Police Officer Job Description Information

Career Objective
  • The public depends on police officers to uphold the law and protect their lives and property. Officers have a wide variety of responsibilities, ranging from pursuing and apprehending suspected criminals to writing citations, filing reports, gathering evidence and investigating any suspicious or criminal activity.
  • Uniformed police officers spend a large amount of their working time responding to emergency calls and doing paperwork. There is no such thing as a typical work day for a police officer; she may respond to a vandalism report, direct traffic at the scene of an automobile accident and give first aid to an injured motorist all in the same day.
  • In most jurisdictions, police officers are expected to act with authority whether they are in uniform or not.

Work Environement

  • Police work can be very dangerous. Officers confront a wide range of situations in which their lives could be threatened, and as a result their jobs are more stressful than most. Aside from the obvious danger of apprehending criminals, officers are often placed in other dangerous situations as well. Many officers are hurt or killed each year by being struck by moving vehicles during routine traffic stops. In addition, police officers witness situations that are violent and psychologically difficult, and consequently the stresses of their jobs may affect their private lives.
  • Most officers work 40-hour work weeks, but usually they are expected to work overtime when necessary. Newly hired officers are often given the less desirable shifts, such as evenings, overnights and weekends, but because there must be police officers on duty 24 hours a day, even senior officers are expected to work when they are needed.


  • Most police officers receive training through their agency's police academy. In order to be admitted to the academy, candidates must pass rigorous physical and psychological examinations.
  • Most jurisdictions require candidates to be at least 20 years old, a U.S. citizen and have a high school diploma. Some require a certain amount of college coursework as well. Some candidates may posses a college degree.
  • Once a candidate has completed the police academy, many agencies encourage additional course work or training in areas such as criminal justice, police science or administration.

Job Outlook

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for police officers should grow by about 11 percent from 2006 through 2016. This is average growth. As society becomes more conscious of the need for security and safety, the job outlook for police officers will continue grow.
  • Because government spending often directly controls the numbers of new officers that can be hired, the actual number of new job openings can vary widely from year to year, a fact that could be detrimental to someone looking to pursue a job in law enforcement.


  • Police officers are usually expected to complete a probationary period that lasts from six months to three years. Once this probationary period is completed, the opportunity for promotion will arise. A promotion may allow an officer to become a detective or to specialize in a specific area of police work, such as working with police dogs or focusing on juvenile law enforcement.

Read more: A Police Officer's Starting Salary | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5432055_police-officers-starting-salary.html#ixzz1gnWPHP00

Police Officer Salary Information

The starting salary for a typical police officer ranges between $25,000 and $52,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average annual salary of all police officers working in the United States was $47,460 as of May 2006. The middle 50 percent of police officers in the U.S. earns between $35,000 to just under $60,000 a year, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $72,000 a year.



  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the middle half of police officers and sheriff patrol officers had an annual salary between $35,600 and $59,880 in 2006. The 10 percent of officers with the lowest salary earned less than $27,310. The highest-paid 10 percent of officers had an annual salary of more than $72,450. For police and detective supervisors, the middle half earned between $53,900 and $83,940 in 2006. Supervisors falling in the lowest-paid 10 percent had an annual salary of less than $41,260, while the highest-paid 10 percent had a salary of more than $104,410.


  • Experience is a very important factor for police officers. The knowledge that they gain on the job dealing with difficult situations is often more valuable than any formal training. For this reason, the annual salary of police officers has a steady and notable increase over time. A 2009 study performed by PayScale, Inc. reports that the median salary for a police officer with 1 to 4 years of experience is $39,133. For officers with 5 to 9 years of experience, the median salary is $47,590. Ten to 19 years of experience earned an officer a median salary of $54,085, while police with 20 years of experience or more had a median annual salary of $64,207.


  • The requirements for becoming a police officer do not include a college education. Applicants must have a high school diploma and pass a written test to be eligible to become a police officer. However, some higher education is preferred, and the degree held by the officer can influence his salary. PayScale, Inc. reports that officers holding only a high school diploma earned an annual median salary of $33,993. Officers with an associate's degree had an annual median salary between $41,125 and $46,511. Police officers with a bachelor's degree had a median salary between $47,565 and $51,476.


  • The location where a police officer works can greatly affect his expected salary. Some locations are considered more dangerous than others, and the nature of the work can vary from a big city as opposed to a small town. PayScale, Inc. found the highest police salary in Los Angeles, where the median annual salary for officers was $71,976. This can be attributed both to the high crime rate in the city as well as the high cost of living. In comparison, the median salary for police in Detroit was $44,898. In New Jersey, the annual median salary soared to $74,882 in PayScale Inc.'s 2009 survey. Meanwhile the median salary for officers in North Carolina was only $35,730. When considering location, a variety of factors must be taken into account, and prospective officers should try to find a good balance between the average salary and the cost of living to determine what the best option really is.


  • The benefits that police officers are eligible for include paid vacation, sick leave and medical and life insurance. Police officers also get paid for overtime. This can bring a significant to boost to their earnings, as overtime is often plentiful. Some officers will also receive an allowance for their uniforms. Guaranteed pensions are another benefit to police officers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that many police officers are able to retire after just 25 or 30 years of service at half of their annual pay.

Read more: Police Officer Salaries & Benefits | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5086864_police-officer-salaries-benefits.html#ixzz1gnVFqr8M

How to Become a Police Officer

Law enforcement offers a variety of career opportunities, many of which are available to candidates without degrees. If joining the police force would make your day, here's how you can prepare for a career in the field of fighting crime.
  1. Take high school and/or continuing education courses in business math/accounting, computer applications and behavioral sciences.
  2. Maintain your level of physical fitness. Participation in high school sports will contribute to both your athletic development and your application for appointment to the police department.
  3. Consider a period of military service. Two years in the armed forces is excellent mental and physical conditioning for police work.
  4. Use common sense. There will be a background check, and a career in law enforcement can quickly be short-circuited by "youthful indiscretions."
  5. Take the written civil service exam for police officers. You can obtain information about the exam through your local police department.
  6. Pass the physical exam, which typically includes tests of vision, hearing, strength and agility.
  7. Pass the lie detector test.
  8. Pass the drug test. In addition, should you become a police officer, you may be subject to continued random drug testing during your employment.
  9. Have an interview with a senior officer and/or take a personality test to assess your personal characteristics, such as judgment, integrity and responsibility.