Law enforcement careers can provide you with tons of rewards, excitement, and even fun. If you’re after a career that provides you with fringe benefits and job security, you may want to consider becoming a police officer. Before you pursue a career helping those in need and fighting crime, here are five important things you need to know first.
Understand the Hiring Process
Many people believe that they can walk into their local police station, hand in their resume, and be patrolling the streets within a matter of days or weeks, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. When applying for a career in law enforcement, you need to understand that the hiring process will be lengthy. While you may have got your foot in the door, to fully qualify as a police officer, the entire process can take up to 12 months or longer.
Thorough Background Checks
Once you’ve made your application to become a police officer, you need to be prepared to shake any skeletons lurking in your closet. Understandably, the background check for those seeking a career in law enforcement will be in-depth and detailed. You will have to undergo a credit check, criminal history check, as well as a detailed look into your previous employment before you are accepted. There are various questions that you will be asked during the hiring process too, such as your past drug use, as well as any criminal behavior that’s undetected. In addition to this, you will most likely have to undergo a physical exam, a polygraph exam, as well as a fitness test to make sure you’re up to the job.
Tough Academy Training
While many smaller communities tend to hire new recruits who have not undergone police academy training, larger cities are unlikely to consider candidates who have not completed academy training. To succeed and get the most out of training, it’s important that you’re mentally and physically ready. There are lots of stresses that you will endure, especially as you will have to qualify with a firearm, deliver first aid, know defensive tactics, and be able to drive.
Irregular and Long Hours
For those who are after a 9-5 role, going into law enforcement isn’t the right career path for you. Police officers are expected to work all different types of shifts and hours because, after all, bad guys don’t call it quits at 5 pm. Police departments are responsible for patrolling 24-hours a day, meaning that officers will need to be staffed at all hours. While you may work permanent shifts, working long hours can take its toll on your family and social life, so it’s crucial that you’re in the right mindset before applying.
Keeping Yourself Protected
A career in law enforcement comes with its hazards and risks, therefore, it’s important that you seek out life insurance from the beginning. No matter what angle you look at it from, your life insurance will be higher, so it’s crucial that you find a life insurance provider who feels comfortable insuring police officers. If you’re considering a law enforcement career, the right life insurance policy is critical. It’s a high-risk job, so you need to know your family will be taken care of if the worst happens.
Before you pursue a career in law enforcement, it’s crucial that you understand how the hiring process works, what background checks need to be made, what academy training entails, as well as the types of shift patterns and hours you will be expected to perform.