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What does a Law Enforcement Officer do?

A law enforcement officer, also known as a peace officer or police officer, is a governmental employee tasked with enforcement of federal, state or local laws in a defined jurisdictional area. They also investigate crimes as well as take suspects into custody.

Other common names for law enforcement officers include:

  • State Troopers
  • Special Investigators
  • Court Officers
  • Probation Or Parole Officers
  • Sheriffs
  • Constables
  • Marshals
  • Deputies


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Working as a Law Enforcement Officer

Law enforcement officers are typically needed 24 hours a day, and an officer's daily duties can include:

  • Protecting life and property through the enforcement of laws and patrols of assigned areas
  • Responding to calls for service and testifying in court when necessary
  • Conducting preliminary and follow-up investigations and interviews
  • Arresting and processing suspected criminals
  • Operating a law enforcement vehicle
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How much does a Law Enforcement Officer make in the United States?

Average base salary

Average $47,347
Low $30,585
High $73,294
Non-cash benefit
View more benefits

The average salary for a law enforcement officer is $47,347 per year in the United States. 1.4k salaries reported, updated at September 21, 2023

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Where can a Law Enforcement Officer earn more?

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How much do similar professions get paid in United States?

Police Officer

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Average $61,766 per year

Parking Enforcement Officer

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Average $17.66 per hour

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Common questions about for a Law Enforcement Officer

Are there any age requirements for a law enforcement officer?

Although there is usually no maximum age limit, most departments have minimum age requirements for law enforcement officer. The minimum age ranges from 18 to 21 years of age and varies by department.

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Are there any physical requirements for becoming a law enforcement officer?

Attributes such as weight, height or health issues do not automatically disqualify a law enforcement officer as long as they are able to pass the physical fitness examination and a pre-employment medical exam.

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What is the work schedule like for law enforcement officers?

Law enforcement officers have varying schedules due to the nature of their work. They may be required to work during the daytime or at night and during public holidays and weekends. They often do overtime hours and are always on-call for emergencies.

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What is the job outlook for law enforcement officers?

What are the duties and responsibilities of law enforcement officers?

Can aspiring law enforcement officers complete their studies online?

Is drug testing mandatory for law enforcement officers?

Does the state government employ law enforcement officers?

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