Police officers are usually employed by federal, state or municipal governments to maintain public order, enforce the laws to keep the peace in the community and prevent crimes. They also protect the lives and property of citizens, catch lawbreakers, provide prompt emergency responses, and discourage, prevent, and investigate crimes.
A career in law enforcement, though stressful and dangerous, can be the most rewarding. They often deal with violence and crimes, where they can be injured or worse, killed. They are expected to step in and protect anyone at any time – on or off duty. They must be quick in making decisions, yet remain tactful and tolerant to people in trouble or victims of abuse and crimes.
Police officers work for a minimum of 40 hours each week, working even at night shifts and weekends. The daily duties and responsibilities of a law enforcement officer include:
Aside from formal education, new recruits must pass the written examinations to assess their analytical skills. They must also undergo training at a recognized police academy for police tactics, firearms and vehicle use. They are also required to endure rigorous physical exam and background check. After the training, senior officers choose the applicants who will join the department at probationary rank. More importantly, potential police officers should have a genuine interest in working with the public and possess an inquiring mind.
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Take the first step to a secure, flexible and well-paying career by enrolling in an online Police Training program. Whether you want to start or accelerate your career in criminal justice, explore the online certificate and law enforcement degree programs below and request more information today.
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There are many kinds of law enforcement officers. The general types are:
Police officers can move up the rank according to the promotional ladder of their department. Promotion usually requires the candidate to pass examinations, training, interview with the board and other selection process.
Earnings of police officers depend on location and rank. As officers move up the ranks, their salaries increase. According to 2008 report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, patrol officers received a median annual salary of $52,480 while state police earned $58,180.
In addition to their basic salary, police officers also receive several perks. Most agencies pay for the continuing education courses of their officers. They are allowed to enroll as part-time students to finish their college or master’s degree.
Overtime is typical for police officers, and may receive Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) as compensation for all their extra time and work. Furthermore, police officers may retire after only 25 to 30 years of service and receive pension plans at half-pay.
The most popular career in criminal justice are usually found in law enforcement and corrections —whether local, state, Federal or private sector law enforcement. There are different jobs available in this field including: