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Police officers serve their communities by protecting property and people. Job duties vary by job and employer, but law enforcement officers often respond to emergency and non-emergency calls, keeping detailed records of incidents. Day-to-day activities may also include testifying in court, collecting criminal evidence, and arresting suspects.
What Is Needed To Be A Police Officer
A variety of police officer jobs are available, including detective and criminal investigator, fish and game officer, and traffic and rail officer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the number of law enforcement officers will grow as fast as other occupations, at a rate of 5% from 2018 to 2028. Police and detectives also earn above average, receiving an average annual salary of $65,170 in 2019, according to the BLS.
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Read on to learn more about police careers, how to become a police officer, police officer training, pay benefits and career outcomes.
Police officers perform a variety of duties, including protecting residents, keeping accurate records, and testifying in court against criminal suspects. Common law enforcement duties include patrolling assigned areas, making traffic stops, observing suspect activity, making arrests and preparing cases.
Duties and daily responsibilities vary depending on the type of police officer. Police and sheriff’s deputies, the most common type of police, wear uniforms and are constantly on patrol. They also arrest, investigate and look for evidence that crimes are being committed in their communities.
On the other hand, fisheries and game officers educate the public, manage hunting grounds and fishing areas, and conduct search and rescue operations. Transit police and railroads protect trains and train passengers from crimes such as assaults and thefts. Sometimes called agents or investigators, criminal investigators gather facts and evidence about crimes. Detectives often specialize in a specific type of crime, such as murder or money laundering.
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Unlike other professionals, many police officers carry equipment for arrest and protection, such as guns or handcuffs. They often work on crime and emergency shows. Certain types of law enforcement officers – such as those in the US Secret Service or the FBI – may travel or relocate. Border Patrol and Border Patrol agents work outdoors in difficult terrain and weather conditions.
Law enforcement jobs often require on-the-job training. After completing training and education, police officers usually have a probationary period under the supervision of a superior officer. During this trial period, inexperienced police officers learn how to carry out procedures in the real world.
After the evaluation period, employees are eligible for promotion. To become a corporal, sergeant, lieutenant or captain, candidates must pass a written test along with on-the-job training. In the broader field, candidates may qualify for detective positions or specific areas of crime, such as homicide or juvenile delinquency.
Students can also receive on-the-job training while earning a criminal justice degree. Many colleges and universities offer (and sometimes offer) courses for police students. Students can also apply for internships with local police departments, allowing students to interact with police officers and gain first-hand experience protecting the community.
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CIA, FBI, and Federal Bureau of Prisons agents also receive paid training. The United States Department of the Treasury also offers scholarships to students interested in studying finance. These studies can also help candidates gain the necessary skills and stand out among job seekers when they enter the workforce.
Other skills, such as physical strength and endurance, can help candidates meet the requirements of a police officer. In order to meet the demands of daily work, arrest suspects and pass the physical tests required to enter the field, workers and researchers must maintain a good physical appearance and demonstrate strength. Employers see previous military or defense experience as an advantage, as candidates have undergone physical and weapons training.
Also, the police must have good written and oral communication skills to give a good history and communicate with the public during fact-finding. Law enforcement can also communicate with suspects in other languages. To help diverse communities, employees must understand many different points of view and show empathy. Law enforcement officials must also exercise discretion in determining the most effective way to address a problem.
Professionals in high positions, such as detectives and fish and game inspectors, may in some way need the skills and understanding needed to further identify the reasons behind a suspect’s actions. Since the public seeks help from the police in emergency situations, these professionals become highly visible members of the community. In their public work, employees are often role models and must have leadership skills.
Dream About Being A Police Officer
Police officer salaries vary based on many factors, including job type, location, and compensation and other benefits. Some police departments even employ officers who have university degrees and speak multiple languages.
According to the BLS, the lowest-paid police officers earn less than $37,710, while the highest-paid officers earn an annual salary of more than $109,620 as of 2019. Police officers often receive compensation for overtime and special duties.
In this sector, individuals can increase their earnings through education and work experience. According to the BLS, detectives and federal officers earn the most of all law enforcement officers, receiving a median annual salary of $83,170 as of 2019, and aspiring investigators must have a college degree and previous work experience.
As the need for public safety continues, BLS works for law enforcement while continuing with other duties. Requirements for police officers vary by location and depend on state and local budgets. Due to less turnover, the police could face competition. Among the job seekers, candidates with a university degree, experience in law enforcement or military services, and knowledge of other languages can stand out.
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Police and detectives earn an average salary of $31.33, according to the BLS. However, law enforcement officers also receive other pay and benefits, including uniform allowances and additional pay for providing protection and special events. Employees with a university degree or who speak another language may also receive additional compensation. Police officers retire at a younger age than other professionals, giving them early retirement and other career opportunities.
I’m not 21 yet. Is there anything I can do to prepare for a career in law enforcement?
Candidates who do not meet the age of service can attend the cadet program in some police departments. The cadets can attend classes and perform official duties until they meet the requirements for the rank. The Cadet program also provides students with networking and on-the-job training opportunities. Cadet applicants must complete an interview and criminal background check, pass a lien check and drug test, and meet physical requirements.
Because law enforcement officers must protect the public around the clock, officers often work nights, weekends, and holidays. Experienced police officers and senior officers, such as detectives, often have the best hours, leaving rookie officers to work nights and weekends. However, law enforcement officers often receive overtime, which means either an hour and a half or double pay. Some police unions have special rules for paying overtime and night, weekend and holiday pay. The universal concept of a police officer is distorted. Maybe you think of crazy action movies, shootings and explosions. And when that happens, it’s not every day for most police officers.
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The reality is that being a police officer requires split-second decision making, the ability to handle high-pressure situations, and excellent communication skills. This last one is especially important, because you will find yourself in a situation where you have to calm down people who are angry, scared or angry.
Police officers are civil servants. And like any public servant, they hold themselves to high standards. They are expected to have more education than the general population and to be able to pass a series of tests to prove they can do their jobs. But does that mean they need a college degree?
The simple answer is no, you don’t need a college degree to become a police officer. There are many ways to enroll in the police academy and start your law enforcement career.
However, some states require police officers to have a college degree or at least some college credits. Additionally, earning a degree can give you an advantage over other applicants.
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So while you can become a police officer without a college degree, it may not be as easy as it once was. However, in some cases this is not possible at all.
Keep in mind that while you may not need a degree to become a police officer, many departments require officers to have a college degree if they want to be promoted to sergeant or higher. So if you want to advance in your career, you should eventually get a degree.
In this article, we will see how you can become a police officer and how a college degree can benefit you in your career.
The first step to becoming a police officer is to research the requirements of the department you are interested in.
Join Centralia Police Department |
Most companies have similar requirements, but there may be differences.
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