How To Become A Cop

Duties of a Police Officer

The duties of a police officer display a lot more similarities than differences from community to community or agency to agency.  A study of job descriptions for current openings across the country read very similar, generally speaking. Even though it isn't required, if you want to get off to a good start, it is a good idea to get a college criminal justice degree. This will advance you much quicker in your career.

These duties always include the responsibility to respond to and investigate reported crimes and complaints.  Would you like to become a cop?  Go here to find out how to become a copOnly a police officer is authorized to make an arrest when there is sufficient cause to do so.  The police officer uses discretion in determining whether there is sufficient reason to arrest a suspect.  This is among the unique duties of law enforcement officers.

Criminal investigation is also among the unique  police officer duties.  Despite what you read in mystery and detective stories, it is not appropriate for average citizens to investigate crimes.  This is a function that should be left to a sworn officer. Another similarity you will find in the job description of a police officer from one jurisdiction to another is to write up detailed reports for court proceedings and for insurance claims.  They will use this information as a preparation to testify in court. Evidence that the police officer catalogs will often be used as evidence in court.  It is one of the most important duties of a cop to safeguard all evidence.  It is of utmost importance that the chain of evidence is not broken or that evidence does not become cross-contaminated. 

All police officers are expected to respond promptly to calls within their assigned jurisdiction while on duty.  All officers are expected to “protect and serve” their community without fail.

Where cop jobs can vary considerably are in the details.  The equipment they use will also vary, depending on their exact position.  Someone who works in a crime lab may use a test tube and centrifuge more than a pistol.  The patrol officer may be assigned to cover the beat on foot, on a bike, in a patrol car, a boat, or even sometimes on a horse. The officer may be partnered with another officer, or even a K9 dog.  Occasionally, an officer will patrol solo, while some will work in tactical SWAT teams.  Some will work in an urban setting while others work in the middle of a forest or on a lake.  Still others will patrol the highways to enforce traffic laws.

The tools, locations and other resources vary from cop to cop, but the basic duties of a police officer remain very similar, regardless of the job.


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