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In the United States, metropolitan police agencies have often been formed through mergers between several local police agencies formerly holding jurisdiction within neighboring communities within a metropolitan area or county, such as several local police departments and possibly the county sheriff's office.
Typically, such communities have experienced recent population growth and urban sprawl, which causes the area to more closely resemble and function as one single conurbation. Under these circumstances, a single law enforcement agency with a unified command, jurisdiction and support structure comes to be seen as more appropriate and efficient.
A related concept exists in some American counties in which county sheriffs' offices contract with some (though not necessarily all) local cities or towns within their counties to provide all law enforcement services in those municipalities in lieu of a separate city or town police force.
Metropolitan police agencies
Examples of use of the term "Metropolitan Police" include:
- London's Metropolitan Police Service, formally the "Metropolitan Police Force", and often simply referred to as the Metropolitan Police or the Met, which covers 32 of the 33 districts of London (excluding the City of London).
- The large municipal police force of an Indian city, which is headed by a Commissioner and may be independent of the state police, such as Mumbai Police, Kolkata Police, Chennai Metropolitan Police, and Delhi Police.
- The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia in Washington, DC.
- The Dublin Metropolitan Police, now absorbed into the Garda Síochána.
- Metropolitan Police F.C., the football club of the Greater London Metropolitan Police currently members of the Isthmian League.
- The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Commonly referred to as Metro Police or simply Metro.
- The Louisville Metro Police Department.
- The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
- The Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. Commonly referred to as the Metro Police, they are referred to as simply Metro.
- The Metropolitan Police Department, City of St. Louis predecessor of the St. Louis Police Department
- The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.
- The Toronto Police Service, formerly (and still commonly) known as Metropolitan Toronto Police or simply Metro.
- The Metropolitan District Commission Police (commonly known as the Metropolitan Police), a former agency in Massachusetts that was merged with the Massachusetts State Police in 1992.
- The Metropolitan Police Force, predecessor of the New York City Police Department.
- Buenos Aires Metropolitan Police (Policía Metropolitana de Buenos Aires)
- Caracas Metropolitan Police (Policía Metropolitana de Caracas)
- Cúcuta Metropolitan Police (Policía Metropolitana de Cúcuta)
- Quito Metropolitan Police (Policía Metropolitana de Quito)