Ensure A Career As A Police Officer Is Right For You
As with any job, its important to take a hard look at what the position requires to determine whether the career path is really right for you. Not only is it important to consider the career in general, its also important to look at the education required, the on-the-job intensity that police officers might experience on a day-to-day basis, and other factors. Its also a good idea to consider advancement if you have an eye toward higher-level administrative or federal work, is becoming a police officer the best stepping stone? Here are some questions to ask before diving into training to become a police officer.
- Do I have the physical strength to restrain dangerous individuals or save innocent civilians?
- Can I effectively read peoples emotions and feelings, in particular when it comes to assessing an individuals credibility and danger to others?
- Can I make difficult decisions that often have no ideal outcomes?
- Am I comfortable taking on a leadership role, whether it be as a community resource or point of assurance during a crisis?
- Am I good at communicating with others, especially in high stress situations?
If you answered yes to these questions, you may be an excellent fit for a police officer career.
What Are My Options In Patrol Work
Most patrol officers work in one-person or two person patrol cars. In high-density areas, patrol officers often walk their beats. In urban areas with a lot of traffic, bike patrols are often used as a more flexible way to cover ground. As a patrol officer, you can also work on a Community Policing Team, an Anti-Crime Team or undercover.
Keep Out Of Trouble In School
Getting sent to the principals office is not a good start to a police officers career. Be respectful of teachers and fellow students and set an example for your peers by modeling good behavior. Not only will this put you in very good stead with the teachers and administrators, but the self-esteem value of being the good kid is immeasurable. Kids who behave badly tend to accumulate negative self-esteem.
Read Also: How To Do A Police Report On Identity Theft
How Important Is Accreditation
Accreditation refers to an outside organization reviewing a particular school or program to ensure it meets certain standards of quality. Accreditation is important for police training programs because it serves as a mark of quality graduates who complete their education and training can be confident that what they have earned will be accepted by future employers and peers. The specific entities that offer accreditation will vary depending on the program. For instance, many associate or bachelors degree programs will not be accredited at the program level, but the school offering the degree will be accredited. This will usually be a regional or national accrediting organization recognized by the US Department of Education.
As for the accreditation of police training academies, the most prominent is the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA.
Apply To Become A Police Officer
Working as a police officer is a popular job, so it makes sense that each job opening has more than a few applicants. In fact, in some areas of the country, becoming a police officer can be a highly competitive process, with hundreds of qualified applicants vying for only a handful of positions. Given this, its very important to learn how to stand out from the pack of hopefuls and get the attention of those who call the shots when hiring time rolls around. The following resources can help you with everything from cleaning up your resume to understanding how to interview for the job you really want.
Read Also: What’s Needed To Become A Police Officer
Opportunities To Make A Difference In People’s Lives
A police officer often confronts people who are engaging in criminal activity and protects people from harm. Depending on how a police officer responds, they can make a difference in the lives of individuals whom they serve and protect. They can show compassion and empathy while still remaining authoritative. They might also comfort people who are experiencing difficult situations or circumstances.
Example Answer : Build A Relationship With The Community
“I want to be a police officer to help restore the relationship between the police and the community. I have always viewed the police as people who want to help others, which is extremely important to me. While living in this community, I have noticed that the public could respect and trust the police more. As an officer, I plan to make an effort to rebuild this important relationship. I think that with a more positive police presence, we can gain people’s trust again and help them live better lives.”
