A Call to Serve
Few careers offer more opportunities for self-fulfillment than service as a law enforcement officer.
Sworn officers play a vital role in maintaining safety and welfare at all levels of government and across the country, but law enforcement is a service career at its core. Policing is as much about helping people and maintaining community quality of life as it is about enforcing laws. Those who are looking for a career filled with the type of daily edge-of-your-seat excitement depicted on television will be disappointed. While the dangers of the job are real, and you will be expertly trained to respond to any situation, the heart of policing lies in daily interactions with citizens.
Today, many law enforcement agencies subscribe to the community policing model, which views community engagement, rather than response to specific crimes or incidents, as the core of police work. Many of the issues officers face are community problems in need of a solution often best achieved outside the criminal justice system. By hearing and understanding the causes of community concern, dedicated patrol officers find workable, sustainable, and cost-effective resolutions to issues as minor as a noise disturbance or as complex as a mass protest or demonstration. Law enforcement officers are the only community servants in continual touch with the communities they serve. This requires officers who are adept at fostering relationships and building connections between people and groups. Today’s officers should come prepared to think and solve problems with a broad community focus.
Law enforcement officers must tend to quality of life issues in their communities. Officers should be connected with the community in a way that facilitates their ability to collect, analyze, and share critical information and resources.
Policing is a job that will bring out the best in you and make you more than you are right now. It is a job with serious responsibilities, but the reward is having a job that really counts. Policing will ask a lot of you, but it will give you so much in return including:
- Knowing that your presence conveys peace of mind,
- Having a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day,
- Serving as a community role model,
- Being a first-responder to a person in crisis,
- And much, much more.
In addition to providing a sense of fulfillment and purpose, law enforcement offers a career environment that is diverse in both opportunity and personnel. Statewide there is approximately 2500 full time sworn law enforcement officers. Officers may have the opportunity to branch off into specialization areas based on their interests and ambitions. These special assignments typically include criminal investigation division, alternative patrol (e.g., bicycle, motorcycle), unmanned aerial systems (UAS), just to name a few. Furthermore, for those who desire a leadership role, the opportunities for advancement are great.