What Does A Police Officer Do
In the simplest sense, police officers enforce laws and protect life and property. But of course, there is much more to it than that. Heres how it breaks down:
Policeofficers are sworn to protect and serve the communities in which they live andwork. They enforce laws, obtain warrants, arrest and interview suspects, securecrime and accident scenes, write detailed reports and testify in court, amongother duties. Officers often respond to emergency calls, working shifts thatoperate around the clock.
The specific duties of a police officer will be numerous and diverse. Based on appointment, length of service and training, they may work with a K-9 unit responding to suspicions of drugs or dangerous weapons in vehicles and other property. Or, they might take a role on the SWAT team where they need to know tactics and procedures for working under dangerous conditions. Much of their daily routine will involve patrolling a certain area, such as a portion of a town or city. As they move up the ranks, they may investigate crimes ranging from petty theft to murder.
How Much Does It Cost To Attend Police Academy
In Michigan, for example, you can attend Grand Valley State University Police College for a total of $2,000 in tuition and uniforms. The Central Texas Police Academy, on the other hand, costs $4,725. Tuition can be up to $5500 if you pay out of pocket. Sometimes there are extra costs for books and uniforms, sometimes these are included in the base rate.
Police Officer Salaries Across The Us
Salaries of police officers are based on many factors, including experience, skills and training. However, one of the most important factors is based on geography. Certain areas of the country pay more, but are often in areas that have higher costs of living. For more information about what police officers can make and where they can make it, check out the map below.
What Skills Are Required To Be A Successful Police Officer
- Interpersonal skills
- Empathy and compassion for others
- Effective communication
- Clear and concise writing
- Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- The ability to remain calm
- Working knowledge of public safety software/systems
- Understanding of regulatory reporting requirements
- Good physical condition
Job Outlook For Ontario Police Officers
The labour market conditions for police officer jobs are currently Average. This indicates that these jobs are not difficult to find nor are they necessarily in abundance. Salaries have increased at a slower rate compared to jobs rated as Above average, but faster than those rated as Below average.
According to the Job Bank, employment growth and retirement will lead to a moderate number of new positions. In other words, the balanced labour market from 2016 – 2018 means there have been as many jobs available as there have been job seekers.
You May Like: How Much Do Police Detectives Make
How To Become An Ontario Provincial Police Officer
Interested in joining the Ontario Provincial Police? Here are just a few of the minimum qualifications needed to beat out the competition:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Must have an Ontario Secondary School program diploma , or equivalent
- Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Must have a value Class G license with no more than six demerit points.
- Must not have a criminal record
- Must be certified in standard first aid and CPR
- Must pass medical, psychological, security, and financial assessment tests
Another must for the OPP? Being in top physical condition and having a willingness to serve. The latter is one to consider as detachments range from being located in large urban areas to small, isolated settings. When applying, you must pick your top six locations.
If you become a successful hire, the Constable Selection System requires a medical assessment be completed. This includes meeting the hearing and vision standards.
Check out this self-assessment tool to see where you stand.
Police Officer Hiring Process
The police officer hiring process is much different than that of any other job. It is not simply attending an interview and then being approved for the position. In order to become a police officer, you need to undergo a series of tests and each of them can disqualify you. The entire process is quite competitive and each police department can put more importance on a single element of the process rather than on the other. Nevertheless, the hiring process consists of several elements that are common for each agency no matter if we talk about local, state or federal law enforcement.
Once your application is accepted, you need to be tested in order to prove that you have what it takes to do the job. This includes checking both your general knowledge, writing skills, physical abilities, and your background. Here are the steps that you need to successfully pass through, in order to become a police officer:
- Physical ability test
The physical ability test checks the fitness of the candidate and their readiness to face the physical challenges of the police officer job. Basically, there are two approaches adopted by the agencies into performing the PAT: the job simulation method and the fitness-based method. In both cases, it is a pass/fail test and the applicant must meet certain criteria in order to pass. Check with the department which of the two approaches they use and train for the test.
- Medical exam
- Background check
- Polygraph test
- Psychological screening
- Oral board interview
You May Like: Do You Have To Pay For The Police Academy
The Ability To Make A Difference
Becoming a police officer also allows the opportunity to make a positive impact in a community, down to the individual level. Police officers can improve the quality of life and peace of mind of the citizens they serve, whether by responding promptly to an emergency call, keeping children safe at a crosswalk or offering assurances after a home break-in. Beyond that, police officers are in a unique position to make a difference through simple daily acts of kindness and heroism.
What Documents Do You Need
- Birth Certificate
- Completed Preference Points Request form, with qualifying documents .
