Police Officer Job Description and Salary
Police officers pursue and apprehend individuals who break the law and then issue citations, give warnings, or make arrests. Most police officers patrol their jurisdictions and investigate any suspicious activity they notice.
Uniformed police officers have general law enforcement duties including maintaining regular patrols and responding to calls for service. Much of their time is spent responding to calls and doing paperwork. They may direct traffic at the scene of an accident, investigate a burglary, or give first aid to an accident victim. In large police departments, officers usually are assigned to a specific type of duty. Many urban police agencies are involved in community policing, a practice in which an officer builds relationships with the citizens of local neighborhoods and mobilizes the public to help fight crime.
$35,600 – $59,880
Law enforcement agencies encourage applicants to take courses or training related to law enforcement subjects after high school. Many entry-level applicants for police jobs have completed some formal postsecondary education and a significant number are college graduates. Many junior colleges, colleges, and universities offer degree programs in law enforcement or administration of justice.
Overall opportunities in local police departments will be excellent for individuals who meet the psychological, personal, and physical qualifications. In addition to openings as a result of population growth, many openings will be created by the need to replace officers who retire. There will be more competition for jobs in state law enforcement agencies than for jobs in local agencies. Applicants with military experience or college training in police science will have the best opportunities in local and state departments. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree or military experience, especially investigative experience, will have the best opportunities in agencies.