What is a Police Officer?
To a police officer, you can always address under terms that will imply both of the genders such as policeman, policewoman or patrolman, patrolwoman. You will encounter as well the term of law enforcement officer.
A police officer is a trained professional that has to deal on a daily basis with tasks that involve preventing and detecting any crime, protecting the general public. Their duties also include maintaining the public order, apprehending criminals, and other such like duties.
A police officer has to make an oath that will allow him to have the authority and power to arrest people and detain them for a limited amount of time. In the US, the term of “officer” is used mainly to describe the lowest police rank in a formal manner.
Depending on their duties and the tasks they are entrusted with, a police officer will have to deal with child or VIP protection, surveillance and investigation into major crimes. This usually includes activities such as fraud, drugs, murder or rape and other.
Job Description of a Police Officer
The main responsibility of any police officer is to protect people and property. They are assigned to various and different areas that in some cases can even include entire jurisdictions. Their job involving this duty is to patrol and make sure that everything is at should it be.
Their job refers also to respond to calls, issue citations and from time to time where is necessary testify in court cases. They enforce laws, make arrests, protect the public and their property, they try to combat and fight against crime, and their whole purpose is to reduce the fear of crime.
A police officer work involves working in a partnership with other communities and try to improve the lives of the citizens by serving to maintain good order and protection. Their job activities are complex and in many ways very challenging. They will also deal with administrative procedures, with found or lost property as well as with incidents that took place on highways or freeways such as collisions, traffic offenses, vehicle checkpoints and other.
They are working with various public and private institutions and organizations such as schools, health trusts, local businesses, even members of the criminal justice system. All this in order to provide advice where needed, educate, and assist those who have been affected in a way or another by crimes, or who just want to combat and prevent crimes.
Trying to maintain peace in the community or at social or local events, meetings, gatherings, or even trade disputes is not always easy. But then you can always have people that you can rely on and count on such as police officers.
How to Become a Police Officer?
If your purpose is to become a police officer, you will require a few things. If you possess certain abilities that will take you there a lot faster, then all you have to do is to inform yourself early about the whole process of training. Training as a police officer will require forming your side to have developed in you an excellent judgment, that ability to think quickly when you are under pressure or in hazardous situations. You’ll have to prove that you truly have what it takes to become a police officer since this job is 24/7 full of new challenges and unexpected situations in which you’ll have to prove an extraordinary courage.
The first action in this profession is to fulfill the basic requirements that usually involve being 18 of age, possessing a driving license. Obviously, one of the most important conditions is to be a legal resident in US. Still you can encounter that some of the police departments will require all the candidates to be at least 21 of age. Be sure that you know what the legal age is when you can actually start.
Any police officer is expected to be a role model in what he is doing and in what he or she is representing. From the beginning, you should try to have a clean background that will not involve at all illegal drugs. Your record should not have events when you were caught drinking doses of alcohol in excess, or committing any crimes, no matter how small they are. This can truly affect you dream career.
Keep in mind that you can also be excluded from any chances of pursuing a career as a police officer if you’ve committed felonies as an adult. These include offenses such as domestic violence conviction, crime of any type and those related to race or others that lead to your arrest. A good reputation will always be a good resume for when you apply for these types of jobs.
When you apply in order to become a police officer you’ll be checked for background as well as for a credit check, and if your score is quite low then you’ll be penalized. The best option is to avoid entering in debts and make sure that you pay your bills on time. Getting to know your financial state will help you a lot to understand if your current credit is valid and you don’t have any debt this proving that you are a very responsible person.
Work experience will help you achieve the necessary knowledge of long hours and strict requirements details that you’ll find them to be plenty when you are working as a police officer. Your job and the experience that you get it doesn’t have to be related to law enforcement, you can find any job and stick to it.
Through this, you’ll prove that you are capable of doing it and that you are a responsible person. You can consider finding a job that will allow you to interact with people, or at a local state park. These jobs will develop in you communicational skills, very important when you think of a police officer job. When it comes to the second choice for a job, you’ll form an opinion on how it is. The only way to know is to serve as part of a law enforcement team.
Some individuals will choose to join in the military service before they will enroll the police force. This will qualify you physically and mentally for the tasks of a police officer. Being a police officer also involves having good and quick reflexes and that ability to run long distances or short ones when needed. For this career in the police force, you’ll have to pass a physical agility test.
