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 posts as 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 several activities and comprises most of an officer’s time. This includes 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 differently. Some officers may travel around the city in a police vehicle, sometimes called 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 site on a bike or 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
Often, the 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 some instances, 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.
Law officers 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 various equipment to help them perform their 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.
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, mainly 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 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 into the community they are trying to infiltrate by wearing the same clothes, frequenting the same bars and restaurants, and engaging in similar activities.
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.
In addition, officers must have essential skills such as sound decision-making, understanding legal compliance, and good at handling pressure. Also, cops must be good at dealing with Uncertainty, Lifting, Physical Fitness, Judgment, Objectivity, Dependability, Emotional Control, and Integrity.
Other recommended resources and information:
- Associations and Industry Groups – Get connected to other industry experts and start networking today.
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- 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
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