Career Paper

8 August 2016

Professor Jane Andrews Success in College Career Paper A police officer is something I have always had an interest in becoming. Law enforcement is an exciting career that can open many doors to different jobs, from patrolling the streets to protecting important political figures. Police officers are an essential part of the communities in our nation, offering citizens protection from criminals, preventing crimes, and serving the members of their community.

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A police officer’s duties, among other things, include patrolling a specific district or beat, writing citations when necessary, offering escorts for convoys, responding to citizens’ emergency calls, severing warrants and subpoenas, and writing incident reports after a crime has been committed. 1 An essential characteristic of a police officer is physical stamina, physical and mental endurance, and the ability to keep a calm head. These are just a few of the many duties and essential characteristics of a police officer.

A police officer’s work environment can vary greatly, either being out on patrol or in an office, either writing reports or viewing bulletins. Out on patrol, an officer’s work environment is his or her patrol car. A patrol car has all the devices necessary for an officer to execute his or her duties. It will contain a radio, a mobile laptop, which is used to run license plates, do background checks, and receive directions to the locations of 911 calls, and weapons, such as a shotgun, to be used in hostile situations. A police officer’s work environment will vary depending on his or her pecific duties.

Becoming a police officer is a physically demanding process. Many people choose to first obtain a college degree in criminal justice or sociology, because it can help you become a higher rank and opens the options to work for higher authority agencies. The basic requirement for becoming a cop are to be free of any felony convictions, be a citizen of the United States, be at least 18 years of age, undergo background checks, and be free from any physical, emotional, or mental condition which might adversely affect the exercise of power by the peace officer.

These requirements may vary slightly from state to state, but one that is consistent is that everyone must attend police academy. Police academy is an essential step in becoming a police officer. By graduating from police academy, a person becomes ‘post certified,’ which is a requirement to become a police officer anywhere. 3 At the academy, a person will take courses on firearms training, patrol techniques, crimes scene procedures, and ‘brain training’ courses, which train an officer on how to react mentally in certain situations.

Physical fitness tests are an essential part of the academy, with strict requirements for both male and female requirements. Being a police officer requires both mental and physical toughness. A career in law enforcement can bring a variety of pay amounts. A standard patrol officer makes on average $34,000 a year. 4 Working for different agencies can bring different pay ranges, anywhere from $25,000 a year to $100,000. A police chief will earn towards the upper end of this range.

All police officers will be members of a police union, the largest being the International Union of Police Associations, or the IUPA. 5 Being a member of a union brings benefits such as higher wages, health insurance, and a pension plan. Being a police officer is not one of the highest paying jobs staring off, but with the right promotions, one can earn a very high salary. Being a police officers is a career that is always in demand. In 2010, there were over 750,000 jobs for police officers.

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