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So, You Want to Be a Police Officer?

It is the police officer who patrols the streets, making his or her presence known to criminals as well as those who may potentially need help during dangerous or even non-threatening situations. Much of the time, when an officer's car is spotted, people check the speed of their car or do a mental check of their own actions, not understanding that while a law enforcement officer's job is to prevent crime, they are not waiting to arrest the average citizen for crimes not committed. A law enforcement or police officer is trained to wear many hats during her or his day, from advocate to security officer and many other roles in between. It is a tough, but rewarding career that ultimately keeps the world a safer place.

The police officer's day runs in shifts, with the added benefit of being "on call," sometimes extending their days well past 12 hours "on the clock." Officers risk their lives and spend little time with family and friends in order to keep the lives of people as safe as possible. Officers are required to maintain certain physical requirements, so they have to exercise daily. They also must attend briefings or roll calls, in which they are kept up-to-date on any issues in the area, within the police department or other information that may help or interfere with their work. From there, they get into their patrol car or other means of transportation, and actually begin their day.

Police officers must dress as if they are walking targets, including bullet proof vests and belts that hold handcuffs, non-lethal weapons, a gun with ammunition and other objects that must be readily accessible in case they are ever attacked. Officers may spend a great deal of time in patrol cars, looking for speeders and drunk drivers, but they also patrol neighborhoods, helping to keep sidewalks safe for children. They serve an important role in the fights against domestic violence, drugs and other crimes. In between fighting these crimes, if an incident occurs, the police officer must file paperwork, testify in court, and do her or his part to uphold the legal issues pertaining to the act of law enforcement itself. Law enforcement officers commit their lives to helping others, day after day.

Becoming a law enforcement officer may have various requirements depending on location, but a law enforcement training is recommended. Experience in the military, private security or even public safety may also be beneficial. Law enforcement officers are required to be in good physical shape and must pass a civil service test, background check, physical exam, lie detector and/or drug test. Many police departments are also looking for recruits who can work with computers and technology in order to meet the demand of technology-based crimes.

Law enforcement officers work long hours, face dangerous situations, can be unappreciated by the public, yet are always willing to serve those inclined to pass judgment on their lives and career choices. If it was not for police officers and the work they do, much of the peace of mind that people take for granted would not be possible. It is a noble career, giving back to the community by helping to keep crime rates down and peace of mind a part of everybody's lives.

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