In general terms, it is the role of the police officer to enhance the quality of life for citizens in their jurisdiction. A police officer works in partnership with the community to enforce laws, preserve the peace, reduce fear and provide a safe environment for all. A police officer must have no criminal convictions. They must pass rigorous physical, medical and psychological exams to be hired in many police departments. Police officers are uniformed, and they work in shifts and on weekends. Police officers must be between the ages of 21 and 35 upon entry into the field.
- Protects citizens by preventing crime, enforcing laws, apprehending suspects, and monitoring traffic.
- Prevents crime by explaining and enforcing applicable federal, state, and local laws and ordinances; teaching preventive, protective, and defensive tactics; mediating disputes; patrolling assigned area; responding to notices of disturbances; conducting searches; observing suspicious activities; and detaining suspects.
- Apprehends suspects by responding to complaints and calls for help, observing violations, and making arrests.
- Conducts criminal investigations by gathering evidence, interviewing victims and witnesses, and interrogating suspects.
- Documents observations and actions by radioing information and completing reports.
- Reports observations and actions by testifying in court.
- Fulfillscourt orders by serving warrants and commitments.
- Maintains safe traffic conditions by monitoring and directing traffic, enforcing laws and ordinances, investigating accidents, providing escort, and reporting unsafe streets and facilities.
- Minimizes personal injury by rescuing and reviving victims and radioing for medical assistance.
- Maintains operations by following department policies and procedures and recommending changes.
- Ensures operation of equipment by practicing responsible use, completing preventive maintenance requirements, following manufacturerʼs instructions, troubleshooting malfunctions, notifying supervisor of needed repairs, and evaluating new equipment and techniques.
- Maintains professional and technical knowledge by studying applicable federal, state, and local laws and ordinances; attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications; practicing skills; and participating in professional societies.
- Contributes to team effort by accomplishing related results as needed.
Police departments require anywhere from a high-school education to a college degree in Criminal Justice or Law Enforcement. In addition, an officer must be a successful graduate of Police Academy which involves six months of specialized training. Typically the cost of Academy is covered by the hiring department, but sometimes an individual may pay the cost at their own expense in order to enhance their employability.
No experience is necessary upon entry, but experience as a Security Officer or police work in the military may help.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists a nationwide median salary for all police officers as $62,960, but this varies widely according to location and experience. Entry-level positions start lower.
People interested in police work may begin their career as a private Security Officer. Individuals in the Armed Services may become a Military Police Officer. Police Officers may advance to Investigator or Deputy Sheriff within their department. Police Officers may branch off to become a Correctional Officer at a public or private prison.
Schools in Oklahoma
Many schools in Oklahoma offer a degree in Criminal Justice. A partial list would include Bacone College, Southern Nazarene University, Cameron University, University of Central Oklahoma, East Central University, Eastern Oklahoma State College, Langston University, Murray State College and Northeastern State University. (Out-of-state online programs are also available.)
(Information for this posting is taken from careers.org, educationconnection.com, PoliceAcademy.com and Indeed.com)