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Career Opportunities in Law Enforcement

2 March 2010 2 Comments


There are many different career paths to choose from in law enforcement.  The opportunities available to you will depend on the size and structure of the police department you are recruited into.  Obviously, as with most any career choice, more opportunities exist in larger cities and counties.  The larger the population, and the higher the crime rate, the more specialized needs the department will need to fill. Once an officer has completed the specific educational requirements and police academy he or she will most often be an entry-level rookie officer. During this early time with the department is an excellent opportunity to see the inner workings of the force and inquire into the process of advancing to a position that interests you.  By mapping out your career path you may find you can complete the training required for your desired position and be ahead of the competition when it comes time to promote someone in the ranks.

Some of the specialized positions you can choose are listed below.

  1. Sheriff or deputy sheriff- these positions are generally elected into position by the voters in the community.  Like any other political position having a good reputation in the community and experience in the police department are the best ways to acquire these positions.  Having a good understanding of political campaigning and excellent public speaking skills is an asset.

  2. Detectives- the detective’s job is to investigate crime scenes, collect statements and facts, and build evidence to result in the arrest of a guilty person.  They are responsible for interviewing witnesses and reviewing records from other officers.

  3. K-9 Officers- These officers are trained to work with a canine partner.  These dogs are especially beneficial in locating missing persons and sniffing out drugs.  Because these canines are highly trained to attack and hold on command, extensive training with the officer and dog together must take place.

  4. State police and highway patrol- these officers work on a statewide level and can make arrests anywhere within the state lines.  They often work with neighboring state’s police to help apprehend criminals suspected of crossing state lines.  They also monitor the highways and interstates to make sure that motor vehicle laws and regulations are enforced.

  5. Vice Cops and Drug Task Force Unit officers- these officers are responsible for investigating and uncovering complex situations involving drugs and illegal alcohol sales.  They work with undercover officers to help ensure our communities are safe buy conducting sting operations and raids.

  6. SWAT team officers- SWAT stands for Special Weapons and Tactics.  SWAT team members are considered the elite of the police force, and only the top performing officers are taken into training for these opportunities.  They are specially trained to handle the most serious and most dangerous situations often involving hostages or major drug trade.


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