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What Is it like to be a police officer? And what kind of steps did you personally take to become a police officer? Also how much would the median range salary for this job title? Very curious and interested to know !

Hello, I honestly wanted to know what Is It like to be a police officer? Like what kind of steps did you have to take to get this role? , And by chance , How much would be for the median range salary for this job position?
Any advice or tips? Very curious to hear some answers! Also wanted to say thanks to anyone who gets back to me and responds and answers all three of my questions.

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Danny’s Answer

Hi Kelly.

My law enforcement experience spans over four decades. In the military as a dog handler, 30 years as a sworn police officer in Southern Calif., and as a civilian in law enforcement oversight with the LAPD, which I do currently.

As for what it has been like? There is an aphorism that pretty much says it all: "Hours of utter boredom, interspersed with moments of shear terror!" That may be a slight exaggeration but not by much.

As for the steps I took? School, military, and more school! That being said, I do not have a degree since "life" got in the way! Most agencies I am aware of do not require a college degree to get started but if you want to promote or go for a federal law enforcement gig, you are going to need a degree. Feds require a four-year degree. As for the "median salary" there are a variety of considerations. Many agencies consider "total compensation" which includes salary plus medical, dental and retirement perks. It also depends on the part of the country. I would say the highest compensation is here in the west. Many salaries out here START in the high five figure range. And that's BEFORE factoring in medical, dental, and retirement.

My advice would be to join the military, learn discipline and get some worldly experience. If not that, get into an explorer/cadet program or become a reserve. That will give you a taste of the cop life and expose you to what you are getting into before you make that commitment. It will also give you a foot in the door if you decide to become a regular sworn officer, since those backgrounds are highly desirable in law enforcement. Finally, never stop learning or being curious! Those qualities make the best police officers!

Good luck and keep your powder dry!

Thank you comment icon Hello Danny, I really want to say I appreciate you for taking your time to answer all my questions, I was very nervous because I thought no one would answer. I'm going to take your advice on joining the military. I'm actually going to enlist to become a military police there! So I guess I'm almost close to being In that path route! But I want to say thank you. You honestly made my day! Kelly
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Kim’s Answer

Hi Kelly!

I retired from law enforcement after 25 years of service. I enjoyed the job, most of the time!

what Is It like to be a police officer? There are many different types of departments - municipal, highway patrol, airport, parks, schools, etc. There are quiet places where things rarely happen, and then there are places where you hop from call to call all day long. The activity is good because it forces you to practice what you learned in the academy and stay current on laws and tactics. And, the hours go by fast. The calm ones are nice, you get to do more community relations type of stuff. You develop a great working relationship with your fellow officers - they become your second family. The down side has to do with the weird shift hours and days off which can make it difficult to do things with family and friends, but, you find ways to make it work. There is also a lot of report writing!

Like what kind of steps did you have to take to get this role? All I had to do was go to the police academy. In fact, the department hired me and paid me while I was in the academy! The larger departments will still do that, since they make you attend their academy. Many others expect you to do it on your own. Also, an increasing number of agencies expect you to have a 2-year degree. Not all of them though. You will need to research this and see what's required where you want to work. I wouldn't recommend getting too much education before going in, because, most agencies offer tuition assistance - once you get the job, then work on your education. Let them help you pay for it!

And by chance , How much would be for the median range salary for this job position? A word about salary. . . learn to look at cost-of-living comparisons. $50,000 in San Antonio goes a lot further than $50,000 in Honolulu. I would need $111,338 in Honolulu to maintain the same standard of living as I have in SA on $50,000! https://www.nerdwallet.com/cost-of-living-calculator/compare/san-antonio-tx-vs-honolulu-hi


Any advice or tips? Nurture all relationships - everyone in your life is possibly going to be interviewed for your background check - neighbors, teachers, ex-boyfriends, etc. Try to keep on good terms with everyone and keep drama out of your life. Maintain a good physical condition - you will need to be able to do cardio, flexibility, and strength testing. Learn now to handle all obstacles head-on. Don't avoid things that are difficult for you to do - (algebra?, etc). You need to have self-confidence to be a cop - the ability to know that you WILL succeed in any given situation. Danny's recommendation about the military is an excellent idea!

Best of luck!!
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Harold’s Answer

I became a police officer to help people. It was a calling from God. I started by becoming a police Explorer. I was an Explorer for two years before attending college. I graduated from The American University in Washington DC. I returned home and became a police officer for the town of Newtown CT in 1980. Later, in July of 1985, I joined the Connecticut State Police. I wanted to help the greater good. I hope this helps.
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