Don’t Miss: Where Can I Buy A Police Radar Detector
Step : Minimum Qualifications
First, you must determine if you are eligible to become a Peace Officer in Georgia. According to Georgia Law you must meet or be willing to meet all of the criteria below to become employed or certified as a peace officer:
Complete Coursework & Field Training
The coursework involved in a program that leads to work as a police officer can vary depending upon the institution and the degree level. For instance, those in a training academy will dive right into the nitty-gritty of everyday police work and not touch on general education requirements, such as you would find in an associate degree program. In both the associate and the bachelors program, students will encounter not only general education courses and several possible electives, but they will also focus on the core courses for police officers, such as those in criminal justice, ethics, corrections systems, communication, and more. Heres a good idea of courses you might encounter, either in the core curriculum of the degree program or at the police academy:
- Patrol Procedures
Don’t Miss: Can I See My Police Report Online
Stay Out Of Trouble After School
At the risk of overstating the obvious, being the subject of a police investigation is also not a good way to start a law enforcement career. Dont commit dopey acts even completely legal ones that would raise negative attention of a police officer.
Dont get involved in drugs. Keep in mind that underage drinking is against the law, so if you go to a party where alcohol is being served, youd be making a bad career choice to partake. Also, even in states where marijuana has been deemed legal for medical use, an aspiring officer should refrain.
Is There Any Way To Skip Patrol And Go Directly Into A Specialty Unit
No. Both entry-level and lateral candidates must have 3-5 years as a patrol officer before transfers or promotions. Having experience with the unpredictable and diverse nature of events that come with patrol work is absolutely vital background knowledge before making a transition to any other type of police work. Modern policing is very complex and every city is very different so it is also important that you learn the specifics of this department and this city before any transfers.
People choose to go into policing because they love the job. In fact, many patrol officers find that they love the work so much that they choose to stay in patrol for their entire career. If you are not interested in patrol work at all and only want to be part of an advanced specialty unit, you are probably not ready to realistically consider a career in policing.
Recommended Reading: Where To Buy Police Boots
Step : Post Application Physical Examination And Fingerprints
Once a background investigation is complete, register on the Georgia POST website as a new user so you can begin your online application. It is essential that you complete this application correctly or your admittance to the Basic Training Course will be delayed. There are several attachments to the application as well as a requirement for a physical examination and a requirement that you are fingerprinted. You should go to Georgia Applicants Processing Service to be fingerprinted. Physical examinations generally cost about $30 and the fee to be fingerprinted is roughly $53. If you have any questions, contact your chosen academy for assistance.
Become A Police Officer: Step
In Georgia, the peace officer certification process is regulated by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council . Therefore, some of the processes and paperwork you must complete will be through POST, while others will be completed directly through the GPSTC regional academy where you will receive your training.
Students attending basic training who are not employed by a law enforcement agency are referred to aspre-service candidates. Below are the steps that pre-service candidates must take before being accepted into a police academy to become certified as a Peace Officer in the state of Georgia.
Also Check: Can You Get Copies Of Police Reports
Qualities Of A Police Officer
- We respect life and liberty. We are sensitive and inclusive, treating everyone with dignity and compassion.
- We are guided by the principles of justice. We employ the highest ethical standard, we demand accountability, consistency, fairness and honesty in the performance of our duties.
- We take pride in our department. We are committed to excellence in our profession, and we maintain the highest standard of education in our field.
- Maintain a mental and moral strength to resist opposition and fairness of mind. Always stand by your fellow officers in the face of danger or extreme difficulty. Position duties are inclusive of all required tasks. Employees perform other related work as required.
How To Become A Police Officer
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- the Police Now graduate leadership scheme
Alternatively you could self-fund a Professional Policing Degree before applying to join a force. You are not guaranteed a job at the end of the course. Instead, you have to apply for probationary constable roles within 5 years of completing this degree.
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
Don’t Miss: How To Get A Job At The Police Department
What Are The Disadvantages Of Being A Police Officer
The biggest enemy of this type of profession is public perception. Sadly, most people have not had a pleasant experience with policemen and so this has tainted their view of this profession. It is hard enough to secure the safety of the community entrusted to you, but what makes it more difficult is that you already have an obstacle in front of you before you even take a step. Hollywood can be partly to blame for this as they emphasize the narrative of good officers gone bad and beyond redemption. The challenge for the police department today is the prove to people that they are not all corrupt money makers and rule-breakers themselves. Another disadvantage is the high risk of injury and death. Apprehending criminals comes at a dangerous price, and there is always the possibility of getting injured or killed on the job. Any officer needs to be prepared for this type of scenario as they are likely to experience it many times throughout their career. Finally, being in this type of job can take precious time away from the family.
