Career as a Police Officer

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Being a police officer has always been a personal aspiration of mine because of the crime level in the United States. As the world ages, people seem to commit more crime. Now, crime is inundated in our school systems too. It is difficult to imagine a world without crime because of how it has monopolized society. These issues have induced my desire to become a police officer.  Crime has to stop, and the need for more police officers is increasing. When crime exists, it harms society in many ways. Innocent people and children are dying because of crime. So, an investment in policing is paramount. Otherwise, the state of the world will only become worse as a result of crime. My goal is to become a police officer to help reduce crime. Being cognizant of the fact that police officers alone can not solve the world’s problem, I am also aware that they can provide small improvements that can aid in safety and a better world.  

Educational Requirements and Eligibility

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018), the educational requirement for a police office is a high school diploma. However, many organizations are requiring an associate’s degree or two years of college education.  Police officers have to be at least 21 years of age,  citizens of the United States, must graduate from an agency’s training academy before being placed on job training (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). Officers may become ineligible for the job if they have records containing felonies or drug utilization (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). 

Training

Training is also mandatory. Training in an academy is required before police officers can parole or become official law officers. Training entails classroom instruction about constitutional laws, legalities, civil rights, and ethics (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). In addition, prospective police officers are trained on gun safety and emergency response strategies. There are various police departments that have cadet programs for those who want to become a professional in law enforcement, but do not meet the age eligibility. These cadet candidates are often given office duties until they reach the required age. 

Salary

According to Howard (2018), finding qualified applicants is very difficult with a beginning salary of only $45,000, a three-month academy process, and another two-month process for field training.  Most men and women have families to take care of financially, and a lengthy process like the one aforementioned one only deters prospective employees from seeking the field, and especially millennials who are already looking for more. However, for those who really are serious, the requirements only ensure safety. Crime is a very serious offense against mankind, and as such, the need for police officers should be a primary concern. Crime can carry consequences of probation, prison time, jail time, or simple warnings by a judge, but without preventive measures like policing, reactionary steps will only exacerbate the issue. The permeation of crime stemming from drugs, poverty, an innate drive to harm, monetary reasons, and psychological or mental disabilities justifies the need for more police officers and good recruitment processes. 

According to the Uniform Crime Reporting Program compiled in 2015 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), law enforcement agencies reported 1,197,704 crimes in the nation, 327,377 robberies, and 90,185 rapes (“Latest Crime Statistics Released,” 2016).  The FBI also reported property crimes. These crimes resulted in $14.3 billion in monetary losses (“Latest Crime Statistics Released,” 2016). There was also 15,696 murders in the nation as well (“Latest Crime Statistics Released,” 2016). Also noted was a 3.9 increase in violent crimes and a 2.6 declination in poverty crimes when compared to data from 2014 (“Latest Crime Statistics Released,” 2016). 

With statistics like the ones from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it is important to devise an understanding of criminals’ mindsets to ascertain the reasoning behind these acts to curtail them in the future and simultaneously create a robust police workforce. The increase in crime also supports the immediate need for intervention from law officials and even psychologists.  Prisons were created to punish criminals and to rehabilitate before placing them back in society with regular citizens. 

Florida State Police Department

In seeking a police department of interest, Florida State Police Department seemed very interesting because of the need for more police intervention due to the crimes recently perpetrated in schools and against innocent people in the state. While crime exist in every state, Florida was of most interest and not simply because of the level of crime; however, it was a motivating fact, but not the sole reason. 

The Criminal Justice Standards & Training Commission, under the “Florida Department of Law Enforcement, manages training procedures and certification of police officers in the state with the following four eligibility requirements” (“How to Become a Police Officer in Florida,” 2018, p. 1):

1. Meet the minimum qualifications.

2. Complete the required training.

3. Pass the State Officer Certification Exam (SOCE).

4. Become employed as a sworn officer.

In addition, prospective officers have to abide by the following requirements before becoming eligible for the Florida Police Training Academy which includes “being a United States citizen by birth or naturalization, at least 19 years old, and hold a high school graduate or a GED certificate” (“How to Become a Police Officer in Florida,” 2018, p. 1). Applicants must also pass a physical assessment from a licensed doctor or nurse practitioner before taking the required Basic Abilities Test (BAT) (“How to Become a Police Officer in Florida,” 2018). This test is required before going into the training program. Afterwards, additional testing is required in Florida, which includes the State Officer Certification Examination (SOCE). Candidates have three opportunities to pass the SOCE to become a Florida officer. Although the requirements may seem minute compared to other field, there is a police shortage, which also sparks my interest. 

Without an adequate workforce, crime simply erupts at a faster pace. Laws were enacted to keep society in peace. The investment in police officers and a better recruitment process are necessary to decrease or at least stabilize some of society ills. Simply stating that the costs associated with recruitment is a barrier is not a plausible excuse for solving the problem.

Government intervention to eradicate shortages is needed. Additional resources to craft better recruitment measure are also needed. In order to measure the success and failure of an operation or a police force is simply to look at the numbers. When crime increases, the need for more police officers should be paramount. 

 

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). United States Department of Labor. How to become a Police 

Officer or Detective. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm#tab-4

Howard, T. (2018). 4 Things Millennials want from their police career. Policeone.com. Retrieved 

from https://www.policeone.com/police-recruiting/articles/470779006- 

4-things-millennials-want-from-their-police-career/

How to Become a Police Officer in Florida. (2018). Retrieved from 

https://www.how-to-become-a-police-officer.com/states/florida/

Latest Crimes Statistics Released. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/  

latest-crime-statistics-released.