Required Police Officer Skills And Characteristics
Much of what you need to know to be a successful police officer is taught during police academy training, but valuable skills can be learned anywhere. For example, having military experience or being bilingual can be an advantage when it comes to hiring. The following skills and tools are essential to help keep police officers and the public as safe as possible.
Leadership: Leadership qualities are important, not just for leading fellow officers, but for helping the civilian population in times of need. Police officers must be able to assess situations quickly and tell others what to do to keep safe.
Good judgment: Many problems faced by police officers have no easy solution. The right thing to do may require a complex solution and blur the lines between right and wrong. Good judgment helps police officers make the best decisions possible.
The ability to read people: Police officers interact with ordinary citizens every day. They must be able to figure out when something isnt right, not because of what is said, but because of what isnt said. There will also be disputes that boil down to one persons word against another. Being able to read peoples motives and tell when someone is being truthful is essential.
Physical strength and stamina: Law enforcement is demanding work, whether it is working long hours or having impromptu foot chases. Not all work will be dramatic, but physical ability is a much-needed skill for police officers.
Police Training: Getting Ahead
Officers who are currently in the field, as well as anyone hoping to become a police officer, can study up and better equip themselves for the job. Human relations is a huge one that helps with de-escalation, McKenna says. Id recommend the book Arresting Communication to every police officer.
Anything that teaches you to observe and assess an environment is extremely useful. To act in the heat of a moment, you have to make a decision. To make a decision, you have to understand the situation. To do that, you have to observe, McKenna says. Most of our training is focused on response to an attack. But the best officers make a habit of assessing every environment until its done subconsciously. Habits like that can save your life.
Physical activity is another aspect of police training you can do at all stages of the career path. Being physically healthy improves your survivability, the likeliness that you will recover from a wound and even the sharpness of your mental activity, McKenna says.
Choosing The Right Degree For Law Enforcement
Selecting the degree that is right for you is a decision that you should make after conducting thorough research. After all, the career path that you choose will likely be the focus of your life for several decades. If you choose a degree program that you will enjoy, you are likely to be motivated to get a high-paying job and to achieve further advancement. Therefore, you can set yourself up for success by putting in the effort to conduct your own research before diving into the degree of your choice.
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Successfully Pass A Background Check
You can expect any law enforcement agency youre applying for to conduct a number of checks into your background, including criminal history and even credit history. While this isnt literally the first step to becoming a police officer, it is the first one youll need to consider before you get too invested in the process. If you have concerns about how your background might impact your candidacy, you may want to consult a police academy admissions representative about it.
Your credit history may be analyzed because it gives potential employers an idea of your level of responsibility and potential problems like gambling-related debts. Police departments look into applicants history of criminal activity, employment, residency and academic records as well.
Basically, the police department is going to get deep into your business, says Adam Plantinga, and 17-year veteran sergeant with the San Francisco Police Department. Dont leave anything out on your background packet. If you omit something, even inadvertently, and it comes to light, you will likely be eliminated as a candidate. Departments are looking for responsible people who play by the rules.
Things like felonies and gross misdemeanors could disqualify you from becoming a police officer, but less serious offenses could also be problematicit really depends on the department and its policies.
How To Become A Police Officer In Ontario
The police officer occupation is one of the few jobs where education is not a barrier to earning potential. According to the Ontario government, the average annual police officer salary in Ontario with a high school diploma , earned $106,788 in 2016 compared to police officers with a bachelors degree who earned $106,543. Interestingly enough, degree holders earned $245/year less.
This is great news for those who only have a high school diploma but are looking for a fulfilling career with high-earning potential.
While education barriers are relatively low, becoming a police officer in Ontario is not a job that just any high school graduate can land.
In this article, we outline key information to help you land your dream job including:
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Police Officer Education Requirements
Education requirements for how to become a police officer range from a high school diploma to a college degree, depending on a police departments jurisdiction. For example, you may have to have a high school diploma and obtain a specific number of college credits. That said, 68% of our police officers have their bachelors degree, Vincent says.
Is Being A Police Officer A Good Job
There are clear advantages to working in this profession, but it comes with some of the largest downsides experienced in almost any career. As a police officer, you see some of the worst aspects of society, including domestic violence, ravages of drug abuse, and even murder. Its not just dealing with self-important speeders on the highway, but violent criminals as well. This can make policing extremely stressful, often forcing police officers to need therapy and other forms of emotional support.
But there are real advantages as well. As a police officer, you will experience pride in your job and, on occasion, the community will show its support and appreciation, which can make all the stresses worth the effort. Despite the challenges, youll know that your work makes the community a better place few careers can honestly make this claim.
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How Much Do Police Officers Make
According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for police officers is $63,150 per year. Transit and railroad police officers get paid more, earning on average $71,820 per year, while detectives and criminal investigators make a median annual salary of $83,170.
Pay can vary by state. Police officers in California rake in an annual mean wage of $105,220 meanwhile, police officers in Texas earn $63,740 a year on average. You can look up the average salary for police officers in your location by using the Monster Salary Guide.
School Safety Training Unit
The School Safety Training Unit provides an educational foundation for all school safety personnel, training them to be effective safety professionals. School safety personnel enhance the quality of New York City public education by maintaining a safe and secure environment in the cityâs public schools.
The School Safety Training Unit provides training and support for over 5,000 members of the School Safety Division including:
- Entry Level Recruit Training
- In-Service Training
- Command Level Training
The entry-level training entails 17 weeks of instruction at the Police Academy. Upon graduation, school safety agents are assigned to one of many New York Cityâs public schools.
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What To Expect As An Opp Police Officer
Policing is a challenging yet very rewarding career. The OPP is a perfect fit for people who are adventurous, hard-working, and dedicated to making a difference. OPP officers work in a fast-paced environment where they can expect high levels of stress including exposure to incidents and situations involving death and violent crimes. Policing is a demanding career and applicants should expect to work shifts, including nights, evenings, weekends, and holidays.
