9 Legit Things That Attract People To Police Work
Why do we do it? What brought us here? Those are questions often asked of veteran law enforcement officers throughout their career lifetime. After a few years, those questions have deeper meaning than the rookie responses we spewed out during our first year of service. I would sum up law enforcement as the best job in the world. But that’s my opinion. However, I am certain it is not a lonely belief. I’m sure I share those perspectives with other cops.
Did you role play being a Viking, crusader, or superhero as a kid? Maybe you even thought about becoming one in real life. Yoo-hoo! Over here.
Don’t fall for that firefighter profession. They will try to sway you to the “other side.” Those qualities are really more fitting of our job over here on the blue line. And coincidently, peace officers are entrusted with protecting their community and ensuring public safety. I think firefighters are supposed to put out fires. And rescue kittens.
In all seriousness, both professions might house some of that guardian personality. We often engage in a little friendly competition with each other and fight to win the public’s good graces. And we must admit police officers like firefighters, too.
But getting down to brass tacks and hard facts; the cops are the shield between the public and evil. We take an oath of service. We are committed to the protection of your life, property, and liberties.
How did we get here and what drew us in? We all have a backstory. Mine was a little circular. In the 80’s, I took a personality test at my high school in Farson, Wyoming. The results- which showed up on that nice green and white dot matrix printer paper-found I was best suited to be a police officer. I ignored the test, pursued my college degree, and went into business for a short time. It was not long after being in the business world, I found myself unhappy. There was never a doubt about me joining the police force when the job opening and opportunity was placed in front of me. I really wanted it. Truth is some of us are destined for law and order. It’s a true calling.
So what happened? I don’t know. I guess I went astray and got aligned correctly as I found my way through life.
This can happen to anyone. It is important to do what you love. Reflect upon your talents. So how do we know if police work is the right selection? What genuine rationale do police officers give for wanting to be in law enforcement? Here are 9 attractive features of the profession:
1. Public Service. Many of us want to serve others. Individuals who want to connect their desire to serve with actions in shaping their community should apply at their local police department. Police officers are accountable to the public for safety and security. Anyone who has high drive to help people would be attracted to police work. Applications are open.
2. Mysteries. Do the unsolved crimes draw you in on the television and the movies? Everyone likes a good mystery, right? Law enforcement officers are tasked daily with solving some type of mystery big or small. Many calls are simple non-thriller types like finding a lost wallet. But there you are helping a person out. The flip side of the humdrum headline is the “who dunnit” death caper which intrigues us all. At the end of the day when the crime is solved, you feel good about closing one case and going on to the next.
3. Problem-solving. Were you that kid who always fumbled with the Rubik’s cube? Did you solve it or put it down in frustration? Or did you break up fights in school? Solving puzzles and dilemmas are some of the complicated but common components to law enforcement which require emotional intelligence and active listening aptitude. Officers mediate each day and use their interpersonal communication skillsets to be a great asset to the community. If you want to specialize and really hone in those communication abilities, police officers can become hostage negotiators.
4. Danger. Is a reality. The risk experienced in law enforcement is not the same as that thrill from extreme sports or going outside your comfort zone. It is to the level which is simply that of life and death. One must come to grips with those high exposure probabilities if you choose the uniform.
5. No garden varieties. Not one day in law enforcement is the same. Forrest Gump’s mother had it right, “Life is like a box of chocolates.” That is a guarantee. You never know what to expect. Things arise daily throughout a police officer’s career and the happenings never cease to amaze you.
6. Community impact. Police work is all about the community. The citizens are stakeholders and watchdogs. They rely on you for their public safety. Town members also know everything and are the go-to persons for coalition and community partnerships. They contribute to making the quality of life better in your city.
7. Making a difference. Many police officers will tell you law enforcement is a thankless job. But it does have its rewards. For example, reaching just one child with your model example and interactions can make impressions upon them which last a lifetime. Make it count and make it good. Just one child makes all the difference.
8. Dudley Do-Rights. Do you dream of riding the white horse and wearing the matching hat? Saddle up! This is the profession for you. The purpose of police work is to do right and enforce the laws fairly while maintaining an objective perspective.
9. Pride. Shining your shoes, polishing your badge, and putting on a pressed uniform is just part of the daily ritual and dignity you display as a police officer. It symbolizes the honor and integrity of the profession. But being a cop is much more than looking good in a uniform. Professional respect is inward. Officers take pride in quality performance which reflects a positive organizational image. A hard work ethic and integrity are top character traits which are sought after in law enforcement applicants.
Police officers spend a lot of time active in the field and not behind some stuffy desk. The duties performed are full of variety and flavors to match everyone’s preferences from traffic detail to homicide investigations. The career path of an officer can take on many directions.
There are few careers which carry the fun, the danger, and the dynamics of police work. Sure, there are slow days for catching up from the chaos. I used those moments to get out and do some foot patrols, ask residents what patrol needs were in their neighborhood, or chatted with the kids on my beat.
Law enforcement is a profession where the police work for others and for something truly greater than themselves. If you see any of these qualities in yourself, consider coming over to the criminal justice side. If you are motivated by public service, being a cop may be a rewarding choice.