Law enforcement roleplay is one of the most recognizable parts of legal roleplay. The Los Santos Police Department and the San Andreas Sheriff's Department are the two official legal law enforcement factions. Currently, the Los Santos Police Department is the longest standing official legal faction and is the largest with an average of more than 150+ members.
The Los Santos Fire Department provides, as it's namesake suggests, medical and fire service roleplay. It is the second longest standing legal faction.
The Department of Corrections is the backbone of the Los Santos Prison. The newest legal faction, they staff LSP and provide roleplay both to the inmates and other denizens of the prison.
The Los Santos City Government is the governing body of Los Santos and to a degree, San Andreas. It is run by a body of councillors composed of civilians and government agency heads and a Mayor. There are mayoral elections held every three to four months.
The San Andreas News Network is currently the only official legal news factions and provides what would be expected of such an organization: regular news broadcast, a circulated newspaper, and so on.
Legal roleplayers mainly find comfort in the structure, stability, and constant stream of new roleplay that legal roleplay provides.
Commander Michael Houston of the LSPD has been a member of his faction for two years. When asked about what he enjoys about legal roleplay, this is what he had to say:
As is every path of roleplay, from Police Officer to nutritions criminal, they differ hugely and are individually unique, but what makes being a Police Officer an original path is that it's a door to open so many more roleplay opportunities such as a Police Detective, Duty Supervisor or Police Helicopter Pilot - there is something for everyone's personality and specific roleplaying style.
I have, as aforementioned, been actively roleplaying as a Police Officer for over two years, six months and counting and have never found myself in a position where I've become used to law enforcement roleplay or disinterested in it. Be it a high speed vehicle pursuit, to executing an arrest warrant to busily organising duty officers and patrol units is packed with new experiences. You meet new players on a day to day, not only your fellow colleagues but those who you interact with in and around Los Santos, who provide a great roleplaying opportunity.
Not only that, but the Department consists of its own community and hierarchy which enables for an immense level of professionalism from both an Out of Character and In Character prospective, and a sense of being a part of something important and much bigger. Being able to set goals and achievements such as being promoted or joining a specific unit or position ensures the Police Department never grow old, and even when you've achieved those goals, there's always the next rung of the ladder.
Sergeant Elora Hartley of the SASD has been serving the faction for 8 months and she had this to say about her enjoyment of legal roleplay:
The most enjoyable quality about legal roleplay is interaction. I definitely feel that on a daily basis, legal roleplayers interact with alot more people. They are open and can be free with whoever they interact with. From roleplay concerning with the department and it's colleagues to social gatherings, it all is very interesting.
Legal roleplay is incredibly structured and organized. The two law enforcement factions, the Los Santos Police Department and the San Andreas Sheriff's Department, both have more than one hundred members. There's different divisions and units for different facets of law enforcement roleplay (Air Support, Recruitment, S.W.A.T. and so on) and a clearly defined rank structure and hierachy with people above to command and people below to be commanded. With such a high volume of members, organization is a must.
Undersheriff Patsy Vercetti has served the SASD for more than a year and a half explains why he chose legal roleplay:
I wanted to roleplay an ordinary citizen of a town and tried to establish this kind of roleplay as realistic as possible.
My very first faction was the LSPCT (Los Santos Public Company of Transportation), which was a quite hard job in the past. The members got robbed on their taxi fares more and more, where the law enforcement factions came in and did their job. They saved a lot of us and also detained the criminals. At that point I decided to join this kind of faction and so did I in the 1st academy program of the San Andreas Sheriffs Department.
I worked my way up through the department and went from the DSG rank up through all the ranks till the Assistant Sheriff, which is my current rank and part of the SASD High Command.
You only have to be dedicated and eager to reach a goal you have in your eyes, and you will have the possibility to reach everything.
C.I.T. (Command in Training) Staff Sergeant Ziva Seraphim has been in the LSPD for 9 months and explains what she enjoys about legal roleplay:
I for one have fun roleplaying someone similar to who I am in the real world. As for the LSPD in particular, it's a feeling of belonging to something much bigger and the opportunities for roleplay are innumerable. If you want to be a simple uniformed beat cop, you can be. A wary detective who's seen one too many homicides? Go for it. How about a tough as nails drill sergeant? All these options and so many more are open to officers if they're willing to put in the time, effort and dedication required to get there. Never have I seen so much potential for roleplay in any one faction. It's appealing enough to keep me playing for hours.
