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Law Enforcement are military or public police that appear throughout Red Dead Redemption. Most towns and settlements have some form of lawmen, be it a sheriff, a marshal, the police or the army; if Marston is caught committing a crime, he will be punished.
Wanted Level and the Bounty on your Head
If a crime Marston has committed is reported to the law, he will get a Wanted Level and a Bounty on his head. The higher these are, the more lawmen will join the pursuit. Marston will remain Wanted as long as lawmen or civilians can see him. He can lose his Wanted Level by breaking their line of sight and hiding from the law or killing every last one of them. Even if he manages to evade the law posses, deadly bounty hunters will come after him. Marston can pay off his bounty with cash at one of the local Telegraph Offices or clear his name with pardon letters, which are found throughout the world.
Technically, a bounty can also be negated if the debt to society is paid by going to jail. Days will pass, and Marston will eventually be let out. The bounty will be reduced to $0, that is, having enough money to pay for it. If not, Marston will be given a bounty to hunt to make up for what he couldn't pay. Oddly enough, Marston does not have a wanted poster even if though Bounty hunters are chasing him sometimes.
There are two distinct bounties for the US and Mexico, and only the bounty for the relevant jurisdiction is shown on-screen. If Marston crosses from one country into the other, all pursuers except bounty hunters will not follow (though may still shoot at him across the border.)
Stop eyewitnesses from reporting Marston's crime to the nearest lawmen by killing, bribing, or tying them up.
Killing a solitary witness may work, however in a town killing the witness will result in someone else seeing Marston across the street, and killing that witness will result in another townsmen seeing him, and so on until the "witness chain" reaches the law office. If the"witness chain" excedes an amount of 3 or so witnesses, than the player should be safe unless the killing was in front of any lawmen.
A bribe may be more effective, but bear in mind though that the cost of the bribe is related to the severity of the crime Marston commits.
With low enough Honor, witnesses will be too scared to report petty crimes and will hold out until Marston commits murder.
With high enough Honor, witnesses and lawmen will not report any minor crimes (except vandalism in Blackwater)
Regional Law Enforcement
Each area can have any number of local persistent characters defined as law enforcemnet for the region who will be alerted when a crime is committed by the player and are the first responders. Regional Law Enforcement is only used for local, immediate response to crimes and pursuit of wanted criminals. They will continue pursuit until the player loses or kills them, but no additional law enforcement will be added to the pursuit.
Every town and settlement has a maximum number of law enforcement officials available for a given event. If the player manages to kill them all, the law response ends and no new lawmen will arrive until the player begins committing more crimes. However, these additional lawmen will not pursue the player out of town.
The number of lawmen the player can expect in a given town or settlement is as follows:
|Town/Settlement||Maximum # of Lawmen per Event|
|El Matadero||9 + 5 soldiers who reside there|
|El Presidio||0 + approximately 12 soldiers who reside there|
|Escalera||30 + approximately 10 soldiers who reside there|
|Pacific Union Railroad Camp||7|
Law enforcement in New Austin
Law in New Austin is enforced by number of local lawmen, which include sheriffs and their deputies. In serious situations, these lawmen are aided by U.S. Marshals. There are two law enforcement stations, both with their own jail - Sheriff's office in Armadillo and Foreman's office in MacFarlane's Ranch. Wanted posters are posted by lawmen on the train station in Armadillo, on Foreman's office in MacFarleane's Ranch and on the western building in Rathskeller Fork. Thieves' Landing is the only area of New Austin that is not patrolled by any lawmen.
Wanted posters in Armadillo are usually posted by Buford Ackley, Claude Banfield or Alden Pearce. Bounty brought to Armadillo jail is rewarded by Shelton Cole, aided by Alden Pearce and Elton Woolsey. Other confirmed lawmen patrolling the streets of Armadillo are Alden Renshaw and Mel Thaxton, who can be found there almost permanently.
Posters are usually posted by Monroe Carver, Dell Hopkins or Shelton Cole. Bounties brought to Foreman's office are rewarded by Claude Benfield (who is also often found playing poker there), aided by Benton Manning and Hugh Leathers. Other patrolling lawmen are Clay Brannon and Wesley Hubbard. There is also nightwatch job, which is given to the player by Rufus Byrd, not a lawman himself, and rewarded by Buford Ackley.
There is no police station or jail in Rathskeller Fork. However, there is a place for posting wanted posters, which is usually posted by Benton Manning, Buford Ackley or Dell Hopkins. There is usually one lawman patrolling the village.
Law enforcement in West Elizabeth
West Elizabeth has the most developed police force in the game - the Blackwater Police Department. There are two stations located in the city. The police department doesn't patrol only in the city itself, but also in a large portion of Great Plains, so it might have county jurisdiction. Apart from Blackwater, most of West Elizabeth, especially Tall Trees, is patrolled by local lawmen - sheriffs and their deputies, similary to New Austin.
