What is a Law Enforcement structure?
When editing Law Enforcement structures, you may occasionally come across a county jail with the symbol of a Law Enforcement structure. If you encounter any of these points, you can either skip or delete them. This is because these are not structures we are actively collecting. Check out this Q&A for more on how to handle county jails.
Sometimes the sheriff’s primary office is housed in the same building as the county jail. If the sheriff’s office is in the same building as the jail and dispatches into the community, then this is a point that we would collect as a Law Enforcement structure. However, if the sheriff’s only purpose in the building is jail security (i.e., it does not dispatch officers into the community), then this is considered part of the county jail and therefore is not a point we are collecting.
Similarly, be aware of bailiffs. You may come across law enforcement points that are close to (or located at) county courthouses. When reviewing these points, make sure to determine whether officers at these locations dispatch into the greater community or if their primary role is to assist the courts. If that location’s only duty is to assist the courts, then it is considered a bailiff. Since we are not collecting bailiffs at this time, please use the Comments field to document your findings and delete these points.
Our Q&A community includes several entries for Law Enforcement structures, including entries about School Police, County Jails, Community Oriented Police Houses, Constables and Peace Officers, and Park Police.
Where can I find authoritative lists of Law Enforcement structures?
There are no authoritative lists of Law Enforcement structures.
County and city websites are the best sources for this information and typically have a separate page for law enforcement offices within their boundaries. Law enforcement offices in smaller and/or rural communities may have their own Facebook page in place of a website. Page 6 of our July 2017 Newsletter contains an infographic on properly using Facebook as an authoritative source.
Check out our Authoritative Sources List for more on the types of sources that are acceptable.
Where do I place a Law Enforcement structure?
Most Law Enforcement structures have one building. If this is the case, place the point at the center of the building. If the law enforcement office operates out of the same building as a City Hall / Town Hall and/or Fire Department, space the points out on the building so that they are not overlapping.
For more information on how to identify a Law Enforcement structure, check out the “Aerial Photo Interpretation Part 7: Law Enforcement” article in our September 2018 Newsletter.
How should I name Law Enforcement structures?
County sheriff's offices should be named like this: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Police departments for smaller cities generally have only one office which should be named like this: Lakewood Police Department; but larger cities may have Precinct or Division offices which would be named like this: Denver Police Department District 1 Station.
Check out our Name and Address Formatting guide for more on how to properly name Law Enforcement structures.