How to Get There:
Careers in Law Enforcement

You’re interested in a job in law enforcement: Now What?

Possessing an interest in law enforcement jobs and actually taking the steps to accomplishing your goal are, obviously, two distinctly different things.

If you have an interest or desire to become a state trooper, a municipal police officer, or a sheriff’s deputy, you must first decide if the job is right for you, and the best way to do this is to do your homework. Here’s what you may want to do:

1.  Talk with Agency Personnel

One of the best ways to begin is by contacting a local or state law enforcement agency. Often times, you can speak directly to a recruiter or supervisor. You can inquire about the application process, minimum employment requirements, and even the demands and duties associated with the job. Many times, this type of information is also available on the agency or department’s website. You can also gain a considerable amount of insight by looking at recent job listings, as everything from education requirements and age requirements to physical ability requirements and on-the-job duties are usually listed. Pay careful attention to the application and hiring process, as it differs quite a bit between departments and agencies.

2.  Ask for a Ride-Along

Many police and sheriff departments offer citizen ride-alongs, which essentially involve shadowing an officer for the day. They also provide a fantastic opportunity to ask the officer questions about his or her job. If ride-alongs are not available through your local police or sheriff’s department, you may want to inquire about upcoming job fairs or new officer orientations, both of which offer plenty in the form of information and resources.

3.  Pay Close Attention to Hiring Dates

Although some departments have ongoing recruitment opportunities, most have specific recruitment periods, during which they accept applications and test candidates. With this in mind, it is very important to keep up-to-date on the happenings of the department in which you are interested. It is best to frequently check the department’s website or Facebook page for the most current information, and ask if you can get on the department’s email list as to receive an email alert when an open recruitment period begins.


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