Police officers are responsible for enforcing the law in our society. A police officer’s typical day is usually less exciting and less dangerous than how it is portrayed on TV; most spend the majority of their time either patrolling neighbourhoods or on traffic duty.
Officers patrol areas on foot, motorcycle, bicycle, or in a police car. This allows them to accomplish a variety of objectives: discourage crime through their high visibility, maintain community relations by speaking with the public, and become familiar with the area where they work and with any problems that exist.
While on patrol, officers are always prepared to respond to calls for service. They may be called to any type of situation where people have been injured, the public peace is being disturbed, or a crime has been committed. Common occurrences they are called to include assaults, domestic disputes, barking dogs, car accidents, fires, and noisy parties.
When arriving at the scene of an incident, police officers use their own discretion to quickly take control of the situation. Their primary concern is to help crime victims and injured people by administering first aid and calling for any necessary assistance. The next concern is to re-establish order by calming people, isolating a crime or accident scene, and restraining any violent individuals.
In situations where criminal activity has occurred, or is suspected to have occurred, officers begin an investigation to find out exactly what happened. This may include talking to witnesses and looking for evidence, such as weapons that may have caused injury to victims, or broken furniture in a home indicating a struggle. They may instruct the forensic team to take fingerprints that can be used to identify suspects later.
Some police officers can specialize and become experts in areas such as chemical and microscopic analysis, or handwriting and fingerprint identification. Others may work with special units such as harbour patrol, canine corps, or task forces formed to combat specific types of crime.
Working environments Police officers’ working environments are as varied as the landscape. They may work in densely populated urban areas, remote rural regions, and everywhere in between. Each area provides its own particular challenges and requires officers to have specific skills.
They also spend time in police stations, writing reports and maintaining records that may be needed in order to press charges and prosecute criminals in court.
Police officers carry firearms and may have to wear protective clothing such as bulletproof vests. The job can be mentally, physically, and emotionally stressful. They may have to deal with wounded victims, distraught witnesses, or pursue and arrest aggressive criminals either on foot or in a police vehicle.
Most police officers work 40 hours a week. However, officers’ specific work schedules depend on the procedures of their employer. Some police forces schedule their officers to work 8 hours a day for 5 days each week, while other forces have their officers work 10 hours a day for 4 days each week.
Police work must be done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Consequently, some officers are required to work weekends and night shifts part of the time. Some departments have rotating shifts, which means that officers switch every few weeks from days to swing shift to night shift. These shift and schedule changes can be hard on family life and it can be difficult for officers to physically adjust to these changes.
Officers may also be required to work overtime when there’s a lot of police work to be done, for example, when large public events are held or a series of serious crimes are committed.
education Although exact requirements vary across the country, most police forces have similar standards for applicants....