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Police Officer?

What type of person makes a good police officer?

What are the main responsibilities of a police officer?

What skills should a police officer have?

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Boyd’s Answer

What type of person makes a good police officer?

A wide range of attributes can contribute to making a good police police officer. Good oral and written communication skills, ethical, moral, good decision making ability, a good sense of community and a servant mindset. The job of a police officer is a leader in itself, so good leadership skills are important to learn.

What are the main responsibilities of a police officer?

The responsibilities of police officers vary depending on the role you are in. Patrol officers respond to calls for service that can include any crime, such as domestic violence, robbery, theft, and disturbances of all types, vehicle accidents, etc etc. The role of detectives is to respond to and investigate the specific crimes in which they focus on, such as robbery, fraud and financial crimes, gang related crimes, and assaults. All in all, the responsibilities include preventing, deterring, responding to, and solving crimes, apprehension of criminals.

What skills should a police officer have?

A wide range of skills is necessary to be a police officer. It’s important to understand that the list of skills is not all inclusive and not all police officer possess the same skills. And this does not mean that just because some officers have certain skills it makes them better or worse officers than others. But some of the skills I listed above are leadership skills, and oral and written communication skills, but also physical ability, emotional intelligence, resiliency is important because you will encounter many difficult situations in your career as an officer that require thick skin and the ability to refrain from acting poorly in difficult situations.
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Joel’s Answer

In my humble opinion, Boyd's answer most accurately resembles what I've experienced to be true, but to caveat that I've worked for the same department my entire time as a police officer. The only thing I would add to this answer to the question "what are the main responsibilities of a police officer?" is the following synopsis of what proactive work might entail:

Proactive police work is when we're not responding to citizen calls for what Boyd mentioned above. Proactive work is when we are able to conduct enforcement stops, and what I believe to be critical interdiction for all sorts of crimes of possession or transporting of illegal contraband. Police officers on the streets are trained to notice abnormal behavior of people who we talk to or stop. I personally don't like to park for very long (unless I'm behind on reports of course). Instead, I enjoy engaging in small talk with citizens, especially in parts of town where people are not used to seeing police officers or carrying on a non-confrontational conversation with a police officer. I like to complement kids on their wheelies or kids doing tricks on their skateboards over my PA system . The more I talk to citizens, the more I notice someone who might be hiding something from me that may be used to hurt/victimize someone else. One of my best proactive cases was from a lady pointing out someone parked in a handicapped spot. I backed up my patrol car and discovered a meth pipe in plain view, then dispatch gave me the license plate info saying they were lost or stolen. I detained the driver and the passenger and was able to solve a burglary of a shipping container by the same suspects several days prior. If I wasn't talking to citizens, I would never have been able to intervene in that situation. Proactive work is something that you are able to do in most good departments/agencies, and in doing so engage in some of the investigations that you enjoy the most. In most jobs, a proactive person is very valuable. I believe the same to be true for the law enforcement professional, which I guess answers your first and third question too :)
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James’s Answer

Police officers should possess the following qualities/character traits: ethical, servant attitude, humble, critical thinker, physically fit, courageous, good discernment, good communication skills, performs well under pressure, adaptable in high stress situations, and common sense.

The size of the agency will determine the job opportunities after your time in patrol, e.g., criminal investigations, vice/narcotics, K-9, mounted unit, traffic/motorcycle unit, SWAT/Tactical, etc. Patrol will allow you to apply what you learned in the academy and develop your skills.

James recommends the following next steps:

Research agencies in your area to see what they offer.
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Kenneth’s Answer

People Officers need several skills to be successful; so those people who can multitask, make wise & quick decisions, and can stay calm under extreme amounts of pressure tend to excel in the law enforcement career.

You’ll be taught most of what you need in the academy. Skills you can focus on know include; physical fitness, mathematics, public speaking, and flexibility.

Police officers can serve in some pretty unique positions. In Houston, Texas there are police officers whose whole job is to plan for major events (like the World Series). Typically though the average officer will respond to calls for service. These could be fights, arguments, vehicle crashes, break-ins, assaults, speeding vehicles, etc.

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Ashunda’s Answer

I have worked with many police officers and have the upmost respect for the profession. The ones I have the pleasure of working with are passionate about serving their communities and always show empathy and respect for others. Sometimes the most overlook qualities are integrity, effective communication and the ability to deescalate a situation. One of the main duties is to serve the community. I work alongside police officers in a different manner as an attorney, but their overall duties are the same. So, it doesn't matter if they are investigating a crime, or testifying on what they saw when they arrive on scene, it's all in an effort to serve the community. Some of the other answers given are great and they come from officers that are actually doing the work. Just remember: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Good luck, I think this is a great career choice.
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Matthew’s Answer

Hi Diego!

James cited several great attributes for a police officer! Police agencies have several types of duties available that will allow you to fall into your niche, but all police officers should be able to make good decisions under pressure, have integrity, and be in good physical shape.

Today, agencies are actively recruiting people who are critical thinkers, dependable, and are problem solvers. Almost everyone applying for an entry-level law enforcement position have the educational requirements, but showing a recruiter you have these skills will make you stand out.

Almost all brand new police officers start on patrol when they are hired. After completing their state's law enforcement academy, officers will have to complete 4-6 months of field training with a field training officer (FTO) to show you how to complete all the different tasks required with the job, including understanding criminal law (what constitutes a crime in your state and what actions you are allowed to take) civil law (what circumstances are civil and cannot be interfered with by a police officer) how to conduct traffic stops, write search warrants, complete searches, write reports, and how to follow your agency's policies and procedures.

A "normal" day will differ greatly depending on the size of your agency's area (is it a city of 1,000,000 people or a town with 300 people?) your role within the agency (traffic unit, patrol officer, school resource unit) and the time of your shift (do you work afternoons or midnight shift?).

I work in a city of about 100,000 people. When I worked as a patrol officer a majority of my shift was spent on responding to traffic accidents and completing crash reports, responding to businesses who report theft or damage to their property, reports of shootings, and making traffic stops that end in drug arrests, warrant arrests, or operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) arrests.
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