What’s It Like To Be A Police Officer
Police Officers serve to protect public life and property. They undertake extensive on-the-job training and perform a diverse range of duties, including: maintaining public order and safety being first responder to emergency calls investigating and prosecuting criminal offences enforcing traffic law securing and examining crime scenes and dealing with violent offenders or people under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Police Officers in Australia are required to carry a firearm and must pass a series of background checks and psychometric, fitness and medical tests.
Police Officers interact with members of the public daily and must be adept at resolving disputes, de-escalation, and remaining calm under pressure.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Police Officer
The life of a police officer is a high-demand career, requiring the upmost integrity, a broad assortment of mental and physical skills, and a steadfast commitment to the protection of your community or the nation as a whole. As such, vigorous training is needed for this noble profession.
But first, you have to meet some of the most basic requirements, including
- U.S. citizen
- 18 years of age
- Valid drivers license
- Clean criminal record*
*It is possible to be hired as a police officer if your record only has minor offenses in the distant past. Felonies will disqualify you from entry as a police officer.
Additionally, an entrance exam testing basic comprehension skills is typically required to be accepted as a police recruit and enter the training academy. View a study guide to get an idea of what type of questions may be asked.
Reserve Constables / Community Safety Officers
Some larger urban police forces have an additional class of officers who may be called Reserve Constables, Community Safety Officers, Auxiliary Officers. These officers may have reduced training/education requirements depending on their police force. They usually work as a volunteer, often assisting at community events, crime prevention programs, or traffic safety for their police force. They may be classed as Auxiliary Constables or Special Municipal Constable. For more details on qualifications and requirements, check with individual police forces in your area. For examples, see:
Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.
You can look at the Vancouver Sun& The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.
Online Job Postings
- Municipal Police Forces in BCPositions with municipal police forces in BC, BC Transit police and railway police services are posted by each individual police force. See: B.C. Police Forces
Recommended Reading: How To Become A Police Officer With No Experience
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:
How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Officer In Toronto
It takes 24 weeks to complete the prescribed police training and become sworn in as a 4th class constable. As cadets-in-training, new recruits attend a three-week orientation at the Toronto Police College followed by a 12-week session at the Ontario Police College. Training concludes with nine weeks of training at the Toronto Police College.
Read Also: How To Obtain A Copy Of Police Report Online
Police Officer Jobs & Job Description
Police officers maintain a sworn law enforcement position that involves protecting life and property of community members through enforcement of laws and ordinances. Duties vary slightly from department to department, but police officers core duties to their organization and to the public are as follows:
Senior police officers may pursue more of an administrative track as Sergeant, leading to Captain, or may pursue cases of more complexity and experience is required as a detective or lieutenant. By either career path, senior police officer jobs often require a deeper base of experience, and may require individuals to handle additional confidential information and advanced decision-making and ethical challenges. While jobs do vary, such senior roles have the following tasks:
- Assign police work of varying difficulty
- Use available resources and problem solving techniques
- Deploy staff for community engagement
- Develop resources
- Enforce and emphasize laws and ordinances
- Prevent crime through a variety of means
- Investigate complex cases
- Network with other professionals and stakeholders
- Prioritize cases based on stakeholder need, violence, or scope
- Perform hazardous and strenuous tasks
- Exercise initiative and judgment in various situations
- Oversee departmental matters
Average Training Program Duration: 2
The average training program duration for a Police Officer in the academy can vary from state to state and even city to city
Some police academy programs can take as little as twelve weeks to graduate from.
Others can take up to a year, it all depends on what is required of your jurisdiction.
The important thing to remember is that experience is key in this field of work.
Don’t Miss: How To View Police Reports Online
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.
Resources For Police Officers:
- Fraternal Order of Police: With over 2,100 local chapters, the FOP is a voluntary membership organization working to promote officers interests. Its involved in political outreach, community service, and labor representation.
- International Association of Chiefs of Police: The IACP is an advocacy organization looking to improve the quality of policing via policy. Its initiatives include providing officer training on countering human trafficking and conducting a census of law enforcement agencies on tribal lands.
