A policeman, or law enforcement officer, is primarily responsible for enforcing the laws of his/her jurisdiction and protecting people and property in the community. Their duties may include responding to calls from citizens when they are victims of crime, such as domestic violence, assault, or property damage, and they also regularly patrol designated areas to enforce traffic laws and issue citations for violations, as well as respond to traffic accidents and serve as first-responders in these and other emergency situations.
Policemen usually work both out in the public to interact with citizens and the public at large, and in an office setting to write reports about their activities and events in which they were involved. As officers of the criminal justice system, they are also often required to testify in court and must be able to handle responsibility and remain calm in stressful situations. Police officers must be assertive, yet able to defuse dangerous situations, and strong interpersonal and communication skills are also important in order to work well with the public and coordinate with other officers to apprehend criminals.
Aspiring police officers should be least 21 years old and have a high school diploma, and some jurisdictions also require some college work or a college degree. Applicants must undergo a rigorous background check, including a drug screen and psychological testing, and in most cases applicants must have no felony convictions, while misdemeanor convictions may be assessed on a case-by-case basis. There are also necessary standards of physical fitness, hearing, and vision which must be met for the position.