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The headline is:

"Eva Mireles’s husband was an officer with the school district’s Police Department. He was not allowed to enter the place where his wife was under attack."

What caught my attention was, "an officer with the school district’s Police Department" part

Is "officer with the Police Department" correct?

The way it would make sense to my English-learning mind would be:

"officer IN the Police Department." It's a department and the officer is part of it, within it's scope.

OR

"officer OF the the Police Department." Again it's a department and the officer comes from it for being an officer of course.

But what is the pois of using "with"???

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  • I've corrected your spelling and punctuation, but what is "pois" in the last line? Do you mean "point"? Jun 2, 2022 at 13:24
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    There's not much point tagging both British and American English.
    – James K
    Jun 2, 2022 at 13:28
  • pois would be point, I'm sorry for this. I guess in this aspect brit and american English are the same, right?
    – ilma pav
    Jun 2, 2022 at 13:30
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    Using "police department" marks these as coming from the USA, since that is US term But the use of "with" can apply to both.
    – James K
    Jun 2, 2022 at 13:41

2 Answers 2

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Much prepostion use depends on idioms, and "officer with the police department" is idiomatic: Here are some examples:

[A] former officer with the police department in St. Louis recently wrote about his experience for The Washington Post:

An applicant for employment as a Probationary Patrol Officer with the Police Department of the Village of Lincolnshire, Illinois,

Inn is survived by his wife, who is also an officer with the police department, a seven-month-old baby and two stepchildren ages 12 and 14.

But you are right that "in the police department is also used:

This is a non-exempt position as an entry level law enforcement officer in the Police Department.

The success of an officer in the police department depends on best training, well-discipline, commitment to serve the humanity, ...

The use of "police department" marks all of these as American (the UK doesn't use "department" of divisions of the police).

There seems to be little difference in meaning between "in the police department" and "with the police department", but the with idiom can also apply to, for example soldiers

an operations officer with the Household Cavalry Regiment, working on battle-planning.

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  • I was thinking about it and came up with the idea that the "with" is being used because a department is a group and the office is "with" members of that group. Make any sense? I seek semantic in everything even in the syntax LOL. I belive even syntax deppends on logic.
    – ilma pav
    Jun 2, 2022 at 13:48
  • Very little in language depends on logic (except Logic, of course) This is really just idiom. My guess would be that the idiom developed first for officers "with" a regiment of soldiers, and then transferred to the police.
    – James K
    Jun 2, 2022 at 13:52
  • I miss the point here, how "he" being in a soldier regimen first convey the "with" to phrase: with Police Department"???
    – ilma pav
    Jun 2, 2022 at 14:09
  • @ James K, do you mean as though "he" is a soldier working "with" the police department?
    – ilma pav
    Jun 2, 2022 at 14:11
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    I appretiate your time and effort in especulate about that after my nagging questions, may be irrelevant to main point but was very clarifying to me in sense that showed a little how a native english-speaking mind would think about that
    – ilma pav
    Jun 2, 2022 at 15:58
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English offers flexibility in preposition choice when speaking of membership in an organization. Generally speaking, you can say you work for an organization, or work at an organization, without much difference in meaning. You can also say you are in, with, or from an organization, or that you are a member of that organization, or that you belong to the organization.

The precise circumstances of use will differ slightly. With often indicates a professional association. If you have a membership with an organization (such as a gym or church) but do not work there, it may be less appropriate to use with.

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