- International Police Association: As a fraternal police organization, the IPAs primary mission is to promote friendship among its members, who are active and retired law enforcement professionals.
- National Association of Police Organizations: NAPO is comprised of various police professional organizations and unions from across the United States. NAPOs overarching goal is to protect and promote the interest of police officers through education and political activity.
- National Black Police Association: The NBPA not only represents current and retired African American police officers, but also is active in improving relationships between police departments and African American communities.
Don’t Miss: What Kind Of Bikes Do Police Use
How To Become A Police Officer In Florida
The Sunshine State offers a multitude of advantages for its 20.2 million residents, including great weather and good communities.1 Residents in Florida are served and protected by the estimated 38,770 police officers working in the state.2 The state-level requirements for becoming a Florida cop are similar to other states. However, individual agencies may have additional requirements on top of the states recommended standards. For example, many agencies require new recruits to have an associate degree, while the state educational minimum is a high school diploma or GED certificate. On this page, youll find out more about Floridas requirements for law enforcement training as well as more information on the top police departments in the state.
Police Community Support Officer
Although they do not have the same powers as a police officer, PCSOs play a key role on the frontline of neighbourhood policing. According to the College of Policing, the job involves:
- dealing with minor offences
- providing support to police officers
- conducting house-to-house enquiries
- guarding crime scenes
- providing crime prevention advice.
Starting salaries are typically between Â£17,500 and Â£20,000, although North Yorkshire Police states that their trainees currently earn Â£21,135, which rises to Â£23,406 with experience.
This is a uniformed role, and you’ll work shifts including evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
Apply for PCSO positions directly through the police force that you want to join. You do not generally need any formal qualifications, but you’ll need to meet the basic eligibility requirements set by individual police forces. Check their websites for details.
The application process typically involves an application form, online tests, an interview and assessment centre. You’ll also have to demonstrate your fitness and pass a medical test. Successful applicants will then undergo a training programme lasting between three weeks and three months.
You may later decide to apply to become a police officer, or continue as PCSO.
Also Check: Are Police Scanner Apps Live
How Hard Is Police Academy
The police academy is, above all, an educational institution. In classroom settings, youll learn the basics of law enforcement, crime prevention, patrol, conflict management, and investigations. You will also complete field training that will cover firearms proficiency, self defense, agility and strength training, and more.
Similar to basic training for a military recruit, this all-encompassing education requires physical and mental endurance. Youll be up early for exercise, attend strict classroom settings, drill in firearms, learn how to use non-lethal measures, and likely spend hours in the hot sun running, jumping, wrestling, and becoming a more physically-fit police recruit. Its not easy, but at the end you will be prepared to face the physical, mental, and emotional rigors of police work.
Q How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Officer
This really depends on how much education you want to receive.
Some Police Officers earn their Associates degree, which can take around two years.
Others decide that theyd like to earn a Bachelorss degree, and that takes around four years.
Some even want to earn a Masters, which is yet another two years.
Depending on you, it can take from 2 to 6 years to become a Police Officer.
Recommended Reading: Where Do I Get A Copy Of Police Report
The Federal Government Recommends It
The Task Force on 21st Century Policing was intended to strengthen community policing and strengthen trust among law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. Its primary recommendations included improved Training & Education.
Citing such factors as international terrorism, evolving technologies, rising immigration, changing laws, new appreciation of cultural mores and a growing mental health crisis, the report asserted that: The skills and knowledge required to effectively deal with these issues requires a higher level of education as well as extensive and ongoing training in specific disciplines.
The report includes more than ten pages of recommendations surrounding higher education and learning for law enforcement professionals, including the recommendation thatstate and local agencies encourage and incentivize higher education. For officers entering the field or looking to grow within their departments, there has never been a better time to consider an advanced degree and take advantage of the many leadership opportunities available in this rapidly evolving field.
Going Back To College While Working Full
Law enforcement officers looking to promote are often left with the question how do I find time to earn my masters degree with my unpredictable work schedule and numerous family obligations? For many working in criminal justice, the answer lies in an online degree program designed for working adults a program that allows students to balance their schedule while earning a degree in a realistic timeframe and without having to drive to campus.
