There is nothing mundane about local law enforcement jobs. Officers, patrolmen, detectives, and sheriffs in the local police force have a variety of duties, from stopping crimes in progress to making crime reports. Fieldwork is never the same. Getting it right requires specific training, and the job can be stressful. If your community budget allows it, officers and sheriffs may enjoy a rewarding career.
The duties of a police officer can include patrol duties as well as general law enforcement responsibilities at the local, state, and federal levels. Police often patrol neighborhoods with a partner. When patrolling, officers keep an eye out for violations. They observe suspicious people, unusual situations, and safety hazards and stop citizens suspected of illegal activity. Among their responsibilities is promoting community relations.
When officers are on patrol, they respond to emergencies. Assistance is provided to accident victims or others who are injured. In their patrol area, if accidents occur or if there are crimes committed, they respond as soon as possible.
The job also involves paperwork and other procedural tasks. In the case of a crime or accident, officers interview eyewitnesses and study the scene. Police review case facts to determine if crimes occurred. Photographs, drawings, and recordings of crime or accident scenes are also taken, and interviews with victims or eyewitnesses are recorded.
To investigate local crimes, plainclothes detectives carry out the process. Crimes are investigated by collecting evidence at the scene and interviewing witnesses and suspects. Detectives monitor suspects, looking for suspicious behavior. Additionally, they arrest suspects or conduct raids. When detectives have finished their investigation, they prepare reports, paperwork, and court cases. Also, they may have to testify. They usually stay on their cases until conviction, whether they are investigating fraud or homicide.
County laws are enforced by sheriffs and deputy sheriffs. In addition to being police chiefs, sheriffs also handle patrol duties, similar to those of police officers in cities. Sheriff roles also include overseeing county jails and providing security at local courts. Sheriffs and deputies also execute arrest warrants and verify criminal charges. In addition, they serve summonses and subpoenas. They help accident victims, maintain traffic, and investigate causes at accident scenes.
Standards and training vary among local police departments. A high school diploma is usually necessary to qualify for a police academy, though some departments require college coursework. Academy candidates are also screened for emotional and mental conditions and criminal histories by local police departments. Written exams, interviews, and drug tests may be required.
Recruits are also trained to control traffic, handle firearms, defend themselves, and administer first aid after they secure admission to an academy. In addition, officers are taught the art of close combat. Upon graduation from the police academy, police officers undergo on-the-job training.
The media portrayal of crime and justice is a long-standing research topic. If you are considering a career in criminal justice, you should understand how criminal justice is portrayed in the media.