The best exercises, in this case, is to do sprints for building up your strength and for endurance. Try to lift weights to build up your muscles as well as try to improve your reflexes. If you truly want to gain the taste of being a police officer before you are one contact the local police station. See if you’re allowed to spend a day riding along with a police officer and make sure that you understand what this job entails. If you have questions, write them before in a notebook and take them with you for the ride-along. That way you’ll form an opinion on what to expect from this job.
The education requirements will start with possessing a high-school diploma or a GED. The next action that will enable you to have more chances for advancement is a college degree. Even though some police departments will not put it as a requirement, it will help you to have a few years of education in a related field. This is especially taken into account if you’ll later on want to become a detective or you’ll want to hold an administrative position.
Your courses should consist in law enforcement, or criminal justice or even some of a related discipline. There are some departments that will provide tuition assistance to officers that are pursuing a degree. Becoming a police officer involves as well being enrolled in the police academy in order to obtain training. Some of the large police departments have their own police academies while those that are smaller in size will send the potential police officers to academies in cities that are much larger.
All the training usually lasts for about 3 or 4 months, and it will include courses in areas such as civil rights, criminal psychology, crime investigation, state law as well as local law. Other areas are self-defense, patrol, first aid, firearm use, traffic control and others that are required when you work as a police officer.
You also have to be conscious that each department has various and different examinations that you must pass. If you do, then you become a police officer. These examinations are ordinarily given in order to test your competencies in skills and subjects you have acquired in the police academy. In addition to all the written tests, you will have to pass a background check, physical fitness test, even drug tests, and a psychological exam.
Work Environment and Schedule
Working as a police officer assumes differences according to the geographical location, the staffing level, and the number of incidents that were reported. Those hired for this job as police officers will have a full-time basis and with schedules that will often include long shifts during day time or night time.
Many accidents and crimes occur during any moment of the day or night without waiting for anybody. Those who just started in the police force will also work during weekends and overnight shifts. Police officers work setting is mainly at crime scenes or even accident scenes, or any other traumatic events that took place. They will also deal with situations in which suffering or death circumstances are involved.
Pros and Cons of Being a Police Officer
When we refer to a career in the police force, you’ll see that the pros and the cons are plenty and various. There is no hiding when we are talking about a job as a police officer; factors such as stress or very demanding are present. You’ll be highly solicited, and the job injuries are to be found have the highest percent than in any other job.
The work you do is very rewarding, but at the same time it is physically demanding. It is also dangerous due to the numerous situation that represent a threat to others’ safety and lives, as well as yours. As a police officer, you’ll minimize the risks of many injuries and illnesses by respecting all the caution procedures that are to be followed.
The good news is that the police officers receive additional compensation that usually includes court pay, longevity pay, and uniform allowance. There are many police officers that after five years of work will receive increased income. They also have that opportunity to drive home their patrol cars.
Another pro is that as a police officer you can retire from the force early. Of course that the retirement policies will depend from department to department. For instance in New York you can retire after 20 years on serving on the job or you can even move up in the rank, this depending entirely on your choice.
The con that will always accompany this job is related with the crime scene that many times can really mark you, leaving psychological effects, and even mental and physical health issues. This can happen because of a daily bases crime scene that involves death, cruelty addressed to children and animals, destructions and many other.
Police Officer job growth
For the following five to ten years, the employment growth for police officers is projected at an increased rate of 7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For any of these qualified candidates, job opportunities will be produced. The number of cases, and the nature of the job itself are other factors that allow an increased rate in this profession.
There is also a steady demand for the public safety and the services required that need to be provided by these professionals. However, this requirement continues to increase. The need for new opportunities for these professionals varies according to each location, but there is also great satisfaction in this job and plenty of stability.
Police Officer Salary
The salary for a starting police officer in the United States depends on factors such as location, the salaries that are set by the local governments, and the training and the level of education that you usually possess. The average pay for a new police officer is estimated to range from $26,610 and $49,510 per year. You can also add that those hired by larger jurisdictions generally are paying a higher wage.
The median annual salary that is gained by a police officer is estimated to reach at $54,232 per year. Those that are recorded to receive a bottom salary are estimated to gain less than $32,084 per year. The education as well as the state in which you are working influence a lot the level of the salary that you receive.
Those enrolled in the Miami Police Department will gain a starting salary that is estimated at $45,931 per year. At the same time, those that are working for the Los Angeles Police Department will gain a starting salary that reaches about $46,584 per year. This starting salary is gained only by having a high school diploma.
