It might seem like an afterthought when it comes to describing the important role of a police officer. Everyone is familiar with what they do and their place in our society is very well established.
Police officers are at the forefront of serving and protecting the lives and the property of our citizens and businesses. They are responsible for pursuing and apprehending anyone who breaks the law. And they obtain warrants, issue citations and make arrests.
Most police officer job duties include patrolling a particular jurisdiction or assigned area and performing investigations when suspicious activity arises in them. Police officers also respond to a wide variety of emergency and non-emergency calls, they issue tickets for any and all traffic-related violations, and they offer first-aid treatment to accident victims or others in need of medical attention. Additionally, police officers are responsible for the paperwork documenting their day-to-day activities, and they also prepare cases and testify in court when necessary.
Police Officer Job Education Requirements
The education requirements for a police officer range from a high school diploma, or the equivalent, to a college degree and beyond. Most police officers have to graduate from their agencies' training academy before completing a specified period of on-the-job training. Police officers must be U.S. citizens, usually at least 21 years old, and they must meet the demanding physical and personal qualifications that accompany their roles.
Applicants may have to pass a physical examination that includes a test of their vision, hearing, strength and agility, as well as a series of competitive written exams. Previous police work — even police dispatcher jobs — or military experience, is often viewed as beneficial for securing employment.
Police Officer Job Market
Police officers filled roughly 780,000 jobs in 2012. But, employment of all police officers and security positions, such as armed guard jobs, is projected to grow only about 5 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is slower than the average for all occupations.
The continued need for public safety will still result in a need for more police officers. Demand for employment, however, is expected to vary depending on local and state budgets.
Even with declining crime rates over the past few years, there will continue to be a demand for police officers to maintain and improve our public safety system.
Police Officer Job Salary Information
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for police officers was $56,980 in May 2012 — with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $33,060 and the top 10 percent earning more than $93,450.