Career Guide For Police Officer or Detective
If you always loved playing cops and robbers and have long dreamt of making this play fantasy a reality, you might want to consider pursuing a criminal justice degree. With the help of a criminal justice degree, you will be well on your way toward enjoying a rewarding career as a police officer or detective.
Everyone knows that a police officer or detective’s job involves pursuing and apprehending people who have broken the law. Despite what you might have seen on your favorite police detective television show or movie, however, the life of a police officer isn’t all about chasing down criminals. Police officers and detectives spend a great deal of their time writing reports and maintaining records. Besides, much of a police officer’s time is spent patrolling and monitoring suspicious behavior or travel violations.
This is not to say those police officers never encounter exciting moments, as officers must always be prepared to respond to emergency calls and act upon any suspicious activity they might notice. Depending upon the situation, this may entail chasing a suspect by foot or by vehicle and investigating and gathering evidence from a crime scene.
When responding to an emergency call or addressing suspicious behavior, a police officer must always be mindful of the law and follow proper protocol. One mistake in the process can potentially damage the case against a criminal, making it difficult or even impossible to prosecute the person who committed the crime.
While these protocols will be addressed at the police academy, those who have a criminal justice degree have a better understanding of the laws and how they affect a police officer’s day-to-day operation. For this reason, many police academies will only admit those who have earned a degree, preferably in the area of criminal justice.
After earning a degree and completing training at a police academy, you can expect to earn a handsome income. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income of police officers was $51,410. Detectives and criminal investigators, on the other hand, earned $60,910 during that same year. If you wish, you can significantly increase your income by working your way up in rank with the department, as the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics further reports that police and detective supervisors earned $75,490 per year.