Why Become A Police Officer – If you’re applying for your first law enforcement job, you should have heard the question, “Why do you want to be a police officer?” during a job interview.
There are many great ways to approach this, from sharing stories about how the police have positively impacted your life to discussing how you want to be a part of making your community safer. In this article, we describe how to elicit answers, provide sample answers, and discuss other elements of an officer interview.
Why Become A Police Officer
When answering the question ‘Why do you want to be a police officer?’, you should research the role and the sector, consider good reasons for joining the police and discuss your relevant skills and experience. Here are more details on how to effectively answer this interview question:
Learn About Becoming A Police Officer
“I have a strong desire to be a police officer because I believe in making a positive difference in people’s lives. Being able to help those in need, provide support at critical times and keep people and families safe is a real plus for me. It’s worth it. It’s about being a source of comfort during difficult times and making a real difference in the lives of the community members I serve.”
“I chose a career in law enforcement for the opportunity to serve the community in a meaningful and impactful way. I believe that developing genuine relationships and trust with the people I will protect and serve is critical to effective law enforcement. Communities not only improve public safety, but also creates a sense of unity and cooperation that can lead to lasting positive change.”
“Working as a police officer is very attractive to me because I want to actively contribute to reducing crime in our community. I am proud that my efforts can contribute to creating a safer environment for everyone. Every positive change, every step that makes life more safe. It helps strengthen my sense of purpose. It’s about making our streets safer, and every day you have the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the well-being of the people I serve. Impact.”
“The dynamic nature of police work and the opportunity to face challenges on a daily basis is what attracts me to this career. I enjoy being in situations that require quick thinking, adaptability and problem-solving skills. No two days are the same. I am inspired by idea of learning and growing to effectively address the changing needs and concerns of our communities.”
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Answering questions about your motivations for becoming a police officer requires preparation. You should research the department carefully, practice your answers in advance, and think of experiences and stories you can share that will make the interviewer see that you are a good fit for the position. Here are some more tips on how to answer this interview question:
There are several benefits and good reasons to become a police officer, such as having a positive impact on your community, earning a competitive salary, and having a career that always presents new challenges. Consider which of the following might fit your motivation to join the law enforcement team:
While there are many benefits to being a police officer, we must also consider why this may not be the right career for you. Consider the following before applying for law enforcement jobs:
Caitlin Mazur is a freelance writer for . Caitlin is dedicated to helping readers find their dream job by providing content that discusses job search advice based on experience and extensive research. Caitlin holds a BA in English from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is a website with advertising. Featured or Trusted Partner programs and all school search, search or match results are for schools that pay us. This offset does not affect our school rankings, resource guides or other independent editorial information published on this site.
Good Reasons To Become A Police Officer
The police serve the community by protecting property and people. Job duties vary by role and employer, but law enforcement officers typically respond to non-emergency calls and keep detailed incident records. Regular activities may also include testifying in court, collecting evidence of a crime, and apprehending suspects.
Police posts are diverse and include detectives and criminal investigators, game and fish wardens, and traffic and rail police. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that law enforcement employment will grow as fast as any other occupation, at 5 percent, from 2018 to 2028. Police officers and detectives also earn above average, with median annual wage of $65, or $170, in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Read on to learn more about police responsibilities, how to become a police officer, police training, compensation and benefits, and career outcomes.
Police perform a variety of duties, including keeping residents safe, keeping detailed records, and testifying in court against suspects. Common law enforcement duties also include patrolling designated areas, conducting traffic stops, observing suspect movements, making arrests, and preparing cases.
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Daily duties and tasks vary by officer type. Police and sheriff’s patrol officers are the most common types of police officers and wear uniforms and conduct regular patrols. They also make arrests, searches and look for signs of criminal activity in the community.
Fish and game wardens, on the other hand, educate the public about the law, patrol hunting and fishing areas, and conduct search and rescue operations. The Traffic and Railway Police protect train and railway passengers from crimes such as assault and theft. Criminal investigators, sometimes called special agents or detectives, gather facts and collect evidence of crimes. Detectives often specialize in specific types of crime, such as homicide or financial crime.
Unlike other professionals, most police officers carry equipment for their arrest and defense, such as guns or handcuffs. They often work at crime and accident scenes. Certain types of law enforcement officers, such as the US Secret Service or the FBI, may be required to travel or relocate. Border agents and environmental police work outdoors in difficult terrain and weather.
Law enforcement careers often require some on-the-job training. After graduating from a training academy, officers typically go through a probationary period under the supervision of a superior officer. During the test, inexperienced agents learn how to apply the technology in the real world.
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After the probationary period, civil servants may opt for promotion. To become a corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, or captain, applicants must pass a written exam in addition to on-the-job training. In most departments, candidates can qualify for detective positions or specific criminal areas, such as homicide or juvenile crime.
Students get on-the-job training while pursuing a criminal justice degree. Many colleges and universities offer (and sometimes require) internships for law enforcement students. Students can also apply for an internship with a local police department, giving students the opportunity to network with experienced police officers and gain first-hand experience protecting local communities.
The CIA, FBI, and Federal Bureau of Prisons also offer paid internships. The US Treasury Department also offers internship opportunities for students interested in learning about financial crime. These internships also help degree candidates acquire the necessary skills and stand out among job seekers when entering the workforce.
Other skills, such as physical strength and endurance, can help candidates meet the requirements of a police officer. To meet the daily demands of the job, apprehend suspects and pass the physical fitness tests required to enter the scene, officers and detectives must be in good shape and demonstrate strength. Employers see prior military or security experience as an advantage because these candidates have previously received physical and firearms training.
Police Officer Job Description, Training & More
In addition, police officers must possess excellent written and oral communication skills to provide detailed incident reports and speak to the public during the fact-gathering process. Law enforcement officers may also speak with suspects who communicate in other languages. To help diverse communities, officials must understand the many different perspectives and demonstrate empathy. Law enforcement officials must also exercise good judgment in determining the most effective way to approach a problem.
Officers in higher positions, such as detectives and game and game wardens, may need critical thinking skills and insight to determine in advance why a suspect is behaving in a certain way. These professionals have become high-profile members of the community as the public turns to officials for help in an emergency. In public roles, civil servants often serve as role models and must possess leadership skills.
A police officer’s salary depends on many factors, including the type of job, location, and compensation and fringe benefits. Some police departments even offer higher salaries to officers with college degrees and who speak multiple languages.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2019, the lowest-paid police officers earned less than $37,710 a year, while the highest-paid officers earned more than $109,620. Police officers often earn extra pay through overtime and special duties.
How To Become A Police Officer
In this field, individuals can increase their wages through education and work experience. Federal detectives and agents earn the best of all police officers, with an average annual salary of $83, up from $170 in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prospective federal police officers and detectives typically must have a college degree and work experience.
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