The modern world has a wide plethora of amazing opportunities, medical advancements, and technological marvels, yet it also comes with countless downsides, not least the significant, continuously rising crime levels throughout the United States and beyond.
Whether you are interested in a change in career direction or are actively searching for a purpose and sense of structure, give back to your local community and set yourself up in a progressive career by applying to work for the US police force.
Are You The Right Personality Type?
The fundamental attributes suited to a career in the US police force include, but are categorically in no way limited to:
- Considerable physical health
- Strong levels of communication
- An aptitude for problem-solving
- Strong and unwavering morals
- Calm head in the face of adversity
- Passion for community belonging
- Observation and memory prowess
- No fear of confrontation
- Being a team player
- Strong written and verbal language skills
The Tremendous Importance Of A College Education
There are a wide variety of worthwhile, significant, and meaningful careers that do not require a college education on any kind of level. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, the Canadian police force is certainly not one of them.
The acquisition of a bachelor of criminology degree or similar qualification from an accredited and respected university will hugely further not only your own knowledge and experience in the field but also drastically increase the likelihood of being afforded your first entry-level job within the police and enhance your chances of career progression.
Career Progression Within The Police Force:
Once you have been accepted to join the US police force, you will first learn the basics of law enforcement and undergo physical and psychological training and challenges to prepare you as much as possible for the real world of police work. Such fundamentals of policing are taught at the police academy, where you will commence your training as soon as your relevant paperwork and health checks have been completed and will spend a total of six months training.
Instruction at the police academy consists of two fundamentally different ways of learning, classroom lessons and practical training. A typical daily schedule for a police academy recruit living on campus in a same-sex dormitory comprises of:
- Wake-up call at five in the morning
- Breakfast in the mess hall with your fellow recruits
- Physical training on the field and on-site
- Lunch in the mess hall with your fellow recruits
- Academic learning in the classroom
- Dinner in the mess hall with your fellow recruits
- Research, study, and homework either solo or group working
- Strict sleeping call at ten in the evening
Physical, hands-on training at the police academy includes firearms training, self-defense classes, weight training, running and cross-training, obstacle course, and push and sit-ups. In addition, academic learning in the classroom usually involves the role of law enforcement in the community, decision making, conflict management, the fraught connection between the media and law enforcement, and criminology.
Your First Year As A Qualified Police Officer
The biggest learning curve you will undoubtedly experience in your new career as a member of the American police force will be your first year as a newly qualified officer. Statistically, the first year of a police officer’s solo patrol is when most people who have chosen this career, who find themselves unable to handle the pressures, the stress, and the amount of time needed to be dedicated to the job, drop out and embark upon a less stressful career path.
Climbing The Ranks
After your first year in the police force, do not labor under the false illusion that career progression and your ascent through the ranks will be either easy or quick. Quite the contrary, in fact, as the majority of senior police officers spent between five and ten years before they began to be considered for promotion.
After these many aforementioned years of learning and frontline service, the first step on the ladder is to graduate to the level of a police sergeant. Police sergeants are then divided into two different ranks, Sergeant I and Sergeant II, the latter being the more senior of the two roles. Within the different departments of the police force, there are sergeants of both types that work in specialized divisions and therefore have specific and unique responsibilities, such as public affairs, jail, the legal department, communications, personnel, and community relations.
The middle management level within the police force is far more fast-moving in terms of career progression than in the lower sector and, providing you are proving yourself time and time again to your superiors and colleagues, typically you will only spend around a year to a year and a half in each middle management role. This is because most middle management roles are lieutenants and captains, and both essentially oversee certain departments and districts on much wider and more complicated levels than the higher sergeant position.
Although quite obviously, the time it takes to progress from a police officer straight out of training to middle management is entirely dependent on the individual, as a very basic guide, it usually takes approximately between eight and sixteen years to become a United States of America police lieutenant and between around ten to twenty years to become a captain.
Positions Of Command
The highest, most senior levels within the police force are commonly referred to as upper managers and consist of commanders, assistant chiefs of police, police majors, and lieutenant colonels and to achieve such a high level of command, you would need to acquire several different separate qualifications at the same time as working your way up the hierarchy of middle management.
The highest-ranking police officer in a particular department is called the chief, and no candidate would even be considered for the position without at least twenty-five years of experience working in the police force.