The Best College Majors To Be A Cop
If youre working toward becoming a police officer, consider the following options for your choice of college major.
If theres one college major most closely tied to the police officer career, its criminal justice. Criminal justice degree programs exist at the associates, bachelors and masters degree levels. Generally, this major is an interdisciplinary field of study that combines coursework in law and law enforcement, public administration, psychology and other subjects. Your core coursework as a criminal justice major might include criminal and constitutional law, the principles of criminology, criminal evidence and procedures, criminal investigation methods, juvenile justice and corrections and rehabilitation.
People often think of police science or police studies programs as identical to criminal justice programs, but they are slightly different. In fact, police science programs are somewhat more specialized than typical criminal justice programs. In a police science program, you would likely take some of the same core coursework that you would find in a criminal justice program, but you might also encounter more specialized classes, such as police administration and police operations.
Possible Police Officer Career Paths
In a large department, police officers may be promoted to detective or to a specialty area of police work, such as juvenile justice administration.
Promotions to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain are usually made according to a candidates position on a promotion list, depending on your on-the-job performance and examination scores. Many officers retire with a pension after only 20 or 25 years of service, and pursue a second career while still in their 40s.
Picking The Right Program
Once you know which program level you want to pursue, its time to figure out which one best suits your needs. When researching the schools that make it onto your all-important shortlist, keep the following questions in mind:
- Is the school regionally accredited?
- Can you afford the tuition?
- Does the timeline fit with your future goals?
- Does the program have a high success rate?
- Does the program provide POST exam prep?
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Become A Police Officer
Choose a career that makes a difference! The OPP is actively recruiting qualified candidates for the full-time position of Provincial Constable. We offer competitive salaries, pensions, paid vacation, benefit coverage and room for advancement. We also have career opportunities for experienced officers.
Police Departments In Oregon
From its smallest villages to the bigger cities of Portland and Eugene, Oregon is a diverse state with numerous local police departments. To become a police officer in one of these departments, hopeful new cops need to apply and pass the hiring procedures of a department before attending the state training academy. Be aware that while all candidates must meet state standards for law enforcement officers, cities are free to set additional qualifications that exceed the state minimums.
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Seek Education And Preparation
In most local and state police departments, a high school degree or equivalent fulfills the police education requirements for joining the force. While there aren’t police colleges, a college degree can benefit a candidate, and a minority of agencies requires a two-year or four-year college degree. For example, Boston College as a Criminal Justice undergraduate degree that provides a foundation for this job field. At the federal level, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s police officers, as well as its special agents, must own a four-year college degree. A level of higher education in a police-related discipline such as criminal justice helps officers gain promotions and earn higher salaries after they are on the force.
Associate Of Science Or Associate Of Arts
Following close behind the postsecondary certificate, according to O*NET OnLine, the second-most common degree recommended for cops is an associate degree, with 24% of respondents recommending this degree.4 An associate degree is a two-year degree that can be found as an Associate of Science , Associate of Applied Science , or an Associate of Arts , comprising about 60 credit hours of coursework. Degrees focusing on law enforcement, police science, criminal justice, or related fields like homeland security or forensic science provide the most useful training for prospective or current police officers. An associate degree in law enforcement may include courses such as Community Relations, Firearms, Criminal Procedures, Loss Prevention, and Forensic Investigation.
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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.
How To Become A Police Officer
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Police officers are the most visible members of law enforcement. They also play one of the most vital roles in a community, as their mission to serve and protect can have a positive impact on society. Those interested in how to become a police officer tend to be active, community-minded, and motivated to make a difference. These character traits set the tone for a journey to a career that plays a crucial civic role.
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What Degree Should I Get To Be A Police Officer
Being a police officer requires extensive training, a good education and a willingness to enforce the law. For many high school students who eventually want to become police officers, the path forward to get into this career is a bit mysterious. Should aspiring police officers go to college? If so, what level of degree will they need to be a cop, and what major should they study in preparation for this career?
IMAGE SOURCE: Pixabay, public domain
Phds In Criminal Justice
Getting a Ph.D. in criminal justice would put you in rare company, especially if you want to work at an agency. Although 29% of chiefs and sheriffs have a bachelors and 32% have a masters, only 3% have a doctoral degree.
Yet a Ph.D. in criminal justice opens several possibilities. If you want to teach at a university or conduct research, its essential. Even if academia isnt your thing, you could work to create or change policy.
Ph.D. programs are, by nature, individualized. Your main output is a dissertation, which is written after conducting original research. By the end of the program, you will be an expert in a small sliver of the criminal justice field. But what sliver? Depending on the program, you could, for example, bone up on budgetary procedures and strategic planning, both of which are necessary to run a department, or you could explore the social determinants of a specific type of crime in a specific area.
A Ph.D. in criminal justice will likely include the following courses:
Weve written about doctoral degrees in criminal justice at length, including about the different types of criminal justice doctorates. Specifically, check out our interview with a criminal justice program director to see if a Ph.D. is worth it for you.
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How To Become A Police Officer In Toronto
The Toronto Police Service is an elite law enforcement organization dedicated to serving and protecting the people of Toronto. As the Canadian metropolitan area with the most police officers, Toronto has many career opportunities for aspiring and current police officers, but the hiring process can be competitive. A policing degree or a criminology degree can set candidates apart, lead to promotions, and open doors to a broad range of job opportunities.
Lauriers online Bachelor of Arts in Policing and online Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Policing develop analytical and critical thinking skills, foster key competencies required for leadership roles, and give public safety professionals an edge in their overall careers and salary potentialno matter where in Canada they may be studying from.