What does a police officer do?
Police officers maintain public order, apprehend criminals, and prevent and identify criminal activity. They patrol neighborhoods, collect evidence, and investigate crimes. They respond as quickly as possible to calls and make the best decisions to resolve issues. They give warnings and issue citations when necessary. They also investigate accidents and robberies, direct traffic, and provide first aid to injured persons. Police officers also spend a lot of time writing reports and maintaining incident records.
Many police officers are responsible for becoming involved in the community and building relationships with the public to help fight crime. All police officers are sworn to an oath and must abide by that oath at all times. They are responsible for exercising authority whether they are on or off duty.
What kind of training does a police officer need?
Police officers need at least a high school education. Some police departments require police officers to have college education. Many police officers have a degree in criminal justice or other related field. Police officers also typically have to pass physical and written examinations. Most police departments require new police officers to complete training through the department’s policy academy. The policy academy training typically takes about 12 to 14 weeks to complete and usually includes classroom instruction in various law enforcement topics. New police officers receive training in first aid and emergency response, patrol, firearms usage, traffic control, and self-defense. Police officers must also complete continuing education throughout their career.
What are the prospects for a career as a police officer?
Employment of police officers is projected to grow as fast as average for all professions, increasing 11% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased demand for law enforcement services and population growth will fuel job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be great especially for police officers with college education and extensive experience. Those with military experience will also have excellent job prospects. Job opportunities will also arise from the need to replace police officers that transfer, retire, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do police officers make?
As of August 2009, the middle 50% of police officers earned annual salaries between $41,513 and $58,793. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $66,950(2).
A career as a police officer is an excellent choice for individuals interested in law enforcement and protecting all people and property. Police officers must be honest, trustworthy, have good judgment, and good decision making skills. Integrity, a high level of professionalism, courage, and good teamwork are also important. They must constantly be alert and aware of the situation and be able to handle dangerous circumstances.