The Life of a Police Officer
Police officers face many dangers in their jobs. Police officers are
constantly being faced with the unknown and the unpredictable. They never truly
know the outcome of any situation they enter into. This can make policing a
dangerous profession. Dangers faced by police include death, increased risk of
infectious diseases, and serious and minor trauma, both physical and emotional.
These dangers are encountered in many different situations i.e. apprehension
/arrest and investigation of criminals, conducting vehicle stops, investigating
people and crimes, protecting the public from dangerous situations or individuals,
investigating traffic accidents and witnessing the carnage that often results
from those accidents, responding to suicides and directing traffic.
Individuals are drawn to police work for many reasons. Among these often
include a desire to protect the public and social order from criminals and
danger; a desire to hold a position of respect and authority; a disdain for or
antipathy towards criminals and rulebreakers; the professional challenges of the
work; the employment benefits that are provided with civil service jobs in many
countries; the sense of camaraderie that often holds among police; or a family
tradition of police work or civil service.
An important task of the recruitment activity of police agencies in many
countries is screening potential candidates to determine the fitness of their
character and personality for the work, often through background investigations
and consultation with a psychologist.
A police officer is a person who works for a police force. It usually only
refers to those who have been sworn in as law enforcement officers, and does not
include civilian support personnel. A police officer is employed in most cases
by federal, state/provincial or municipal governments and has the responsibility
(or duty) of enforcing federal, state/provincial laws along with municipal/city
ordinances. They also have the responsibility of keeping the public peace.
This is usually done by uniformed pro-active patrolling within their
jurisdiction looking for and investigating law breakers, and by responding to
calls for service. Police officers are required to keep notes of all situations
in which they take action and appear as witnesses during both criminal
prosecutions and civil litigation. One of the lesser-known but most time-consuming
duties of officers is completion of documentation of activity ("reporting").
It must be noted that the responsibilities of a police officer are extremely
broad and not in any way limited to the duties mentioned above. Police are
expected to be able to respond in some fashion to any and all situations that
may arise while they are on duty. Also police must act as government officials
in the cases of investigation. In some communities rules and procedures
governing conduct and duties of police officers requires that they act if needed
even when off duty.