The University of San Diegos online masters degree in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership is one such program designed specifically for experienced law enforcement professionals. Students in the program range from newer officers interested in eventually advancing to command staff positions to current law enforcement administrators looking to refine and improve their leadership skills. No matter what stage of their career a student is in, one highlight of the program is the practical application of learning concepts to the daily working environment of students. Program alumni Jennifer Tejada, retired chief of police from Emeryville, California said, Theres experiential learning and theres academic learning, and I think we need both. Another alumnus was able to put his practical and academic learning to use right way. Brent Kaneyuki from the Sacramento Police Department said I was promoted to Lieutenant the same day I completed the LEPSL program. I attribute much of my recent success to the program.
Recommended Reading: How To Pass Police Academy
What Degree Do You Need To Be A Police Officer
Police officers typically hold a high school diploma or a college degree. However, all police officers are graduates of their departments training academy. Many police officers are also military veterans with extensive experience in weapon handling. If you want to become a police officers after graduating from college then consider majoring in criminal justice or a related major.
Police Officer Jobs By Jurisdiction
Another aspect of law enforcement to take into consideration is the jurisdiction of the agency you want to work for. Across the U.S., there are city, county, and state levels of law enforcement. City police officers stay within city limits and often patrol the streets or work on citywide investigations. Police detectives usually require a bachelors degree as well as experience in street patrol.
County law enforcement typically consists of a sheriff and several deputies who serve warrants, subpoenas, and respond to rural civil disputes. Bailiffs and constables are under the sheriffs department and often serve the courts.
State law enforcement officers patrol highways, interstates, and county roads the jurisdiction of a state patrol officer is designated to a region of the state and includes those jurisdictions covered by city and county officers. Each law enforcement agency, no matter the size, has specialized units such as narcotics and SWAT, and offer specialized training through the academy for each unit.
Federal agents often travel across the nation or are assigned to various states, which can be a bit unstable if you have a family. For example, working as a federal air marshal requires air travel across the nation to secure domestic and international United States flights. The hours and requirements can be physically and emotionally demanding with little recovery time between assignments.
Look At Other Qualifications
In addition to education requirements, candidates for police officer jobs must meet a range of other minimum standards. These differ among agencies, but the prevailing basic standards include that applicants are United States citizens, 21-years-old, own a driver’s license, pass a physical and pass a background check. The physical requirements can extend beyond a simple medical exam to meeting basic physical fitness qualifications, such as running a set distance within a set period. Police agencies often require applicants to pass a drug test.
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.
You May Like: Can Police Track A Textfree Number
Police Officer Education Prerequisites
To become a police officer, youll need these education prerequisites:
- Be a U.S. citizen over 20 years old
- Not be a convicted felon
- Have earned a high school diploma or a GED
- Must pass several competitive written and physical examinations
- If youre thinking of working at the state or federal level, youll need a college degree.
List Of Police Services Websites
Thank you for your interest in our local police services. Below is a comprehensive list of of the Police Services in Ontario. Once you click the link, you will be directed to the Police website.
Those interested in federal-wide policing can contact the RCMP for job opportunities. Please note that the RCMP does have a different Constable Selection Process and does not require the OACP Certificate in order to apply.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Section 83 of the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019, stipulates a person appointed as a police officer must:
is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada
is at least 18 years of age
is physically and mentally able to perform the duties of the position, having regard to his or her own safety and the safety of members of the public
is of good character
has successfully completed, prescribed training by the Minister
In addition, you must
obtained a University Degree or a diploma from a college of applied arts and technology,
possess a valid driver’s licence with no more than six accumulated demerit-points, permitting you to drive an automobile in Ontario with full driving privileges
have current certification in Standard First Aid Level C CPR by the time the offer of employment is given
be able to pass a security clearance as well as background investigation, credit and reference checks.
This certificate is valid for 2 years. That includes all documents in Part A and the Part B, Part C testing.
Read Also: What Do You Need To Join The Police Academy