- CompletedHardship Waiver, with qualifying documents .Please Note: *There is a non-refundable base fee of $49 for testing and an additional cost for each department where you indicate you want to apply. Payments are made electronically using a credit card. If you are interested in testing for this opportunity but, are unable to pay the fee, please complete the hardship waiver form and return it with the required documentation, as soon as possible.
Recommended Reading: How Much Is Police Academy In Texas
What Are The Job Requirements
While specific requirements can vary from state to state and even agency to agency, most departments look for these minimum qualifications in their applicant pools:
- The applicant is a citizen of the United States.
- The applicant is at least 18 years of age .
- The applicant is a high school graduate or has obtained a GED.
- The applicant has a valid driver’s license.
Pros And Cons Of Becoming A Police Officer
Like any job, being a police officer has its perks and its drawbacks. Pursuing a career in law enforcement is a reasonable commitment and requires a high level of dedication. Those who genuinely want to serve and protect must know that it is important to consider all aspects of the job before deciding to pursue a career as a police officer. You will be expected to go through extensive and ongoing training and will be facing dangerous situations in this line of work.
Below are a number of points which can help you gain a better understanding of what to consider when making this decision:
Don’t Miss: Where Can You Get A Police Scanner
Pass The Licensing Exam
The next step to becoming a police officer is to earn a passing score on your states police licensing board exam. Your education and training will prepare you to take the Peace Officer Standards and Training exam.
Each state has its own licensing board, so the tests will also vary. But generally speaking, most POST exams cover topics like: practical application and techniques, civil and criminal law, community policing, victims rights and management and communication. By passing this capstone exam, you are licensed to become a police officer and enforce the law in your jurisdiction. You are now free to seek employment with a police department.
Meet Other Minimum Requirements
These requirements include:
Age: Depending on the department, officers need to be at least 18 or 21 years old.
Driver’s license: Police officers must have a valid driver’s license and a generally clean driving record. This requirement is due to many officers using a patrol car on the job.
Background check: Aspiring police officers must pass a criminal background check to ensure they have not committed any major crimes or offenses.
Physical examination: All applicants must also be physically fit and able to pass a physical and medical exam.
Psychological evaluation: Police officers are required to make challenging decisions in high-pressure situations, which requires sound mental health. This evaluation may be in the form of an interview or questionnaire that assesses your personality, temperament, attitudes and core beliefs.
You May Like: What To Do To Become A Police Officer
Reasons I’m Still A Police Officer
One of the first things you need to know is that becoming a police officer today is perhaps one of the most rigorous and trying experiences a person can have. In the old days, it wasnt unusual for someone to be hired, given a gun and a badge and then told, OK, youre hired. Start tonight at midnight! Not so today.
Here are some other things you need to consider if you’d like to pursue this challenging and rewarding career.
Ready To Start Working Your Way To A Police Detective Badge
Your dream police detective career wont happen overnight, but you likely didnt expect it to. Detectives do some seriously crucial work in society. They need to be well trained and good at solving crimes. Now that you know how to become a police detective, youre a little closer to cracking some of those cases yourself!
You know whatll be expected of you, you understand youll need extra training and youre ready to wait until a department needs your skills as a detective. If youre ready to tackle the first step toward becoming a police detectiveeducation, then learn more about Rasmussen Colleges Criminal Justice degree programs and how they can help make you a more well-rounded candidate for law enforcement positions.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, . EDITORS NOTE: This article was originally published in 2015. It has since been updated. Insights from Carlin remain from the original article.
Also Check: How Does One Become A Police Officer
Potential Disqualifiers For A Policing Career In Canada
When preparing yourself for a policing career, you need to be aware of what will disqualify you from the police application process. As far as the written, physical, and medical exams, the requirements are fairly consistent across all agencies.
Language Disqualifier: You need to be fluent in either English or French including being able to speak, read, and understand one of these languages.
Physical Disqualifier: You cannot be in poor physical condition. Failure to successfully complete the physical examination in the minimum time frame is an automatic disqualification.
Test particulars can vary from one police agency to the next. However, all tests simulate critical incidents that police officers are exposed to. For example. the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation , used by the RCMP, consists of three sections:
Psychological Disqualifiers: A candidate can be disqualified if they do not meet the minimum psychological examination requirements.
Work Environment Disqualifiers: Police departments require you to work shift work which includes nights, evenings, weekends, and holidays as policing takes place 24 hours per day. If you are unwilling to accommodate this type of work schedule, you will be disqualified from the process.
