Police & Sheriff's Patrol Officers
Also called: Deputy, Patrol Officer, Police Officer, Public Safety Officer
Produced by CareerOneStop
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Whether on foot, wheels, or horseback, detectives and police officers are alert for any threat to public safety, ready to respond at a moment’s notice when a need occurs. Police and sheriff’s officers protect lives and property. They respond to emergency and patrol their assigned area for signs of criminal activity. They wear recognizable uniforms, and may conduct searches and arrest suspected criminals. Some officers specialize in one type of crime, such as narcotics. Detectives and criminal investigators, or agents, gather facts and evidence of possible crimes. They conduct interviews, observe the activities of suspects, and participate in raids and arrests. Detectives often wear plain clothes, and usually specialize in investigating one type of crime, such as homicide or fraud. Transit and railroad police patrol railroad yards and transit stations to prevent thefts and protect property. Police and detective work requires patience, and paperwork; officers document every incident in detail, and must be ready to testify in court. Most officers carry law enforcement tools, such as radios, handcuffs, and firearms. Police and detective work can be physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous; injuries are common. Despite working shifts around the clock and dealing with life-threatening situations, officers must stay calm, think clearly, and use good judgment at all times. Most positions require graduation from a law enforcement agency’s training academy and extensive on-the-job training. Police officers and detectives need a license to carry firearms and enforce the law. Typically, candidates must be U.S. citizens, at least 21 years old, and in excellent physical and mental health, with no felony convictions.
What they do:Maintain order and protect life and property by enforcing local, tribal, state, or federal laws and ordinances. Perform a combination of the following duties: patrol a specific area; direct traffic; issue traffic summonses; investigate accidents; apprehend and arrest suspects, or serve legal processes of courts. Includes police officers working at educational institutions.
On the job, you would:
- Identify, pursue, and arrest suspects and perpetrators of criminal acts.
- Provide for public safety by maintaining order, responding to emergencies, protecting people and property, enforcing motor vehicle and criminal laws, and promoting good community relations.
- Record facts to prepare reports that document incidents and activities.
Safety and Government
- public safety and security
- law and government
Arts and Humanities
- English language
Math and Science
- customer service
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- talking to others
- understanding people's reactions
- bringing people together to solve differences
- noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
- communicate by speaking
- listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
- notice when problems happen
- make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
- pay attention to something without being distracted
- do two or more things at the same time
- quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things
People interested in this work like activities that include leading, making decisions, and business.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Self Control
- Attention to Detail
- Stress Tolerance
You might use software like this on the job:
Data base user interface and query software
Graphics or photo imaging software
- Correctional Officers & Jailers
- Detectives & Criminal Investigators
- First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades & Extraction Workers
- First-Line Supervisors of Firefighting & Prevention Workers
- First-Line Supervisors of Police & Detectives
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