What Is a Police Officer?

Police officers are responsible for the safety of a community and its residents. They generally patrol assigned areas and respond to calls for crimes, suspicious activity and non-emergency events. While the job can be dangerous and physically demanding, many police officers find it to be very rewarding.

Responsibilities of Police Officers

Police officers, also commonly known as law enforcement officers, serve and protect people and property. Generally, they are assigned particular areas to patrol, which may include a large jurisdiction or a small neighborhood. Police officers familiarize themselves with their designated area so that they can quickly respond to emergency and non-emergency events. They respond to calls, enforce laws, obtain warrants, issue citations when necessary and make arrests. Much of their time is also spent writing detailed reports and completing forms. Sometimes, they will have to prepare cases and testify in court.

Additionally, police officers typically spend most of their time working at police headquarters, in a squad car or patrolling on foot. Some police officers specialize in certain investigations, such as narcotics. The job can be stressful, physically demanding and dangerous, and police officers must remain alert and ready to take action during their entire shift. They usually work full time, and shift work is typically required. Paid overtime is also common.

Want to become a Police Officer?

The online bachelor of science in criminal justice from Southeastern University provides students with a solid foundation in the criminal justice system and can prepare you to become a police officer.

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Police Officer Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for police officers was $62,960 per year as of 2017, and wages may vary depending on the industry in which they work. Police officers typically receive an allowance for uniforms and extensive benefits. They additionally have the option to retire earlier than the usual retirement age. The BLS predicts that employment for police officers will grow about 7 percent through 2026.

Educational Requirements to Become a Police Officer

Education requirements may depend on the department. A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field is typically required for a position as a police officer, especially in larger metropolitan areas. Police officers must also pass background checks and physical exams, as well as police academy training programs. In addition, they may have to complete on-the-job training.

The online bachelor of science in criminal justice from Southeastern University provides students with a solid foundation in the criminal justice system as a whole. It explores the history of law enforcement and courts while preparing students to succeed by teaching practical skills, critical thinking and advanced research. The program is fully online and is taught by faculty who have real-world experience.