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What does a Police Officer do?

A police officer is a government employee who protects lives and property, enforces law and order in communities and investigates crimes. A police officer issues citations for minor offenses like traffic violations and testifies in court cases. Police officers also provide first aid to road accident or crime victims before paramedics arrive. Police officers have ranks based on their skills and job experience.


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Working as a Police Officer

A police officer handles responsibilities like:

  • Documenting crime reports from victims and filing them in case files for further investigation
  • Arresting and processing criminals and carrying out stings in drugs and criminal dens
  • Patrolling assigned areas to ensure there is law and order and assisting residents needing help
  • Interrogating crime victims and potential suspects during investigations
  • Enforcing law and order on national borders and guarding government facilities like courts
  • Responding to domestic and public place disturbances and enforcing order
  • Taking charge of emergencies and disasters and helping out victims
  • Arresting drivers for traffic violations and issuing them tickets for fines
  • Reaching out to residents to improve police and community relations
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How much does a Police Officer make in the United States?

Average base salary

Average $61,986
Low $40,341
High $95,244
Non-cash benefit
View more benefits

The average salary for a police officer is $61,986 per year in the United States. 5.9k salaries reported, updated at September 27, 2023

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Where can a Police Officer earn more?

Compare salaries for Police Officers in different locations
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How much do similar professions get paid in United States?

Military Police

Job openings

Average $48,376 per year

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Common questions about for a Police Officer

Is a police officer considered an in-demand profession?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for police officers and detectives will grow by 5% from 2018 to 2028. That growth is due to the increased need for public safety.

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What does a police officer do?

A police officer is responsible for enforcing the law. Police officers are assigned to locations to patrol and watch for crime, enforce traffic violations, investigate criminal complaints and respond to emergency situations.

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What other positions are similar to police officer?

Police officers can be drawn from people with a professional backgrounds such as the ones below:

  • Army Officer: In the U.S there are army officers who, after their tour of duty is over, as veterans join the police force. They are able to transition easily to police officers because they have the discipline and training needed to be in civilian law enforcement.
  • Forensics: Graduates with a criminal justice bachelor's degree can easily transition to be police officers because of their forensic skill set. They can analyze crime scenes and get evidence from them using their training, which can be useful during investigations.
  • Homicide Detectives: These hold a degree, mainly in criminal justice. They interview witnesses, collect evidence from scenes where bodies are found and carry out background checks on victims. In some states, for one to be a homicide detective, they'd have to be a police officer first.
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Does bad credit disqualify you from being a police officer?

Is it hard to get into the police academy?

What is an entry-level police officer?

What type of person makes a good police officer?

Can you be a cop with prior drug use?

What are the main responsibilities of a police officer?

What's the difference between a detective and a police officer?

What skills should a police officer have?

What are the duties and responsibilities of a police officer?

What will disqualify you from being a police officer?

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