Career Choices Project
1. I have chosen Police Officer as my desired profession. I chose this career path because being a part of the police force has been a part of my family for quite some time. The idea of being a police officer has always interested me and I think that actually becoming one would be a good idea.
2. Police Officer/Detective- Police officers protect lives and property. Detectives and criminal investigators, who sometimes are called agents or special agents, gather facts and collect evidence of possible crimes. Law enforcement officers’ duties depend on the size and type of their organizations. Police officers pursue and apprehend people who break the law and then warn them, cite them, or arrest them. Most police officers patrol their jurisdictions and investigate any suspicious activity they notice. They also respond to calls, issue traffic tickets, investigate domestic issues, and give first aid to accident victims. Detectives perform investigative duties such as gathering facts and collecting evidence. 3. Police and detective work can be physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous. Police officers have one of the highest rates of on-the-job injuries and fatalities. Police and detectives have a higher rate of injuries and illness than the national average. They may face physical injury when conflicts with criminals occur, during motor-vehicle pursuits, when exposure to communicable diseases occurs, or through many other high-risk situations. Uniformed officers, detectives, agents, and inspectors usually are scheduled to work full time. Paid overtime is common. Shift work is necessary because protection must be provided around the clock. Because more experienced employees typically receive preference, junior officers frequently work weekends, holidays, and nights. Some police officers chose to work off duty as security for restaurants, retail stores, and other establishments.
4. Police and detective applicants usually must have at least a high school education or GED and be a graduate of their agency’s training academy. Many agencies require some college coursework or a college degree. Knowledge of a foreign language is an asset in many federal agencies and urban departments. Some police departments have cadet programs for people interested in a career in law enforcement who do not yet meet age requirements for becoming an officer. These cadets do clerical work and attend classes until they reach the minimum age requirement and can apply for a position with the regular force. Police officers usually become eligible for promotion after a probationary period. Promotions to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain usually are made according to a candidate's position on a promotion list, as determined by scores on a written examination and on-the-job performance. In large departments, promotion may enable an officer to become a detective or to specialize in one type of police work, such as working with juveniles.
5. The median wages for police and detectives occupations in May 2010 were as follows:
$68,820 for detectives and criminal investigators
$54,330 for transit and railroad police
$53,540 for police and sheriff’s patrol officers
$49,730 for fish and game wardens
The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,440, and the top 10 percent earned more than $88,870.
6. Employment of police and detectives is expected to grow by 7 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Continued demand for public safety will lead to new openings for officers in local departments; however, both state and federal jobs may be more competitive. Because they typically offer low salaries, many local departments face high turnover rates, making opportunities more plentiful for qualified applicants. However, some smaller departments may have fewer opportunities as budgets limit the...