List of Police Officer Duties

Police officer duties
List of police officer duties and responsibilities in law enforcement.

A police officer is a warranted employee of a police department, force, or military. Police officers are paid positions and are not appointed or elected to their post citizens. However, Police Chiefs and Commissioners may be elected by residents in the local community. Also, the public refers to Police officers as law enforcement officers or cops. Below is a list of police officer duties.

List of Police Officer Duties and Responsibilities

Enforce the Law

One of the primary responsibilities of police officers is to enforce the law. Hence, the term “law enforcement”. Enforcing the law involves a number of different activities and comprises the majority of an officer’s time. This includes activities such as patrolling their assigned area and responding to calls related to disturbances. This leads to such activities as mediating disputes, filing reports, and arresting individuals.

Police officers may physically walk their assigned “beat” or areas in a number of different ways. Some officers may travel around the city in a law enforcement vehicle, sometimes referred to as a “cop car” or a “squad car”. Others may travel on a motorcycle or another motorized vehicle such as a Segway. In some areas, officers ride horses, known as “mounted police”. Others may work on a foot beat and travel the area on a bike or on foot.

Conduct Criminal Investigations

Most police officers investigate crimes at a very high level as a part of their patrolling and response calls. Law enforcement detectives investigate crimes more thoroughly by:

  • Examining crime scenes, gathering and analyzing evidence
  • Interviewing witnesses, interrogating suspects and consulting with experts
  • Performing legal research

File Reports

Law enforcement officer must document their observations and actions performed in the line of duty. In addition, they are required to complete police reports as required by their department. In certain cases, law enforcement officers must testify in court related to cases they are involved with.

Administer First Aid

Police officers, sheriffs, and deputies are often the first people on the scene of accidents and natural disasters. Most police officers receive basic training in administering first aid such as CPR, treating minor wounds, etc.

Make Arrests

Officers of the law are sworn to an oath and are granted the power to arrest and imprison suspects. Police officers apprehend suspects by responding to complaints and calls for help. If legally necessary, the officer will arrest the individual or individuals. Officers must read the person who is being arrested their Miranda Rights.

Maintain Knowledge of Procedures, Laws, and Ordinances

Officers must maintain knowledge of department policies and procedures. Also, they must maintain professional and technical knowledge by studying applicable federal, state, and local laws and ordinances; attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications; practicing skills; participating in professional societies.

Operate Equipment / Vehicles

Law enforcement employees usually wear a variety of equipment to help them perform the required duties. The equipment may include a firearm or TASER / Stun Gun, baton or club, mace or pepper spray, two-way radios, handcuffs, a bulletproof vest, and more.

For more information on the typical equipment, see Police Officer Equipment, accessories, and devices used in the line of duty. Also, view a list of the vehicles used in law enforcement.

Private Sector Work

In addition to their regular police officer duties, cops are often hired by companies and private individuals to work in the private sector, especially to provide security during events. This is due to their skill, expertise, and law enforcement experience. For example, officers are often hired to provide security for private events such as parties, conventions, or even weddings and funerals. In other situations, they are hired to provide personal protection or bodyguarding services to corporate executives, politicians, and celebrities.

Send, Receive and Interpret Radio Communications

Police officers use radios to communicate with their local dispatch units. In addition, they communicate with other officers, state and local government employees, legal professionals, and more. Most departments use Police 10 Codes to streamline radio communication.

Work Under Cover

Some trained operatives may go “undercover” to infiltrate criminal organizations such as gangs, cults, organized crime units such as the mafia, and even religious organizations. Personnel who go undercover don’t resemble the typical uniformed cop. They assimilate themselves into the community they are trying to infiltrate by wearing the same clothes, frequenting the same bars and restaurants, and engaging in similar activities.

Additional Responsibilities

Some police officer duties may include crowd control, counter-terrorism, surveillance, child protection, VIP protection, and investigation techniques into major crimes, such as fraud, rape, murder, gang violence, or drug trafficking.

Important traits include Decision Making, Legal Compliance, Handles Pressure, Deals with Uncertainty, Lifting, Physical Fitness, Judgment, Objectivity, Dependability, Emotional Control, Integrity.

Other recommended resources and information:

  • Associations and Industry Groups – Get connected to other industry experts and start networking today.
  • Police Drones – The latest aerial surveillance and photography technology used in Law Enforcement and Investigations.
  • Resources, Jobs, and Equipment – Start your career and find the right gear to wear.
  • Police Training – Find out what is required to become a police officer and where to get the skills you need to be successful in the field.

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions about these police officer duties, please leave a comment below.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


  1. No law in Pleasant hill, Mo. For me I slip under the table because Pleasant hill could not keep cops. They did not do the paper work. 11 years of being Stalked/slander/harassment. Threaten, rob Shoot at. Each time I called the so called cops I was told we can not do anything. When I called for the paper work I was told the cop no longer work there. They did not even wright up a police report. The Mayor can’t even call me or wright me. I sent him the complaint. i have my story up on F B. No law for me. because Pleasant hill has no good cops and the Mayor who to busy to care in what happens.

  2. I spoke to a retired Sheriff recently. He said one of the main aspects of their job was to educated the public. Most of his interaction with the public weren’t arrests or writing citation. Just interested that didn’t show up in your list.


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