Law enforcement in Nuevo Paraiso
In Mexico, there is a different situation due to ongoing civil war and the use of military. Primary policing force is the Federales (Mexican law in game combat stats). There are two types of them - with and without uniform. All Federales wear badge. In Chuparosa, Federales have a station in the town hall, where the jail is also located. Wanted Posters are posted on the front wall of town hall. In Escalera, there is a small station of Federales, where Wanted Posters are posted. There is also located a barracks of Mexican Army, which is the other form of law enforcement. Mexican Army is present in most of Nuevo Paradiso. Third and last location with wanted posters is El Presidio, where the military is also present. After the revolution, Mexican Army troops are replaced by Rebels, except for two areas - El Matadero and Torquemada, which continue to be held by the Army. Casa Madrugada is a lawless area, without the presence of any law enforcement.
Each town or settlement has three ongoing pursuit types depending on the player's criminal history:
- At a Bounty Level of $150, a posse is formed. The first posse in every bounty cycle contains only 3 members.
- If the player has under 20 lawman kills, each kill has a 5% chance of Bounty Hunters pursuing the player rather than a posse.
- If it is nighttime (10PM to 5AM), Bounty Hunters will begin to prowl for the player.
- If the player has over 20 lawman kills, the US Marshals or the Mexican Army will give pursuit (which type is determined by whether the player is in the US or Mexico). The chances of these pursuits will increase by 5% for each additional lawman killed.
(This is information on posses that form in Single-Player mode. You might be looking for information on Multiplayer, Free Roam posses.)
Once the player has committed crimes and raised their bounty to a certain level, posses will form to bring the player to justice.
Posses form in the wilderness, with composition and size based on Bounty Value. A posse is made up of three or more lawmen, and if the bounty is high enough, they arrive with dogs. The player cannot hide from posses that have at least one dog alive - they always know the player's location. The player can escape a posse only by getting outside the law radius area on the map, which will be much larger than usual if dogs are present in the posse. Posses will not follow Marston if he crosses the Mexican border.
Posses may appear in one of two circumstances:
- If an eyewitness gets far enough away, a posse will form at the point where the report took place.
- If the player has a bounty over $150 and is in the wilderness, a posse may come after him. This will take place every 30-40 minutes in real time.
Posse composition is determined by the size of the player's Bounty Value as follows:
|Player's Bounty Value Greater Than...||Posse Composition|
|$150||3 to 4 lawmen (3 if it is the first posse response in a bounty cycle)|
|$1700||6 lawmen and 1 dog|
|$3700||8 lawmen and 2 dogs|
|$5000||10 lawmen and 3 dogs|
|$7000+||12 lawmen and 4 dogs|
The posse will accept the player's surrender and take him to jail, or kill him if he resists. The player can lose his Wanted Level either by staying hidden, bribing, or by killing all members of the posse. If the posse was formed from a witness report, and the player kills them all, his Bounty Value will be rolled back to what it was before the posse was formed, since there is no longer anyone left alive to tell the tale.
Bounty hunters will appear in the wilderness, with group size and difficulty based on Bounty Value. The goal of bounty hunters is to either capture or kill a criminal and bring him (or his corpse) to civilization to collect the bounty. Bounty Hunters do not command an additional bounty when killed as they are already considered criminals. Bounty Hunters always have dogs with them.
If the player has a bounty in the territory the Bounty Hunter is currently in, a pursuit occurs roughly every 8-10 game hours (30-40 minutes real time). Bounty Hunter group composition is determined by the size of the player's Bounty Value as follows:
|Player's Bounty Value Greater Than...||Bounty Hunter Group Composition|
|$150||2 members and 1 dog|
|$1700||3 members and 1 dog|
|$3700||4 members and 2 dogs|
|$5000||5 members and 3 dogs|
|$7000+||6 members and 4 dogs|
While all other forms of law enforcement stop at the border if they chase the player into Mexico or vice versa, Bounty Hunters will continue pursuit.The player can lose them by leaving the search radius, staying unseen (if all their dogs are dead) or killing every Bounty Hunter. Bounty Hunters cannot be bribed.
Special Forces: US Marshals or Mexican Army
Special Forces events occur in town and in the wilderness. They are called in to pursue the player if he has murdered 20 or more lawmen. Special Forces will come after the player every 30-40 minutes of real time in the wilderness. There are always four members in a Special Forces squad. The composition is determined only by whether the player happens to be in the US or Mexico when they appear. Special Forces events generally have fewer members than posses, but each member is of higher individual skill. They can be lost by killing them all, or staying unseen. Special Forces cannot be bribed.
Thieves' Landing and Casa Madrugada are lawless. That is, crimes committed in these locations will never incur a bounty, and no law enforcement personnel will ever spawn in these locations. This is because these locations are run by criminal elements. Thieves' Landing is occupied mostly by the Bollard Twins Gang and Casa Madrugada is controlled by Banditos. Violent acts committed in these places will often result in the player being shot at by members of these criminal elements. Also, in Thieves' Landing, a player with high honor, wearing the U.S. Marshal Outfit or the Bureau Uniform, and having recently completed the Pike's Basin hideout will likely be shot at on sight by members of the Bollard Twins Gang.
Marston can help local law enforcement by capturing wanted criminals. Wanted Posters are put up at prominent locations in each town, like railway stations, sheriff offices and police buildings. Take down the posters to begin a Bounty Hunter Mission. Criminals can be taken in dead or alive, and you get double the reward for taking them in alive.