S To Become A Police Officer In Indianapolis
Once you have satisfied the above mentioned minimum requirements, you may continue with the actual hiring process, which would involve the following steps:
After these steps have been successfully cleared, the candidate then moves on to the training academy. They will be sworn in as recruit officers and will enter the IMPD Law Enforcement Training Academy. The training academy is a state-certified center that provides instruction on criminal justice, police skills and human behavior. Candidates are required to complete 932 hours of training in a 24-week time period. The academy also involves physical courses.
Don’t Miss: Why Is My Accident Police Report Taking So Long
Ontario Police College Physical Component
As of September 2019, all applicants that have been offered a pre-employment letter by a police service will be required to successfully pass the PREP during their Basic Constable Training course at the Ontario Police College. The Ontario Police College is located in Aylmer, Ontario, which is the official training facility for all police constables across the Province.
- For Support, contact us at:
Is Becoming A Police Officer In Your Future
While the steps to becoming a police officer may seem lengthy, completing them is absolutely necessary if you want to achieve the fulfilling career youve set your sights on. And a good law enforcement program will help you navigate the process.
Now that youre familiar with the process of how to become a police officer, you may be curious if you have what it takes to excel on the job. Learn more in our article, Often Overlooked Qualities of a Great Police Officer.
If youre already set on becoming a police officer, visit our Law Enforcement degree page to learn how we can help you take the next step toward becoming a police officer in Minnesota.
The Law Enforcement programs at Rasmussen University are not aligned to the standards of any professional licensing body other than the MN POST and are not intended to satisfy professional licensure requirements of any professional licensing agency in any other state.Editors note: This article was originally published in June 2016. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2020. Insight from Shetler and Plantinga remain from the original.
Also Check: How To Get A Job At The Police Department
Police Officer Application Process
The application process itself also requires some time in order to be completed. First of all, you need to go through the job openings in order to find the best option for you. Once you land on the right offer, you need to make sure that you meet all the listed criteria and then submit your application. Follow strictly the requirements about the application submission and fill in your details correctly and completely. Failing to do so may disqualify you at the very beginning of the hiring process or at a later stage.
The processing time of your application depends on the agency you have chosen. Note that there are a lot of applications, so it takes time to process them all and get back to the candidates. Each police department has its own time-frame and procedures but generally, it takes about three to four months for an application to be fully reviewed, checked and a decision to be taken whether the applicant shall proceed with the hiring process or not.
It is advisable to utilize this time for getting prepared for the next steps of the hiring process the exams that you need to take. You can enroll in an online police exam preparation course like the one offered by PoliceExam911. You can learn how to master the polygraph test or check the Mastering the Police Interview course so that you are ready for those elements. You can also start your physical training and be ready to pass the physical abilities test.
You Will See Things You Wish You Didn’t Have To
It’s the nature of the job. Once you get out of the academy, and probably while you’re still in field training, you’ll start responding to all sorts of calls, many of which will be tragic. Accidents, injuries, abuse, and death all will become a regular part of your week, if not your day.
Dealing with victims of crime and families of lost loved ones is difficult and painful, but it’s perhaps the most important part of the job of a police officerand one you’ll have to get used to pretty quick once you begin your career.
Associate Degree In Law Enforcement
An associate degree in law enforcement prepares graduates for police careers by providing the information necessary to pass police academy entrance exams. The associate degree usually takes two years to complete, is a well-rounded degree with general education courses mixed in, and serves as a stepping stone to the bachelors degree. Because each associate degree program will be tailored to the requirements of the local and regional law enforcement departments, curriculums will vary. However, some of the classes incoming students can expect include:
Eligibility To Become A Police Officer
- Candidates must be at least 20 years of age and under 35 years of age at the time of written exam but must be at least 21 years of age and under 36 years of age at time of appointment, pursuant to the Illinois Municipal Code as amended .
- Must be an U.S. citizen at the time of appointment.
- Must possess a valid Class D Illinois drivers license or a valid out-of-state drivers license of similar classification.
- The applicant must have achieved a high school diploma with a grade point average of 2.5 out of 4.0 , or a G.E.D. with a minimum composite score of no less than 2480 points, or at least sixteen hours of college credit with a grade point average of 2.5 out of 4.0 regardless of high school grade point average or G.E.D. composite score.
- Must be able to meet vision standard at time of appointment. Must be correctable to 20/20 with both eyes open including field of vision/depth perception/color vision within normal ranges.
- Must possess a valid Police Officer Physical Ability Test certification/POWER card. Certifications will be considered valid within one year of the issuance date.
- Must be of excellent moral character and personal integrity.
- A subsequent polygraph and psychological examination will be required, in addition to a thorough background investigation, drug screen and per-employment physical.
Recommended Reading: How To Obtain A Police Report In Minnesota