Last Updated on January 20, 2022
With few exceptions, law enforcement is a respected career that demands various characteristics. Growing up, we all admired different careers that seemed interesting. While most people mentioned being a police officer, few managed to reach that height. Contrary to what people believe, maintaining law and order in a society that respects everyone’s view is complex; different characteristics are needed.
Characteristics of a good police officer
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Great social skills
Having excellent social skills is a plus for any police officer. This is because they work among diverse communities which involve safeguarding individuals and promoting peace. While it can become a daunting task, the ability to remain apolitical is essential in promoting peace. You have to understand that every individual has rights. With that knowledge, you need to caution yourself to exhibit legal limits. It takes patience and understanding for you to achieve this fete.
A knack for science, mathematics, and computers
While law enforcement careers involve working hours out of the office, it is also ideal to know about several courses–science, math, English, and computers. This is helpful in analytical thinking, along with filling out police reports on different cases. Many law enforcement officers earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice which can enhance an officer’s ability to multi-task.
A quick thinker
An officer’s job is never easy. In a single day, he can make several significant decisions that will demand research, instinct, analysis, and proper procedures. Though some problem-solving skills may come with experience, it is always a plus having to make quick decisions.
Can easily adapt to change
Over the past half century, law enforcement has changed steadily as more nations seek to have a professional way of handling justice. For instance, several decades ago, DNA evidence was not common, and police officers relied on confessions along with other features to help solve a crime. Currently, crime has become sophisticated, involving complex matters which will require officers to adapt. Unlike old days where crime involved physical cash, nowadays there is the digital currency which is hard to trace. As the world changes, officers need to adapt along with it.
A great team player
While seeking justice, law enforcement officers need to be great team players. Sharing information is the only way crime can be solved. An ideal police officer needs to coordinate reports from first responders and witness reports.
Pros of being an officer
Relationships within law enforcement are the strongest
When you become a law enforcement officer, you join an elite group of over 800,000 in America. When called to action, each officer looks out for the other. It is not a secret that when a criminal eliminates one of them, then that criminal stands a chance of facing the full force of the law.
Comes with an option of retiring early
Police officers have the chance to retire early. Many states allow officers to retire after serving 20 years. For instance, if you joined the police force at 21 years, then at age 41 you could enjoy a full pension while working on something else. In case you are from California, then you are eligible to retire after five years of service collecting partial pension upon attaining 50 years.
Cons of being an officer
Has a high chance of having PTSD
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychiatric condition that is characterized by the brain failing to recover from a terrifying accident or event. While some police officers have retired without the need to use their weapon, others had to make the choice to pull the trigger. Working as a law enforcement officer means that you have to witness terrifying events and also respond to horrific accidents. Consequently, these events enhance the chances of officers having to cope with anxiety disorders and PTSD which can take months or years before recovering.
You face the risk of death or injury each day. Law enforcement careers often involve high risks since you are dealing with criminals who are willing to go to great lengths to remain anonymous or free from jail. Statistics collected in 2018 showed that 88 officers died in the line of duty.