A police officer is part of one of the three areas of our criminal justice system. Members of the police force are responsible for enforcing the law. An officer will patrol neighborhoods to deter criminal activity as well as monitor any threat to public safety. A police officer will respond to incidents and complaints reported to the police department, document interactions with suspects, victims, and witnesses, and collect evidence at the scene of the crime. Police officers arrest offenders and suspects, collect evidence from them, and testify in court about cases in which they were involved. A member of the police force will also work with the community to coordinate community service events and outreach programs and to offer educational services to the neighborhoods the officer patrols. A police officer must complete the police academy training program, and quite often a certificate or degree in a criminal justice program is required. People applying to join the police force must pass a strict background check including their criminal history, driving record, and credit reports, in order to ensure that all members of the police force are upstanding members of society who will be a good fit with the community. A police officer must be in and remain in good physical condition, as the job may sometimes require strenuous physical activity. Hours for the position vary and are subject to changes based on the availability of other employees, and quite often a police officer will work night shifts and weekends.
Police Officer Tasks
- Arrest offenders and suspects, collect evidence, and testify about cases.
- Respond to incidents and complaints, document interactions, and collect evidence.
- Patrol neighborhoods to prevent and stop crimes and threats to safety.
- Coordinate community work and outreach and offer educational services.