police force


Definition of police force 

: a body of trained officers entrusted by a government with maintenance of public peace and order, enforcement of laws, and prevention and detection of crime

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Synonyms for police force


constabulary, force, heat [slang], police

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Examples of police force in a Sentence

He joined the local police force. mobilized practically the entire police force to track down the escaped criminal

Recent Examples on the Web

Many of the techniques Grant honed through his research are still used—while his research and his individual projects with police forces hasn’t stopped. Chris Stokel-walker, The Atlantic, "The Linguist Who Helps Police Catch Child Predators," 10 July 2018 The outside temperature was about 90 degrees, and police forced entry into the vehicle to remove the dog. Shawn R. Beals, Courant Community, "Manchester Police Make Two Animal Cruelty Arrests," 5 July 2018 The altercation with Rollins is not the first time Stabile has landed in trouble over allegations of using excessive police force. Jay Weaver, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hollywood cop accused of brutalizing suspect," 5 July 2018 Several public universities in the city, including the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the University of Baltimore, Morgan State University and Coppin State University, maintain police forces. Lauren Lumpkin, baltimoresun.com, "Johns Hopkins University says controversial security team has been on campus for years," 30 June 2018 Their escapades were frustrating police forces from Indiana to the East Coast. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "'Kill-Crazy' Brady gang tried to out-gangster John Dillinger," 29 June 2018 More than 19,000 people have signed a Change.org petition urging the East Pittsburgh police force to require the use of body cameras. Crimesider Staff, CBS News, "Antwon Rose shooting: Funeral mourners honor black teen killed by police," 25 June 2018 Despite edicts from above and earnest efforts from within police forces, uniting cops and communities in a deep and lasting way remains a theory rather than a practice. Ben Austen, The New Republic, "How one American city chose to tackle crime, combat racism, and reckon with the legacy of police brutality," 21 June 2018 The scenes of police forcing thousands of migrant workers to leave Beijing last winter might prove to have been a preview. The Economist, "China is trying to turn itself into a country of 19 super-regions," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'police force.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of police force

1820, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for police force

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for police force

The first known use of police force was in 1820

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More Definitions for police force

police force


English Language Learners Definition of police force

: the police organization in a particular area

police force


Legal Definition of police force 

: a body of trained officers entrusted by a government with maintenance of public peace and order, enforcement of laws, and prevention and detection of crime

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More from Merriam-Webster on police force

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for police force

Spanish Central: Translation of police force

Britannica English: Translation of police force for Arabic Speakers

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