Career Information: Police Officer
What is this job like?
Police and detectives enforce laws. They catch criminals. They collect evidence. At times they testify in court. Others patrol set areas to prevent crime. Some patrol and give out traffic tickets. Some police direct traffic. Most police wear uniforms; detectives and special agents work in regular clothes. Most detectives are part of regular police forces. Special agents work for Federal and State agencies. They file reports about what they've done during the day.
Most police work on foot or ride in cars. Some, however, ride horses, bikes, or motorcycles. Some work in boats on rivers and in harbors. Some police work with dogs.
Most police and detectives work at least 40 hours a week. When they work longer, they get extra pay. Because police work is a 24-hour-a-day job, some police have to work nights and weekends. They have to be ready to go to work at all times. Police may work very long hours on a case. Some have to travel a lot, often on short notice.
Some police work outdoors in all kinds of weather. Some take very big risks when they chase criminals in cars or when they make an arrest. The job can be very stressful and dangerous for the police officer. The officer's family may worry a lot. Good training, teamwork, and good equipment reduce the number of injuries and deaths among police officers.
How do you get ready?
Most police officers must be U.S. citizens. They must be healthy and strong and of good character. To get a job, a person must pass a written test, be at least a high school graduate, and have some work experience.
Some local, special, and State police units want recruits to have some college training. All Federal police agencies require a college degree. Many police units encourage new recruits to take college courses in police work.
How much does this job pay?
The middle half of all police and sheriff's patrol officers earned between $35,600 and $59,880 a year in 2006. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $27,310. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $72,450 a year.
The middle half of all police and detective supervisors earned between $53,900 and $83,940 a year in 2006. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $41,260. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $104,410 a year.
The middle half of all detectives and criminal investigators earned between $43,920 and $76,350 a year in 2006. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $34,480. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $92,590 a year.
Police get paid for overtime. Police also receive paid vacation, sick leave, and medical and life insurance. Often they get money for uniforms. Many retire at half-pay after 25 or 30 years of service.
Add your own comment
Today on Education.com
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working
- Bullying in Schools
- A Teacher's Guide to Differentiating Instruction
- Should Your Child Be Held Back a Grade? Know Your Rights