POLICE EMPLOYMENT

School Reports

We often get requests for law enforcement information to be used in a school report. Therefore, we have listed on this page some general information about the various jobs. Law enforcement careers usually fall into three catagories: local, state and federal jobs.

Local Law Enforcement

Local law enforcement consists of the city police department and the county sheriff\'s office. City police officers are responsible for enforcing local and state laws within the city limits. New recruits usually spend time on the street patrolling a certain area of the city. After several years on the job, they are then eligible for a promotion to the rank of sergeant, lieutenant, detective, SWAT team, etc.

Deputy sheriffs are responsible for enforcing the laws within the county in which they work. This can include the city limits, but their work usually takes them into more rural areas. In most states, the sheriff is responsible for housing local prisoners. Some sheriffs\' offices require that a deputies also work in the jail as well as on the street. Other sheriffs\' departments see this as two separate functions, corrections and policing, and do not require their deputies to work in the jail. Most sheriffs\' offices follow a career ladder of sergeant, lieutenant, captain, etc.

The general requirements for most local law enforcement jobs are as follows:

1. Must be a U.S. citizen.
2. Minimum age is usually 20 or 21.
3. Must possess a valid driver\'s license.
4. Must have a high school diploma or a GED certification.
5. No felony convictions.
6. Must pass a physical fitness test.
7. Must pass a written entrance test.
8. Must pass an oral interview.
9. Complete a background investigation.
10. Must pass a polygraph test.
11. Must pass a psychological evaluation and medical examination.

Because they only hire a small number of officers each year, most local departments do not have their own training academy. Therefore, they will send their new hirees to a state operated training facility where they will receive their law enforcement certification. This training usually last between 15 - 25 weeks. Recruits usually have to stay at the training facility for the duration of training. Upon graduation, each local department will then provide recruits with training in local statutes and policies. Larger departments may have their own training facility where they conduct all of their training.

The starting salary varies with each department. Bigger departments pay more than smaller departments. The salary range can be anywhere from $20,000 to $45,000 per year. The average starting salary is about $29,000.

State Law Enforcement

Every state has either a State Police or State Highway Patrol agency. These troopers are responsible for enforcing state laws on our nations highways. They differ in that the State Police usually has more investigative duties. The state police will have specialized units consisting of special agents or criminal investigators. These troopers function as plain clothes detectives investigating various violations of state law such as drug trafficking.

The general requirements for most state trooper jobs are as follows:

1. Must be a U.S. citizen.
2. Minimum age is usually 20 or 21.
3. Must possess a valid driver\'s license.
4. Must have a high school diploma or a GED certification. Some agencies may require some college or a college degree.
5. No felony convictions.
6. Be willing to work anywhere in the state.
7. Must pass a physical fitness test.
8. Must pass a written entrance test.
9. Must pass an oral interview.
10. Complete a background investigation.
11. Must pass a polygraph test.
12. Must pass a psychological evaluation and medical examination.

Training is usually conducted at their own training academy and lasts between 15 - 30 weeks. Recruits usually have to stay on the facility during training. Most academies conduct their training in a paramilitary fashion. There is early morning physical conditioning classes, inspections, marching in formation, etc. Upon graduation, troopers are assigned a training officer to provide them with some on the job training.

The starting salary varies with each state. High cost of living states such as Alaska and California pay their new recruits around $46,000 per year. The average starting salary is about $31,000.

Federal Law Enforcement

The federal government employs a large number and a wide variety of police officers. There are over 75 federal agencies that have police officers. Listed below are some of the more common agencies and their jobs.

U.S. Secret Service
Responsible for protecting the president as well as other dignitaries, investigates counterfeiting and credit card fraud.

Drug Enforcement Administration
Enforces the nation\'s drug laws.

U.S. Marshals Service
Works for the federal court system. Enforces court orders, serves subpoenas and summons, apprehends federal fugitives, runs the Witness Protection Program.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
Enforces the laws that are associated with it\'s name but places more emphasis firearm violations.

Internal Revenue Service
Collects federal tax revenue and investigates tax fraud.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Enforces the nation\'s immigration laws. Prevents the smuggling and illegal entry of persons in the U.S. Investigates illegal shipments of goods into the U.S.

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Responsible for enforcing all other laws not assigned to another agency. This includes bank robbery, kidnapping, terrorism, and computer crimes.

The general requirements for most federal law enforcement jobs are as follows:

1. Must be a U.S. citizen.
2. Minimum age is usually 21.
3. Must possess a valid driver\'s license.
4. Must have a 4 year college degree or 3 years of investigative experience.
5. No felony convictions.
6. Be willing to work anywhere in the U.S.
7. Must pass a physical fitness test.
8. Must pass a written entrance test.
9. Must pass an oral interview.
10. Complete a background investigation.
11. Must pass a polygraph test.
12. Must pass a psychological evaluation and medical examination.

Except for the FBI and DEA, all federal agencies conduct part if not all of their training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center located in Glynco, GA. The FBI and DEA train at their facility in Quantico, VA. All agents must complete a nine week criminal investigators course. They then receive specific agency training. The total time spent in training is about 17 weeks.

The government has a pay scale called the General Schedule (GS). Most federal law enforcement agencies pay their employees according to this scale. New agents start out as a GS-5 or GS-7. All criminal investigators receive an automatic 25% of their salary in overtime.


General Information On Training



Most law enforcement training academies instruct their personnel in the following areas:

1. State and federal laws.
2. Report writing.
3. Interviewing techniques.
4. Surveillance.
5. Firearms.
6. Defensive tactics.
7. Use of intermediate weapons (baton & pepper spray).
8. Driving tactics.
9. First aid and CPR.
10. Behavioral science.
11. Testifying in court.
12. Radio communications.
13. Responding to an emergency.
14. Physical conditioning.
15. A lot of practical exercises.
16. Courses specific to the functions of the agency.

Program:
Degree:
ZIP:
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