How to Become a Police Officer

Many boys dream of the exciting life of a police officer but many reconsider once they know how to become a police officer. A police officer’s life cannot be accurately represented by the good guys always beating the bad guys. In real life, police officers have a very serious responsibility to the community.

What is a Police Officer?

Police officers, also commonly referred to as policemen or policewomen are responsible for the apprehension of criminals and maintenance of public order. Their duty to prevent and detect crime gives them the power to arrest and detain people for a specific period of time, if they are suspected of being involved in the commission of a crime. To better address needs of specific groups in society, some police officers undergo specialized training for surveillance, counter-terrorism, protection of VIP as well as techniques in investigating major crimes such as murder or fraud.

The police generally retain their lawful powers even while off duty and are expected to perform their duties when the need arises. Deaths in the line of duty among police officers are quite common largely due to automobile accidents because of the considerable time spent in the road as well as due to homicide when chasing and apprehending criminals. The nature of a police officer’s job has also been largely blamed for stress-related problems such as in maintaining interpersonal relationships. Traumatic experiences form part of a police officer’s daily life.

Police officers are easily identified because of the uniform they wear. They can either be seen on foot or riding on cars, bikes, motorcycles, or horses. Although police officers officially work for about forty (40) hours per week, the work becomes more like a 24-hour a day job because of the inherent responsibilities of the job.

Education and Training

Many police officers have found gainful work in the police field armed only with a high school diploma, some work experience, good character, strong body and a passing score for a written test. However, more and more police units are requiring their recruits to have some college training or a degree, if possible. Even existing police officers are highly encouraged to take college courses that are specific to police work.

Basic police training is comprised of attendance in a police academy for three (3) to four (4) months. This should not prevent police officers from attaining a degree in criminal justice, criminality, or law enforcement. They have a choice between an associate and bachelor’s degree. Police officers will have to pursue continuing education through workshops and seminars.

Becoming a Police Officer

After obtaining the necessary training and pursuing the desired education program, aspiring police officers should take the civil service examination as well as other required tests. Tests are not only limited to written examinations but will also include physical tests, hearing and vision tests, personality tests, drug tests, and even lie detection tests. This is to ensure that applicants have the physical capability and the right psychological predisposition for the job.

All applicants must be US citizens and at least twenty (20) years old. Training at the police academy happens after being accepted into the police department. Higher-paying jobs for police officers are found in more affluent areas. Now you know how to become a police officer.