By: Kevin Ruano
Annual Salary $47,000.00
Monthly Salary $3,916.67
Savings 15% $587.50
House 30% $1,175.00
Car 10% $391.67
Miscellaneous 40% $1,566.67
Retirement 5% $195.83
Police officers are responsible for
enforcing the law in our society.
A police officer’s typical day is usually
less exciting and less dangerous than
what is portrayed on TV; most spend the
majority of their time either patrolling
neighborhoods or on traffic duty.
Officers patrol areas on foot, motorcycle,
bicycle, or in police cars.
This allows them to accomplish a variety
of objectives: discourage crime through
their high visibility, maintain community
relations by speaking with the public, and
become familiar with the area where they
work and with any problems that exist.
While on patrol, officers are always prepared to
respond to calls for service.
They may be called to any type of situation
where people have been injured, the public
peace is being disturbed, or a crime has been
Common occurrences they are called to include
assaults, domestic disputes, barking dogs, car
accidents, fires, and noisy parties.
When arriving on an incident scene, police
officers use their own discretion to quickly take
control of the situation.
Their primary concern is to help crime victims
and injured people by administering first aid and
calling for any necessary assistance.
The next concern is to re-establish order by
calming people, isolating a crime or accident
scene, and restraining any violent individuals.
In situations where criminal activity has
occurred, or is suspected to have occurred,
officers will begin an investigation to find out
exactly what happened.
This may include talking to witnesses and
looking for evidence, such as weapons that may
have caused injury to victims, or broken
furniture in a home indicating a struggle.
They may instruct the forensic team to take
fingerprints that can be used to identify suspects
Some police officers can specialize and
become experts in areas such as chemical
and microscopic analysis, or handwriting
and fingerprint identification.
Others may work with special units such
as harbor patrol, canine corps, or task
forces formed to combat specific types of
Police officers’ working environments are
as varied as the landscape.
They may work in densely populated
urban areas, remote rural regions, and
everywhere in between.
Each area provides its own particular
challenges and requires officers to have
They also spend time in police stations,
writing reports and maintaining records
that may be needed in order to press
charges and prosecute criminals in court.
Police officers carry firearms and may
have to wear protective clothing such as
The job can be mentally, physically, and
They may have to deal with wounded
victims, distraught witnesses, or pursue
and arrest aggressive criminals either on
foot or in a police vehicle.
Most police officers work 40 hours a week. However, officers’
specific work schedules depend on the procedures of their
Some police forces schedule their officers to work 8 hours a day for
5 days each week, while other forces have their officers work 10
hours a day for 4 days each week.
It’s not uncommon for departments to have officers work four 10-
hour days, then have two days off, then work four 10-hour days
Some departments have rotating shifts where officers must switch
every few weeks from days to swing shift to night shift.
These shift and schedule changes can be hard on family life and it
can be difficult for officers to physically adjust to these changes.
Police work must be done 24 hours a day, 7
days a week.
Consequently, some officers are required to
work weekends and night shifts part of the time.
They may also be required to work overtime
when there’s a lot of police work to be done, for
example, when large public events are held or a
series of serious crimes are committed.
Most police officers work for local
The rest work for state or federal police
Most are full-time employees
± Salaries for police officers vary widely,
depending on seniority, experience, level
of education, and geographic location.
± Large urban police forces generally pay
Entry-level police officers typically earn between
$30,000 and $50,000 a year.
After 1 year of experience police officers often
receive raises of anywhere from $1000 to
Because many police forces give pay increases
on a yearly basis, police officers’ pay can
Experienced police officers can earn $70,000 or
more a year.
The highest salaries are earned by
Sergeants usually earn between $50,000
and $85,000 a year, and lieutenants can
make between anywhere from $60,000 to
$90,000 or more a year.
Salaries for captains can start at around
$70,000, and may increase to more than
$100,000 a year.
ಐ Salary levels are usually determined
through union negotiation.
ಐ Many officers earn additional income by
ಐ Police departments typically offer
excellent benefits, such as paid vacations,
sick leave, pension plans, and medical and
o Although exact requirements vary across
the country, most police forces have
similar standards for applicants.
In general, candidates must be US citizens,
usually at least 21 years old, and have a valid
Applicants must successfully complete physical
and written exams.
In addition, candidates’ character and
background are investigated, and they are
interviewed by senior officers.
Most applicants must pass lie detector or drug
A high school education is required by many
police departments, particularly those in large
However, because of competition for positions,
many entry-level applicants have formal post-
secondary education, and a significant number
are college graduates.
A number of police departments now require
new officer recruits to have at least some
Law enforcement agencies encourage applicants
to take college courses in law enforcement or
administration of justice.
However, police work is quite diverse, so
courses in other areas are useful as well.
For example, courses in accounting, finance,
electrical engineering, computer science, and
foreign languages can be helpful.
0 Before their first assignments, officers
usually go through a period of training
which can last anywhere from 12 weeks to
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