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Careers in Criminal Justice: Police Officer

All about being a police officer and what the job involes!
by

Edgar Ortiz

on 4 November 2013

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Transcript of Careers in Criminal Justice: Police Officer

Police Officer
Police work can be very dangerous and stressful. Police officers and detectives have one of the highest rates of on-the-job injury and illness. Besides the obvious dangers of confrontations with criminals, police officers need to be constantly alert and ready to deal with a number of threatening situations. law enforcement can be rewarding when at the end of the day you know you saved a life or you put a criminal behind bars where they belong!
Job Environment
Duties/ Responsibilities
A police officer can be in various situations. Most of the time they will be on patrol. However, they also must direct traffic, control crowds, look for lost people, finding clues to solve major crimes, teaching the community about crime prevention and many other jobs. Although there are many things officers do most of the time there on patrol protecting their community.
Typical Salary
The typical salary last year for a police officer was about 55,000. However, salary does increase by the years. Also, there is other job opportunities such as police captain. Some have increased and reached up to 100,000 with a lot of experience of
being a patrol officer. The typical salary of a Veteran is about 75,00 to 100,000.
Working Hours
The work hours can vary greatly. Police officers usually work a forty hour week. However, the time of the day when officers work also varies. A police officer has to be available during the day and at night. In some situations they do have to work over time which does not occur very often.
Education & Training
Police officers are required to have a high school diploma or pass all GED examinations. Police departments prefer applicants with some college experience, while some prefer bachelor's degrees. Courses in foreign languages, criminal justice and political science might be useful during a career as a police officer. Applicants often have to go to police training academies or military training.
Special Skills & Abilities
Police Officers have to have the ability to make forceful arrests, to read, comprehend and explain code books, computer screens, printed materials, to drive a car (under normal and emergency conditions safely), to be able to radio and telephone in extreme situations and the ability to qualify in the use of firearms on a regular basis. 
Advancement Opportunities
police officers that are experienced can obtain better pay and even civil service positions if they perform well in their current position and are further educated. Furthermore, career advancement opportunities increase with the size of the department. In general, there are more chances to become a detective or specialized police officer if the department is bigger. Other promotions such as corporal, sergeant, lieutenant or captain are determined based on exam scores and on-the job performance.
Risks
However, being a police officer also has its disadvantages. One of the most obvious would have to be putting your life in danger everyday. When being a police officer you never know who you will encounter and if they will be armed. When coming in contact with dangerous criminals it can be hard to predict their next move. Another downfall to being a police officer is the hours. Sometimes you might be called in or you have to work on holidays but it’s just a part of being a police officer.
Impact on Society
Overall, being a police officer has its ups and downs. However, the impact it has on society is life changing. They save the lives of many on a daily basis and also put criminals behind bars. Without police officers there would be much more crime with no consequences. They impact our lives daily and protect our society.
Employer
They are mostly employed by local police departments. However, they can also be employed by the state and goverment.
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