|What do Police Officers do?
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.
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.
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.
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 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 to become a Police Officer?
officers must be U.S. citizens. They usually must be at least
20 years old. 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.
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 do Police Officer get paid?
half of all police and sheriff's patrol officers earned between
$32,300 and $53,500 a year in 2002. The lowest-paid 10 percent
earned less than $25,270. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more
than $65,330 a year.
half of all police and detective supervisors earned between $47,210
and $74,610 a year in 2002. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned
less than $36,340. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more than
$90,070 a year.
half of all detectives and criminal investigators earned between
$39,010 and $65,980 a year in 2002. The lowest-paid 10 percent
earned less than $31,010. The highest-paid 10 percent earned more
than $80,380 a year.
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 20 or 25 years of service.
about 840,000 police and detectives in 2002. About 80 percent
worked for local governments. They worked mainly in cities and
towns with more than 25,000 people. The rest worked for State
or Federal police agencies.
of police and detectives is expected to increase faster than the
average for all occupations through 2012. This is because people
are concerned about crime. Many people are attracted to police
work because it is challenging. Persons with college training
in police science or who have military experience, or both, should
have the best chances for a job.
|Are there other jobs like this?
and building inspectors
and immigration inspectors
occupations (fire marshals)
health and safety specialists and technicians (health inspectors)
detectives and investigators
guards and gaming surveillance officers
Outlook Handbook -- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics
|Where can you find more information?
For more comprehensive
information on careers see the Careers