Why are you here? Why do you want to be in uniform? How does your family feel about you taking the oath? What kind of officer do you want to be? These are all questions you should ask yourself to determine if being a police officer is the right fit for you. Pursuing a career in law enforcement can be a challenge, and so it is important to consider what assets you have to make your journey a successful one:
Support. Having the support of your loved ones is helpful as you commence the challenges of a rigorous police training and prepare for a career in law enforcement. The demands of the job not only impact the officer, but can also cause significant stress to those closest to them.
Physical and mental fitness. Maintaining physical and mental health is a must for an officer's survival and growth. Being physically fit is not only an officer's responsibility, but their duty, in order to perform the essential functions of a police officer and to reduce the likelihood of injury. Likewise, an officer's mental wellness ensures that they are mentally fit to withstand the psychological demands inherent in the position.
Education. Education and ongoing training is what makes a good officer a better one. While not required by the state, the benefits of attaining a higher education degree have been demonstrated in terms of increased knowledge and understanding of the criminal justice process and the law, improved decision-making skills, enhanced communication skills, and greater opportunity for exposure to diverse individuals and communities. Individuals who are military trained may possess the skills to deal with difficult situations and through their training possess unique problem solving skills that could be utilized in the law enforcement profession.
Consider the unique traits that you have and how they can add value to the law enforcement team. Possessing cultural and religious knowledge, speaking a foreign language, having a military background, and successfully overcoming exposure to adversity are just some of the characteristics of officers that every police department needs in order to better understand the backgrounds, viewpoints, and experiences of the community they serve.
Police departments around the country need qualified, ambitious, and dedicated individuals like you. Do you have what it takes to serve?