If you are looking for a fast-paced, exciting career that will allow you to make a difference in your community, you may enjoy being a police officer. However, it can also be a dangerous, stressful and difficult job. If you are thinking about becoming a police officer, you should first consider the many advantages and disadvantages of this profession.
Job Duties and Pay
Though each day is going to be different as a police officer, some people might rather have a more predictable, mundane type of job. Being a police officer also includes writing police reports and doing other paperwork, so it may not be a source of constant thrills. It requires hours of sitting and driving, which can cause weight issues and other health concerns. The pay and advancement opportunities can be good depending on where you work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2017, police and detectives earn a median annual salary of $62,960 or $30.27 per hour. Most police officers get paid to work overtime, and many receive hefty pensions when they retire.
Danger at Work
Being a police officer is inherently dangerous, and each day they go to work, police officers are risking their lives. Racing through traffic to crime scenes, risking being shot and approaching unsuspecting criminals are just some of the daily activities that make being a police officer dangerous. Some people may find this type of job exciting and like doing new tasks every day. It can be a great alternative to a boring desk job. Others may feel the risk is not worth the benefits that come with being a police officer.
Many people hail police officers as being heroes and consider them to be brave and helpful people they can count on to come to their rescue in a time of need. Others think police officers are mean, uncaring snitches who simply arrest people and hand out traffic tickets. As a police officer, you will surely be both loved and hated. This can be either an advantage or a disadvantage depending on your perspective. Often police officers have to deal with angry, distressed citizens or people who do not want to cooperate, which can make police work feel like a thankless job.
Responsibility and High Standards
Police officers are called upon to think quickly and handle difficult emergency situations and, in some instances, save lives. Because of the high level of responsibility, police are held to high standards by internal affairs and the general public. They must always respond quickly and appropriately. Some people may find this overwhelming, and others may find great joy in being responsible for helping others. Police officers have a duty to serve and protect their communities, but some officers may be discouraged by the fact that crimes will continue to be committed no matter what. The job requires long hours, and many officers spend their lives on the force. Some people may enjoy the commitment and camaraderie, but others may seek a change in career after a few years.