Police Officer is one of the best known and common job options. Their job is to protect their community by fighting and preventing crime, as well as maintaining law and order. Police Officers strive to keep the streets of their community safe, reducing the fear of crime and improving the overall quality of life of the citizens.
They are employed by municipal, provincial, and regional governments. The term “officer” is a generic form to call agents and does not denote any position in hierarchy. New members of the force receive the title of Cadet when they enter into service, and work their way up the ranks on a system based on merit and seniority.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Police Officers are required to complete.
- Patrolling city areas:
- Maintaining public safety and order;
- enforcing the law; and
- providing assistance to citizens when necessary.
- Assisting Police Detectives in crime investigations:
- Examining crime scenes and securing evidence;
- interviewing witnesses;
- writing reports based on findings; and
- providing testimony in a court of law when necessary.
- Using a wide arrange of lethal and non-lethal weapons (e.g. handguns, shotguns, batons, and pepper spray).
- Detaining criminals:
- Arresting criminals and escorting them to a station; and
- holding criminals for interrogation.
- Providing assistance in emergency situations:
- Helping victims of accidents, crimes, and natural disasters.
- Maintaining order in public events:
- Watching over public meetings, manifestations, protests, and strikes; and
- assessing and handling potentially volatile situations.
- Responding to violent situations:
- Providing crowd control assistance in times of civil unrest; and
- responding to ongoing violent or dangerous crimes.
- Patrolling roads and highways:
- Giving fines and tickets to drivers breaking the law.
- Creating conscience of crime prevention and safety measures among citizens.
- Patrolling the city on foot, car, motorcycles, bicycles, and on horseback.
- Helping citizens when necessary.
- Deterring crime by making themselves visible.
- Looking out for suspicious activity.
- Detaining, interviewing, and interrogating criminals and offenders.
- Investigating crimes (e.g. homicides, assaults, sex crimes, theft, or financial frauds).
- Writing reports and doing paperwork.
- Enforcing the law and maintaining civil order.
- Staying in constant communication with the station.
- Reporting crimes and irregular situations.
The average salary for Police Officer related jobs is $52,036 per year or $27 per hour. This is around 1.6 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $36,000 while most experienced workers make up to $73,000. These results are based on 2 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Excellent communication skills:
- Being able to interview and interrogate criminals and victims so as to retrieve as much information as possible; and
- having enough tact to deal with sensitive situations and emotionally disturbed people.
- Outstanding problem-solving skills:
- Being able to promptly and accurately assess situations;
- staying calm and focused in chaotic and potentially violent situations; and
- acting according to protocol.
- Excellent physical condition:
- Possessing great overall health;
- being in good shape;
- possessing acute senses of hearing and vision; and
- having high levels of stamina.
- Exceptional weapon skills:
- Being proficient in the use of non-lethal and lethal weapons.
- Highly analytical:
- Possessing strong observational skills, being able to assess different situations and to identify possible threats.
- Excellent driving skills:
- Driving different types of vehicles;
- pursuing escaping criminals when needed; and
- having an understanding of basic mechanics.
- Outstanding levels of integrity, morality, honesty, and responsibility.
- Handling sensitive or confidential information.
The educational requirements to become a Police Officer in all provinces and territories are completing a secondary education and having finished a college or university-level program in Law Enforcement, Security, or Social Sciences. Once these requirements are met, candidates may apply to a Police Academy, where they will be subject to physical and psychological evaluations. If they pass these exams, they become Cadets and will have to complete a specialized course and training that can last from 3 to 6 months.
Having graduated from the Academy, applicants become Constables, the lowest rank in most police forces, and are assigned to a precinct. Further promotions from Constable require completion of specialized courses and training, as well as sufficient experience in the field.
While not strictly necessary, many applicants entering the police force possess previous experience in Military areas, having served some time in the past. This can be an asset to newcomers and, in many cases, their previous experience may qualify them to enter the force at a higher rank than Constable.
Most Police Officers work the standard 40 hours a week. However, due to the nature of their job, Police Forces have to operate 24 hours a day, therefore, all members of the force work in different time shifts; working overnight in some cases. Shifts can last up to 8 or 10 hours on average. Nevertheless, Police Officers are often required to work extra hours. In some situations, they are also required to stay on-call should an emergency occur.
Police Officers use a variety of vehicles to get around the city and all members of the force are required to be able to operate them proficiently. All personal documentation regarding vehicle operations must always be up-to-date.