Legal roleplay also provides stability to roleplayers. Joining one of the many legal factions assures an indefinite stream of roleplay with clear opportunities for advancement and progression. Due to the nature of legal roleplay, most legal factions are permanent fixtures on LS-RP and therefore it's very possible to stick with a legal faction for years.
Fire Commissioner Brett Carnahan of the LSFD has been in his faction for seven months now and he explains why he prefers legal roleplay:
The sense of structure and direction that I guess I didn't think I was likely to find anywhere else at the time. I liked the sound of being a part of a regimented, complex organization and saw myself more comfortable roleplaying around it than, say, a gang. That's not to say that I'm not creative with my roleplaying or anything like that, because with my particular 'line of work' you have to throw a bit of creativity into the mix as to not find it mundane and repetitive. What stood out most for me was the bushel of responsibilities that came with the role, and even the whole process of submitting an application, being interviewed and attending training/an induction (or in my case an academy class) seemed very appealing.
The constrant stream of roleplay is also alluring. As many of the above have testified, there is an endless stream of opportunities when it comes to legal roleplay. From a world weary police officer to a fresh faced medical student, the possibilities are endless and often reflect real life interests of the roleplayer. For example, there are many law enforcement RPers that have ambitions or are actively seeking employment with real life police agencies.
Each faction does have their own respective rules on what's allowed and what isn't, but there's still more than enough freedom to shape your character's past and present to how you see fit.
Major Galen Hawkins of the Department of Corrections has been with his faction for ten months and he tells us why he joined a legal faction:
What do you enjoy about legal roleplay? You usually work in a team, which is what I enjoy. Your RP usually depends on that of your fellow officer, which makes you have a good bond with your fellow faction members. Another point I like very much is that being a good guy is just generally a character I want to RP, and find quite easy to RP, you just got to know how.
Mayor Michael Kingsland of the Los Santos City Government, our recently elected Mayor, had a lot to say for us:
The legal roleplay which I partake in is all stuff that I have extensive knowledge in. Police and Law Enforcement is something which has had my interest now for well over three years, and during my time roleplaying in that area, I've held positions as a Sheriff, State Police Colonel, SWAT Commander, FBI Special Agent, Detective, K9 Officer, Training Director, Public Relations Officer, Internal Affairs Agent, and the rest. I've just about explored every going corner of the Law Enforcement world, and during this time have learned a whole bunch. People often compliment my ability to create something which feels authentic.
That's the key to roleplay for me. It's not about the experience you have yourself, but rather the experience that you create for others. If I receive a compliment at the end of a scene, I feel like I've done well in that scene, however if I don't - I'll take a few minutes to consider why not, and how perhaps I can improve my roleplay for next time.
The same goes for my roleplay in the Government. I've stood as Mayor before, and in real life have huge political interests. I'm studying politics at college, and so it's something that I'm developing my knowledge on. It's not only a roleplay experience but a learning curve, and is helpful for me to put my knowledge from my lessons to practice in-game. My enjoyment of this roleplay comes also down to giving other people a good experience. When I stroll out of a board room, it's only a success if everyone else enjoyed it too.
The final thing is that it's easy to get carried away on the road of illegality and to lose sight of what's roleplay and what's just "fun." The game is made to be played, and of course the seriousness can be lost, and once this happens the experiences lessen and lessen. Like I've already said, it's all about providing a positive experience for others, and this is far easier to do, and far more dynamic in terms of what you can achieve when roleplaying legally.
Overall, legal roleplay is a solid choice for roleplayers looking for a structured environment to dedicate their time to. It requires a certain type of person to really excel in a legal roleplay environment, but it's safe to say that when you do, you've found your purpose on LS-RP. There have been people roleplaying with their respective legal factions since the server was created in 2007 and that trend of dedication to legal factions will most likely not change in the future.