In an effort to protect the lives of the public and their property within the communities they serve, police officers are given the responsibility of maintaining law and order, prevent crime, and improve the quality of life for all citizens.
Often working in partnerships or task forces, police officers protect individuals from crime, identify offenders, and ensure the lawful prosecution against those who break the law.
Daily Duties of Police Officers:
- Responding to emergency and non-emergency calls from the public
- Patrolling assigned areas of their community on the lookout for anything unusual
- Conducting traffic stops for drivers breaking laws and issuing tickets
- Obtaining warrants from the justice system and arresting offenders
- Taking statements and collecting evidence from the scenes of possible crimes
- Preparing cases to testify in a court of law on behalf of the prosecution
- Maintaining detailed written crime reports and filling out paperwork
Police Officer Job Description
What do police officers do? In most cases, police officers carry out these daily tasks by being employed for local governments as well as state or federal governments. Although they regularly work at crime and accidence scenes that can be emotionally challenging, physically demanding, dangerous, and stressful, most police officers find it rewarding to protect community members.
Most police officers are scheduled to work full-time schedules, but it is common for them to work paid overtime on weekends, nights, and holidays because protection of the public must be provided 24/7. During their workday, police officers work closely with other members of the criminal justice system, social workers, community groups, healthcare professionals, detectives, emergency response teams, and the public.
Skills Needed to Be a Police Officer
While police officers may find job opportunities with a high school diploma, many have a bachelor’s degree and have graduated from their agency’s training academy for extensive on-the-job training experience. Along with needed to meet specific physical qualifications for vision, hearing, strength, and agility, police officers must have extensive knowledge on certain geographical regions, civil rights, constitutional law, state or local ordinances, ethics, self-defense, traffic control, and emergency response.
In order to be successful as a police officer, individuals must possess strong communication skills to speak with the public for gathering facts about a crime, leadership skills for taking charge in emergency situations, and decision-making skills for solving an array of problems quickly. Police officers should also demonstrate perceptiveness, compassion, and empathy when dealing with the public in sensitive situations.