POLICE OFFICERS protect the life and property of people. They may direct traffic at the scene of a fire, investigate a burglary, or give first aid to an accident victim. They are assigned to patrol a specific area, such as part of a business district or residential neighborhood. They may work alone or with a partner. They must be familiar with their patrol area and remain alert for anything unusual. They investigate suspicious circumstances and hazards, and pursue and arrest suspected criminals. They may resolve problems within the community, and enforce traffic laws. Some officers investigate robberies, homicides, and other crimes. They may testify in court.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $52,000 average per year ($25.00 per hour)
- A large occupation (759,500 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (0.8% per year)
Civil service regulations govern the appointment of POLICE OFFICERS in most states. Candidates must be U.S. citizens and at least 20 years old. Eligibility for appointment depends on results of a written exam, education, and experience. Large police departments require some college education, and federal agencies require a college degree. Police train in patrol, traffic control, firearms, self-defense, first aid, and emergency response, and get classroom instruction in constitutional law and civil rights, state laws and local ordinances, and accident investigation.