Ficers Respond To Policing Poll: Only 7% Would Recommend Becoming A Cop
When asked about their thoughts on leaving law enforcement, only a third said they will ‘remain on the job as long as possible’
In June 2020, Calibre Press and Police1 asked officers across the country to share their thoughts on the state and future of the police profession. The response was overwhelming. Heres what readers said:
Also Check: Where To Find Police Records
Explain What You Plan To Do In Your Role
In your answer, explain what you would strive to do in your role as a police officer. This helps the interviewer see that you are a motivated and ambitious person who is right for the position. Show the interviewer that you want to make real, positive changes in your community and that you have a plan for how to do this, and provide an answer that demonstrates your commitment to public safety.
Here are a few ideas for what you might plan to do on the job to show that you have good intentions as a police officer:
Lower crime rates in the community
Help people build trust and respect for the police
Treat people of all backgrounds fairly
Work to help people understand the law better
Make people feel safe and secure
Mentor troubled children and teens
Help ex-convicts become productive members of society
Related:Differences Between Law Enforcement Jobs
Training Institutions For Police Officers
Now that you know what options there are for becoming a police officer, its important to know where they are offered. There are many schools that exist to help you move into the law enforcement career of your choice. Here are the options:
These post-high school institutions focus their programs and curriculums on skill-oriented or hands-on training. This training can come in the form of what effectively amounts to an in-house police academy. Vocational and trade schools can provide the fastest way to obtain the training necessary to become a police officer and allow students to receive police academy training without attending the official police academy. Its also fairly affordable compared to earning a college degree. Keep in mind that graduation doesnt guarantee a job in law enforcement and may not result in an academic credential that provides opportunities for professional advancement.
Best for? Those confident in obtaining a job offer after graduation and want to serve as a police officer as quickly as possible.
Best for? Students who would like to earn a college degree along with their law enforcement training.
Best for? Those who love serving their country or community will benefit from the rewarding experience that can come from military service.
Best for? Aspiring police officers who want an extra way to stand out from the pack of applicants, as well as those looking for federal work.
Also Check: How To Pull Police Reports Online
Who Wants To Be A Cop In 2021 They Do
One works at a bank, another at a sprinkler business. One is an armed guard at a security company and another is chipping in weekend shifts at his familys construction business.
And after a year of protests against the police across the country, they all decided they wanted to become cops.
If I can stop someone by being scared from being pulled over because of the color of my skin and how I act, maybe thats what I want to do, said Kristen Heinonen, a Black 23-year-old from Lakewood. I think to be the change in the community you need to have an active role in it and I think this is the best path to take.
CPR News followed the 13 cadets currently enrolled at the Community College of Auroras police academy for several months to try and understand the next generation of law enforcement officers and what has attracted them to the field now a job more loaded with scrutiny and danger than ever before and how what they are learning has changed.
None of the students are guaranteed jobs when they graduate, but their education will put them in a position to be hired at shorthanded agencies across the state particularly if they pass the Police Officer Standards and Training test.
Its a calling, said Victor Dominguez Ramirez, who joined the academy after graduation from Colorado State University. I want to help people.
But for each of the cadets, that calling has arrived at what may be among the most perilous times for law enforcement in our nations history.
Many Opportunities To Stay Physically Fit
If staying physically fit on the job is important to you, a career as a police officer may be a good option for you. A police officer may have to chase and arrest suspects, which requires a great amount of strength and endurance. A police officer also trains to pass a physical fitness test before receiving a job offer, and they also work to pass annual renewal tests to ensure they remain physically fit.
Don’t Miss: How To Get A Police Report Nyc