Those police officers that have 60 credit hours of college and have a 2.0 grade point average will start from an earning in Los Angeles that is estimated at $48,463 per year. Police officers that have a higher education and a bachelor’s degree or other advanced degrees will receive a salary estimated at $50,343 per year.
Working overtime many times is paid as a sign of compensating the police officers for working extra shifts and extending their working hours. Other supplementary efforts are paid too, such as caring for dogs, or for appearing in the court when it’s about work related cases.
The benefits that a police officer receive will involve a sick level paid holidays, medical coverage as well as tuition assistance. Their benefits can also be seen in increasing their chances of adding some more setting choices. For example, if you studied or are still studying a foreign language then you can be hired by federal agencies or even departments in areas that are urban.
Salary of a Police Officer in 2015
The salary of a police officer in 2015 is influenced by the same factors that were reminded earlier and it will vary from department to department. For instance in Seattle being a larger jurisdiction, the salary of a police officer after five or more years on the job will be estimated to reach about $88,928 per year.
Police Officer Salary in 2016
The median average earnings, for a police officer in the United States, for the year 2016 is estimated to reach at $48,816 per year, according to the salary data surveys provided by PayScale. The starting point in the incomes of these professionals is $31,982 per year and up to $82,267 per year. The granted bonus can reach up to $4,644 while the profit sharing usually reaches at $3,426.
According to Indeed, the income of a police officer reaches at an estimated average of $28,010 per year. Compared with other jobs with related titles, the earnings vary. For instance in the top positions are those working as a police officers law enforcement, with earnings that are estimated at around $66,010, the same amount as someone working in a position of military law enforcement officer.
On the other hand, a traditional security officer guard can expect to take home around $20,010 per year while a security officer tso, can usually expect to gain an average estimated at $19,010 per year.
The main factors that affect the incomes of police officers are the geographical location-state, city, town, areas, the type of employment in which one individual has found work, years of experience in the field and other as well.
When it comes to the geographical location factor, the national average estimated in the earnings of these specialists reaches at $48,233 per year. In Los Angeles, California, the median average for a police officer’s salary is estimated at $71,798, while in Chicago the same median average reaches at $64,176 per year. Other parts that offer good median earnings can be found in Washington, Miami, New York, and Philadelphia.
On the other side, there are also locations that will grant these professionals earnings that are found below the national average. For instance, Atlanta, Georgia, will grant police officers median earnings that reach only at 41,087 per year, while in St. Louis, Missouri, the earnings received are estimated at around $43,813 per year.
The years of experience affect as well this career, and the salaries received tend to have a continuous increase over time. According to the PayScale, a police officer with up to five years of working experience in the field can expect to gain around $43,010 per year, while one individual with 5 and up to 10 years of practice in the field will take home around $50,010 per year.
An experienced police officer, with 10 and up to 20 years of work can expect to earn around 54,010 per year, while the veterans in this field with more than 20 years of working activity and with plenty of experience gained, can expect to receive around $60,010 per year. According to these surveys, the vast majority of people who work as police officers are men rather than women.
Police Officer Salary in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom
In Canada, the average police officer salary is estimated to reach about C$75,554 per year. The salaries for these professionals will vary according to each state and region, but the employment prospects for this career are very good. The salaries are also estimated based on the years of experience. Those that have less than five years of experience in this field will earn less than C$60,010 per year. Those who are working for up to ten years on the field will gain a salary that is estimated to reach about C$80,010. These salaries for police officers are estimated increase over time.
In Australia, the median wage for a police officer is estimated to reach at about AU$68,154 per year. Those who already have gained experience at their working place will benefit of an increased salary, but those who have more than 20 years in the field will gain a salary that already started to decrease considerably. The bonuses that are added in this field can easily reach up to AU$15,910 per year leading to a salary that will range between AU$49,421 and AU$95,204 per year.
In the United Kingdom, the salaries will vary according to police forces. However, the starting salaries in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland are estimated at £23,318 per year and after the training, these are estimated to reach at £25,963 per year. However in Scotland the salaries for these professionals are slightly higher, and they are estimated to reach at about £23,494 and £26,225 per year after finishing the initial training period.
Conclusion on Police Officer Salary
A police officer salary will depend on various factors as well as on the number of demanding and the smaller or, the larger jurisdiction. Working in the police force you’ll have plenty of compensations and bonuses added as well as the chance to an increased salary.
- First Published Date: 11 May, 2015
- Last Updated Date: 27 November, 2016