Police officers and other law enforcement officers protect lives and property, preserve peace, investigate crimes, and assist people. Law enforcement officers perform these duties in a variety of ways depending on the size and type of their organization. Law enforcement officers usually work for local, state, or the federal government.
Police officers and other law enforcement officers often arrest people that break the law. They can issue warnings, citations, or file charges via summons. Police jobs involve a lot of paperwork. Many law enforcement officers will tell you that completing paperwork and report writing is one of their least favorite parts of the job. If you plan on becoming a police officer, improve your writing skills as much as possible. Different
types of law enforcement officers perform many of the same tasks and have many of the same responsibilities. However, an officer's daily activites can vary, sometimes greatly, depending on their assignment and what agency they work for.
Uniformed officers have duties such as patrol and responding to calls for service. Common duties include responding to reports of crime or crimes in progress, conducting preliminary and follow up investigations, directing traffic, and enforcing traffic laws. Many officers spend much of their time simply being visible in their patrol areas, and interacting with people to improve community relations and reduce crime.
Special assignments can include K-9 handler, bicycle patrol, mounted unit, school resource officer, undercover, crime prevention, field training officer, SWAT, evidence custodian, trainer, warrants, etc.
Detectives or investigators usually wear plain clothes. They conduct investigations. Some are assigned to investigate any type of crime, and some are assigned specific cases. For example, homicide detectives primarily investigate homicides. NCIS Special Agents investigate and criminal,
foreign, and terrorist intelligence threats to the United States Navy
and Marine Corp
Local law enforcement officers are usually police officers and detectives that work for a borough, city, township, village, or other municipality. County law enforcement officers include sheriffs, district attorney's detectives, and probation officers. State law enforcement officers include state police, attorney general's agents, game wardens, probation officers, etc. Federal law enforcement officers include police officers, inspectors, criminal investigators, special agents, park rangers, etc. that work for federal agencies such as the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security.
Many federal agencies are law enforcement agencies in and of themselves, and many federal agencies have a law enforcement component. Many federal agencies have their own police officers. For example, most people know about FBI Special Agents, but many people don't know that the FBI has its own uniformed police officers.
Police jobs can be very rewarding. They usually offer decent pay, and good benefits. However, police work can be very dangerous and stressful. Becoming a law enforcement officer is not for everyone. Find out if police work is for YOU!