Wanting to join the police force is a great thing. If you have the kind of dedication to put yourself out there for your community and a desire to make where you live a better place, then no-one should put you off it. However, it’s a good idea to have some understanding of what you can expect. Before planning on launching your career as a police office, it is good to have a look at what the day of any police officer can look like.
Dealing with those on the other side of the law
Crime is obviously a big part of being a police officer. Learning the best way to deal with people in a variety of situations, from the hostile to the seemingly guileless, is an important skill for an officer to learn. But it’s not all about investigation and criminal justice. A big part of your role could be liaising with people on the verge of crime and helping to habilitate them on the right path, too.
On the road
For a lot of police officers, a lot of time will be spent on the road. A cop car is a reassuring sight in many neighborhoods, and patrols will be a big part of spotting infractions, whether it’s a robbery happening in daylight or a missing tail light. The operation of the radio, the right lights for cop cars, and the sirens in the case you get an emergency call are something you’ll have to learn, too. Those emergencies are going to test your ability to respond quickly and appropriately.
Providing emergency aid
Police work is hands-on, but it’s not always about cuffing perps. As often, it might be about providing emergency medical aid to someone in an accident until the medical services can reach them. You will be asked to deal with a variety of emergencies and to help the community directly, whether it’s finding missing persons, dealing with traffic accident sites or even preventing a suicide.
You will do a lot more slow-paced work with those communities through outreach efforts as well. You’ll liaise with community groups, ask about their concerns for the area, and talk safety and protection to members of that community. People will look you as a representation of authority in all kinds of situations. You have to be able to wield it responsibly.
It’s not something you’ll see very often on television shows that glamorize the life of a cop. But the truth is that you’re going to have plenty of administrative work to slow down your day. The proper process and documentation of police work is an essential part of keeping the force both accountable and protected. Every stopped car, every conversation after a call, everything you do on duty is going to come with paperwork to explain the use of your time and your authority.
There are, of course, a lot of specialist positions in the force that offer a more focused day-to-day. But it’s important to know the different kinds of work that make up a career in the force. With the right expectations, you can ensure you’re ready to make an impact in your community.