The Census of Federal Law Enforcement Officers 2008, published by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics in June 2012, shows that of the 120,000 full-time law enforcement officers who are authorized to make arrests and carry firearms as federal employees, 3,501 are in the Offices of Inspectors General (OIG).

Overall, “the number of federal officers in the United States increased by 15,000, or 14 percent, between 2004 and 2008,” the report states, adding that “33 of the 69 statutory federal IG offices employed criminal investigators with arrest and firearm authority in 2008. Overall, these offices employed 3,501 such personnel in the United States in 2008, 12% more than in 2004. IG offices investigate criminal violations. They also prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse related to federal programs, oprations and employees.”

In Table 3 of the report, the number of “full-time personnel with arrest and firearm authority” as of September 2008 is broken down by agency, with the U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General having the most with 508 armed officers. (Report is here: Federal Law Enforcement Officers, 2008.pdf )

Health and Human Services’ OIG is second with 389 – 44 more than the Department of Defense, which has a total of 345 armed officers.

The Department of Treasury is ranked fourth with 302, while the Social Security Administration is fifth (272) followed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (228).

The OIG at the Department of Homeland Security is 9th, with 157 workers who can pack guns and arrest people through its Office of Inspector General.

Others making the list are the Department of Education (85), the Environmental Protection Agency (40) the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (16), and the National Science Foundation (6).

The Library of Congress is the last on the list of OIGs employing two (2) full-time employees who have the authority to carry a firearm and make arrests.

Overall, of the approximately 120,000 full-time law enforcement officers, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice employ the most workers with authority to carry guns and make arrests , according to the report.

As of September 2008, the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection had the most armed officers with 36,863. The Bureau of Land Management, part of the Department of Interior, had the least at 255. (Report is here: Federal Law Enforcement Officers, 2008.pdf )

Figure 1 in the report shows that the majority of the federal officers working in the United States, or 37.3 percent, are involved in criminal investigation work. “Police response and patrol” represents 23.4 percent; inspections, 15.3 percent; corrections and detention, 14.2 percent; security and protection, 5.1 percent; and court operations represents 4.7 percent.

The Census Bureau includes full-time officers who are authorized but not necessarily required to carry firearms while on duty. The statistics in the DOJ report are only for officers in the United States and do not include military personnel, or classified employees with the Central Intelligence Agency and the Transportation Security Administration’s Federal Air Marshals.

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