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Police officers serve their communities by protecting property and people. Job responsibilities vary by function and company, but law enforcement officers respond to emergency and non-emergency calls and keep detailed records of incidents. Routine tasks may include testifying in court, collecting criminal evidence, and arresting suspects.
Degree Needed To Become A Police Officer
There are various types of police officers such as detectives and crime investigators, fish and game officers, transit and railway police officers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment of law enforcement officers will grow as fast as any other occupation, with a 5% increase from 2018 to 2028. Police officers and detectives also earn high salaries on average, with a median annual salary of $65,170 in 2019, according to the BLS.
How Do You Become A Police Officer
Read on to learn more about law enforcement duties, becoming a police officer, police officer training, salaries and career outcomes.
Police officers perform a variety of duties, including keeping citizens safe, keeping detailed records, and testifying in court against criminal suspects. Common law enforcement duties include patrolling, conducting traffic stops, monitoring suspect activity, making arrests, and preparing cases.
Daily duties and responsibilities differ depending on the type of police officer. Police officers and sheriff’s patrol officers, the most common officers, wear uniforms and conduct regular patrols. They also make arrests, conduct searches, and look for signs of criminal activity in their communities.
Instead, fish and game wardens provide law enforcement, patrol hunting and fishing areas, and conduct search and rescue operations. Public transport and rail police protect train and rail passengers from crimes such as assault and robbery. Criminal investigators, sometimes called agents or detectives, gather facts and gather evidence of crimes. Detectives usually specialize in certain types of crimes, such as homicides or financial crimes.
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Unlike other professionals, most police officers carry equipment for arrest and protection, such as handguns or handcuffs. They regularly work crime and accident scenes. Certain types of police officers in the US Secret Service or FBI may be required to travel or relocate. Border Patrol and Environmental Police work in physically demanding environments and outdoors.
Law enforcement professionals typically require some on-the-job training. After police officers graduate from the training academy, they usually complete a probationary period under the supervision of their superiors. During this probationary period, inexperienced police officers learn to use techniques in the real world.
After the probationary period, officers may be appointed. To become a corporal, sergeant, lieutenant or captain, candidates must pass a written test in addition to on-the-job training. In major departments, candidates may hold detective positions or special crime areas such as homicide or juvenile delinquency.
Students can also receive on-the-job training with a criminal justice degree. Many colleges and universities offer (and sometimes require) internships for law enforcement students. Students can also apply for internships with local police departments, giving them the opportunity to network with veteran police officers and gain experience protecting local communities.
What To Expect From Police Academy Training
Paid internships are also available at the CIA, FBI, and Federal Bureau of Prisons. The US Treasury Department also offers internships for students interested in studying financial crimes. This experience can help you acquire the skills you need in graduate school and help you stand out among job candidates when they enter the workforce.
Additional skills such as physical strength and endurance can help candidates meet the demands of police officers. Officers and detectives must maintain good physical condition and demonstrate strength in order to perform daily job requirements, apprehend suspects, and pass the physical tests required to enter the field. Employers view previous military or security experience as a plus because these candidates have previously undergone physical and firearms training.
In addition, police officers must have good written and verbal communication skills to communicate with the public while reporting incidents and gathering facts. Law enforcement officers may also speak to suspects who speak another language. To help different communities, officers must understand and empathize with different perspectives. Law enforcement officials must also be thoughtful in determining the most effective way to handle a problem.
Officers in higher positions such as detectives, fish and game rooms may need critical thinking and perceptive skills to predict when a suspect is acting in a certain way. As the public relies on emergency workers for assistance, these professionals become highly visible members of the community. In public office, officers often serve as role models and must possess leadership skills.
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Salaries for police officers vary based on many factors, including job type, location, and additional compensation and benefits. Some police departments even offer higher salaries to officers with a college degree and fluency in multiple languages.
According to the BLS, the lowest-paid police officers earned less than $37,710, while the highest-paid police officers earned more than $109,620 in 2019. Police officers often receive overtime and extra pay for special duties.
People in this field can increase their salary through education and work experience. According to the BLS, federal investigators and agents earned the most of all police officers in 2019, earning a median annual salary of $83,170. Prospective federal police officers and detectives usually need a college degree and previous work experience.
As the need for public safety continues, BLS projects that police jobs will grow along with other jobs. Demand for police officers varies by location and depends on state and local budgets. Due to low turnover, police applicants may face competition. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree, law enforcement or military experience, and language skills can stand out from the crowd.
What Is The Full Form Of Police?
Police officers and police officers earned an average hourly wage of $31.33. However, law enforcement officers receive additional fees and additional fees to provide protection at other events and special events. Employees with a college degree or who speak another language may receive additional fees. Police officers typically retire at a younger age than other professionals, allowing them to take early retirement and other jobs.
I am not yet 21. Is there anything I can do to prepare for a law enforcement career?
Candidates who do not meet the officer’s age requirements may enter cadet programs in some police departments. Trainees can attend classes and do administrative work until they are qualified for the position. Cadet programs provide students with networking opportunities and job training. Cadet candidates must complete an interview and criminal background check, pass lie detector and drug tests, and meet physical requirements.
Because law enforcement officers must always protect the public, officers often work nights, weekends, and holidays. Senior officers, such as experienced police officers and detectives, often take the best shifts, leaving new recruits for evenings and weekends. However, law enforcement officers typically receive overtime pay, which means they are paid one-and-a-half or double their wages. Some police unions offer different rules for overtime pay and night, weekend and holiday duty. Hearst Newspapers participates in various affiliate marketing programs where we may earn a commission on editorially selected products purchased through our links to these retail sites.
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Not having a college degree is not an insurmountable obstacle for someone who wants to become a police officer. Most law enforcement agencies hire candidates with a high school diploma or equivalent if they meet other minimum qualifications set by state and local police departments. When applying to become a police officer, choose your unique skills, experience, and personal qualities that make you the most desirable candidate, regardless of your degree. It is also important to explain previous experience in the military or defense services.
Most local and state law enforcement agencies are flexible about the ranks as long as the applicant meets other minimum requirements for hire. Generally, applicants must be US citizens 21 years of age and in excellent physical, mental and medical health. You may be required to undergo an oral interview, psychological test, drug test, polygraph, and background check. Reasons for disqualification can include drug use, serious convictions and repeat driving offences. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and make sure you are fit and able to do the job before applying to become a police officer.
It is important to explain how your background has prepared you to become a police officer. Talking about military service can be more advantageous than civilian applicants. Employers value the skills that veterans bring to their strengths, such as mental toughness, a sense of duty, and reckless abandon. Directly related experiences include working as a full-time or volunteer firefighter, armored vehicle driver, private investigator or security guard. If you are at least 20 years old, consider volunteering in the police reserve, where you will receive introductory law enforcement training. Joining the Army Reserves is a great way to gain skills and stand out on resumes.
You may succeed in entering the field
Become A Peace Officer
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