Are you considering a career in law enforcement? Working in law enforcement appeals to many people and some even decide on this career path from a young age. It is easy to see why because you get to make such a positive difference to society and protect communities from criminals. Law enforcement professionals are real-life superheroes, but it is important to be aware of some of the challenges along with the benefits of a career in this field. This post will look at what you should know about a career in law enforcement so that you can see if it is the right field for you.
You Can Enjoy A Rewarding Career
First, you will find that working in law enforcement allows for a rewarding career and this is one of the biggest benefits of a career in this field. This is because you know that your work is improving society, communities and the lives of individuals. You will be saving lives, protecting people from criminals and uplifting the entire community in which you are working. Having a rewarding career will give you a sense of purpose, help you to take pride in your work and improve your self-confidence and overall wellbeing.
The Work Is Exciting But Can Be Dangerous & Upsetting
One of the main reasons that many people decide on a career in law enforcement is that the work can be exciting. While it is not all chasing bad guys, you will find that the work can be thrilling at times and you are sure to have many great stories to tell over the course of your career. Of course, the flip side of this is that the work can be dangerous and many police offers get injured on the job. Additionally, the work can be upsetting and disturbing at times, and you will be dealing with all kinds of difficult people and situations. This means that the work can leave a mark on you, but this is all part of the experience and the lows make the highs even greater.
The Hiring Process Is Arduous
It is also important to understand that the process of getting qualified and hired as a law enforcement professional is long and arduous. This is important because law enforcement professionals need to be properly trained and vetted to ensure that they will be a good servant of the community. Every department and level will have different processes, but it can take over a year to get properly trained and ready to start work as a police officer. Additionally, background checks will be thorough and can include criminal history checks, credit checks and previous employment checks. You will also be asked about undetected criminal history and drug use and possibly face a polygraph exam. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to a background check.
The Hours Are Long & Antisocial
If you want a typical 9-5 role, then police work will not be for you. When you work in law enforcement, you will find that the hours are long and antisocial, and you will often be on-call. This means that working in law enforcement inevitably means that it will intrude on your personal life and even when you are not working it can be hard to switch off. Many police officers feel constantly on alert and this is all part of the job as it is your responsibility to protect and serve the community.
Burnout & Fatigue Can Be Issues
Leading on from this, it is not surprising that burnout and fatigue can be issues when you work in law enforcement. Long and antisocial hours, high-pressure working environments and always feeling on alert can take its toll. This is why law enforcement professionals need to make sure that they find ways to manage and reduce their stress, get enough rest and make the most out of their time off. This type of work can influence bad habits like excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and bad food choices, so you need to be wary of these and prioritize a healthy lifestyle.
No Two Days Are The Same
Although the work is stressful and demanding, you will also find that it is incredibly varied and no two days are ever the same. This is a benefit because it means that the work is always interesting and will keep you on your toes, so it is hard to get bored when you are working in law enforcement, although this does mean that it is unpredictable.
You Can Progress Your Career With Qualifications
One of the major benefits of a career in law enforcement is that there are always career progression opportunities and areas that you can specialize in. In addition to this, you can often advance your career with online programs. You can take a combined honours BA in criminology and policing that can help you to go on to find rewarding work in many different areas of law enforcement. A few common positions include forensic analyst, private investigator, probation officer and corrections officer.
You Will Command Respect But Confrontation Is Common
As a law enforcement professional, you will find that you command a great deal of respect from others and this is another perk of the job. In addition to friends and family showing respect and interest in what you do, you should find that people, in general, are respectful and appreciate your hard work. Of course, there are also those that dislike law enforcement and confrontation is part of the job when dealing with criminals. This is something that you will learn to manage with your training and becomes a lot easier with time.
These are a few of the main things to be aware of if you are considering a career in law enforcement. Law enforcement is a popular career choice and it is easy to see why when you consider the many benefits that this line of work can offer. There are also some challenges and drawbacks, though, and this post should give you an idea of whether or not it is the right career for you.