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Become A Patrol Officer

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Working As A Patrol Officer

  • Getting Information
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • Make Decisions

  • $58,320

    Average Salary

What Does A Patrol Officer Do

A Patrol Officer maintains order and protects a community by enforcing laws. They work in state and local law enforcement.

How To Become A Patrol Officer

Education requirements range from a high school diploma to a college degree. Most police and detectives must graduate from their agency’s training academy before completing a period of on-the-job training. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, usually at least 21 years old, and able to meet rigorous physical and personal qualification standards. A felony conviction or drug use may disqualify a candidate.

Education

Police and detective applicants must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, although many federal agencies and some police departments require some college coursework or a college degree. Many community colleges, 4-year colleges, and universities offer programs in law enforcement and criminal justice, and agencies may offer financial assistance to officers who pursue these, or related, degrees. Knowledge of a foreign language is an asset in many federal agencies and geographical regions.

Fish and game wardens applying for federal jobs with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service typically need a college degree; and those applying to work for a state’s natural resources department often need a high school diploma or some college study in a related field, such as biology or natural resources management.

Federal agencies typically require a bachelor's degree. For example, FBI and DEA special agent applicants are often college graduates.

State and local agencies encourage applicants to continue their education after high school, by taking courses and training related to law enforcement. Many applicants for entry-level police jobs have taken some college classes, and a significant number are college graduates. Many community colleges, 4-year colleges, and universities offer programs in law enforcement and criminal justice. Many agencies offer financial assistance to officers who pursue these or related degrees.

Training

Candidates for appointment usually attend a training academy before becoming an officer. Training includes classroom instruction in state and local laws and constitutional law, civil rights, and police ethics. Recruits also receive training and supervised experience in areas such as patrol, traffic control, firearm use, self-defense, first aid, and emergency response.

Federal law enforcement agents undergo extensive training, usually at the U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, or at a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Detectives normally begin their careers as police officers before being promoted to detective.

FBI special agent applicants typically must have at least 3 years of professional work experience in areas ranging from computer science to accounting.

Other Experience

Some police departments have cadet programs for people interested in a career in law enforcement who do not yet meet age requirements for becoming an officer. These cadets do clerical work and attend classes until they reach the minimum age requirement and can apply for a position with the regular force. Military or police experience may be considered beneficial for potential cadets.

Cadet candidates must be U.S. citizens, usually be at least 21 years old, have a driver’s license, and meet specific physical qualifications. Applicants may have to pass physical exams of vision, hearing, strength, and agility, as well as written exams. Previous work or military experience is often seen as a plus. Candidates typically go through a series of interviews and may be asked to take lie detector and drug tests. A felony conviction may disqualify a candidate.

Advancement

Police officers usually become eligible for promotion after a probationary period. Promotions to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain usually are made according to a candidate's position on a promotion list, as determined by scores on a written examination and on-the-job performance. In large departments, promotion may enable an officer to become a detective or to specialize in one type of police work, such as working with juveniles.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Police, detectives, and fish and game wardens must be able to speak with people when gathering facts about a crime and to express details about a given incident in writing.

Empathy. Police officers need to understand the perspectives of a wide variety of people in their jurisdiction and have a willingness to help the public.

Good judgment. Police and detectives must be able to determine the best way to solve a wide array of problems quickly.

Leadership skills. Police officers must be comfortable with being a highly visible member of their community, as the public looks to them for assistance in emergency situations.

Perceptiveness. Officers, detectives, and fish and game wardens must be able to anticipate a person’s reactions and understand why people act a certain way.

Physical stamina. Officers and detectives must be in good physical shape, both to pass required tests for entry into the field, and to keep up with the daily rigors of the job.

Physical strength. Police officers must be strong enough to physically apprehend offenders.

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13 Patrol Officer jobs

Embrace Home Loans, Inc.
Ashburn, VA
Loan Officer

$47,543 Estimated

Embrace Home Loans, Inc.
Ashburn, VA
Loan Officer

$47,543 Estimated

Alutiiq
Ashburn, VA
Enhanced Security Officer

$24,960 Estimated

Silver Eagle Group
Ashburn, VA
Range Safety Officer

$67,709 Estimated

Allied Universal
Ashburn, VA
Professional Security Officer

$24,960 Estimated

Curtiss-Wright Corporation
Ashburn, VA
Assistant Security Officer

$24,960 Estimated

Curtiss Wright
Ashburn, VA
Assistant Security Officer

$24,960 Estimated

Erickson Living
Ashburn, VA
Gatehouse Security Officer- Flex on call

$24,960 Estimated

Embrace Home Loans, Inc.
Ashburn, VA
Loan Officer Assistant

$50,088 Estimated

Securitas Security Svc USA
Annandale, VA
SUSA Mobile / Patrol Officer

$58,320 Estimated

Securitas Security Svc USA
Annandale, VA
SUSA Mobile / Patrol Officer

$58,320 Estimated

Securitas Security Svc USA
Reston, VA
SUSA Armed Mobile / Patrol Officer

$58,320 Estimated

Securitas Security Svc USA
Washington, DC
SUSA Mobile / Patrol Officer

$58,320 Estimated

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Top Skills for A Patrol Officer

LawEnforcementAgenciesPublicSafetyMotorVehicleOrdinancesNon-EmergencyCallsPresentEvidenceCriminalActsPoliceDepartmentCrimeScenesTrafficAccidentsTrafficLawsCriminalLawsRoutinePatrolTrafficEnforcementSuspiciousActivityCriminalInvestigationsIncidentReportsCrimePreventionStateLawsCriminalCasesCustomerService

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Top Patrol Officer Skills

  1. Law Enforcement Agencies
  2. Public Safety
  3. Motor Vehicle Ordinances
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained a good working relationship with City, County, State, and Federal Law Enforcement agencies.
  • Utilize community policing techniques and direct interaction with community to enhance public safety and awareness.
  • Issue citations or warnings to violators of motor vehicle ordinances and direct traffic flow and reroute traffic in case of emergencies.
  • Handled emergency and non-emergency calls from citizens.
  • Document case information; assists in the prosecution of offenders; appear in court to present evidence and testimony.

Top Patrol Officer Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Patrol Officer

  1. Securitas
  2. Allied Barton
  3. Signal 88 Security
  4. Alliedbarton Security Services
  5. Clemson University Communications Department
  6. United States Air Force
  7. Executive Security Systems
  8. Knox County Sheriff's Office
  9. Universal Protection Services
  10. Walden Security
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