

    From the ranks of our field troopers we train and maintain a number of officers in specialized law enforcement positions. Among these are: plainclothes investigators; traffic and drug interdiction teams and canine officers; commercial enforcement coordinators, inspectors, and crash reconstructionist. The Patrol also maintains a special response team, comprised of field troopers who are specially trained in weapons and chemical agent use, extraction techniques, and rapid response methods.

    Patrol operations are conducted almost exclusively from automobiles. However, the Patrol also utilizes SUVs, fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters in the course of its duties. A fully equipped command vehicle, which can operate as a mobile patrol post, is maintained in a constant state of readiness to respond to natural disasters, civil unrest, and other emergencies requiring extended Patrol presence.

    If you are interested in learning more about the Ohio State Highway Patrol, or interested in employment opportunities visit their website.
  • Ohio Investigative Unit. OIU agents are fully sworn plainclothes peace officers responsible for enforcing Ohio's alcohol, tobacco, and food stamp fraud laws. They are a component of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. For information about OIU, visit their website.

  • Bureau of Criminal Investigation. BCI is the state's official crime lab serving the criminal justice community and protecting Ohio families. They provide expert criminal investigative services to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Information about BCI can be found on their website.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is committed to its mission “To ensure a balance between wise use & protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all.” Our agency embraces the insightful use of our natural resources to assure the continued safety, happiness & prosperity of Ohio’s people.

ODNR owns & manages state parks, state forests, state nature preserves & wildlife areas. We license all hunting, fishing, and watercraft; oversee & permit all mineral extraction, monitor dam safety, manage water resources & serve as the second largest Law Enforcement presence in the State of Ohio, mostly Natural Resources Officers and Wildlife Officers.

Natural Resources Officers are commissioned peace officers employed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Parks and Watercraft Division.

  • Law Enforcement and Public Service: Patrol and enforce laws on all waters of the state as well as state park, state forest, scenic river, and natural areas and preserve properties to keep visitors safe and to preserve Ohio's natural resources for future generations.

  • Education and Public Relations: Represent ODNR to the public as well as recreational and conservation groups. Teach in formal and casual settings. Provide media interviews promoting an array of educational information regarding boating safety and natural resources conservation. Instruct other state, county, and municipal agencies in maritime law enforcement.

  • Emergency Response: Support emergency operations and other agencies during flooding, natural disasters, search and rescue operations, and recovery situations.

Natural Resources Officers take pride in being law enforcement officers with a focus on customer service and support. The job of a Natural Resources Officer is very diverse in that an officer could be patrolling a waterway, state park, state forest, or state nature preserve by cruiser, boat, bicycle, foot, all-terrain vehicle, or utility vehicle. Natural Resources Officers also have opportunity to specialize skills and training in areas such as marine patrol operations, search and rescue, and canine handler. For more information about becoming an Ohio Natural Resources Officer cadet, click here.

Wildlife officers are commissioned state law enforcement officers employed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

  • Law Enforcement: Wildlife officers enforce the Ohio Revised Code and Administrative Code relative to wildlife resources, property owned or administered by the Division of Wildlife and Ohio Department of Natural Resources, stream pollution and littering, and all other areas of responsibility of the Division of Wildlife. They patrol thousands of acres of lands, Lake Erie, and miles of inland streams and lakes. They also serve a very important role as a point of contact with law enforcement and other agencies on topics of mutual interest and provide aid due to their skills, training, specialized equipment, and local knowledge of the areas in which they work.

  • Wildlife Conservation: Wildlife officers have a working knowledge of current fish and wildlife management projects and provide technical expertise for a range of situations. They often work directly with fish and wildlife biologists on a variety of projects and collect information by surveys and specimens.

  • Public Service: Wildlife officers are often the face of the division and are well known in their communities. They frequently speak at public functions and keep people informed of current wildlife activities and programs. They work together with Division of Wildlife communications specialists and education staff.


Wildlife and natural resources management requires effective enforcement of laws and regulations. This enforcement responsibility is given to Ohio’s wildlife officers who are assigned to each of Ohio's 88 counties. Their duties are to protect the wildlife resource, ensure fair and equitable use, protect state property, and enforce other statues such as litter, pollution, and firearms regulations. Wildlife law enforcement is a unique area of law enforcement that blends criminal justice and law enforcement duties with wildlife conservation and education. For more information about becoming an Ohio Wildlife Officer, click here.

Federal law enforcement agencies

Federal law enforcement agencies include:

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation – is an intelligence-driven and threat focused national security organization with both intelligence and law enforcement responsibilities. Employing over 35,000 people in a wide range of positions, 56 field offices located within major cities throughout the U.S., and 60 international offices within U.S. embassies worldwide.

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection – is the largest federal law enforcement agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security and is the county's primary border control organization. With more than 60,000 employees, it is charged with keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S. while facilitating lawful international travel and trade.

  • United States Secret Service – Special agents are tasked with protecting top U.S. and visiting foreign officials, and investigating financial crimes.

  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - is a law enforcement agency in the United States' Department of Justice that protects communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.

  • U.S. Marshals Service – was the first federal law enforcement agency in the United States. It serves as the enforcement arm of the federal courts and duties include protecting the federal judiciary, apprehending federal fugitives, managing and selling seized assets acquired by criminals through illegal activities, housing and transporting federal prisoners and operating the Witness Security Program.

Specialized law enforcement agencies

Specialized law enforcement agencies include:

  • Campus police departments – its origin is similar to that of other police agencies, with a history spanning over 100 years. If a campus police department is sworn, it has the same arresting powers as any municipal police department, within their jurisdictions. For more information about campus policing, please visit the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators website.

  • Metro parks police departments – typically a law enforcement branch of a local Metro park. Primary objectives include providing a safe and accessible environment for the park district's visitors and officers tend to be state certified peace officers who exercise full policing powers in the commission of their duties.

  • Transit authority police departments – are a specialized police agency or unit that is employed by a transit district, railroad, bus line or other transport carriers, or by the state. Their overall mission is to prevent and investigate crime committed against the carrier, passengers, or crimes committed on the carrier's property.

  • Metropolitan Housing Authority – are governmental organizations responsible for the ownership and management of low-income housing in various counties and cities in Ohio. State-certified police departments and officers are charged with keeping residents and these properties safe.