Why Become A Police Officer?
There are lots of jobs out there that are a lot less dangerous and easier to do then become a police officer. A police officer understands that by the nature of their job, they have to be willing to put their life on the line every day. Now as many people have heard said, police officers have to have a different mentality. They actually choose to run to what other people run from, so why do they do it? Well people that become police officer’s usually do so because they care more about society, then they do themselves. They are trying to make an impact in their communities and neighborhoods and that is something that is very valuable, and they can not get paid enough for what they do. However our society needs them.
Now if you are thinking of becoming a police officer you would be wise to take a look and see how future growth is projected to be in New Mexico. Now the good news is that growth is expected to grow at about 6% with about 150 new jobs opening each year. Now even though a police officer can never get paid enough for all they do, an officer should be able to live a decent life. The good news is that the average salary for a police officer in New Mexico is $47,000 which is good money. Now of course that is not counting overtime, because overtime will be there. A police officer will make criminal and traffic arrests and because of the arrests the police officer will wind up going to court, and sometimes court will be on a police officers day off.
Now as one can imagine, there will be plenty of competition for those trying to become a police officer in New Mexico. Since there will be a lot of people going for the same thing, there have to be certain minimum requirements that must be met in order for people to be considered for hire and we will look at some of them. First off all, they have to have a high school diploma or GED. Second they must be a United States citizen. All candidates must have a valid drivers license as well. Now if a applicant has been in the military then they have to show proof of their military records.
Now besides those things listed above there are other things they will need to do. All candidates will need to go through a medical examination. The reason the medical examination is so important is because they want to make sure the candidate is healthy enough to be a police officer. All candidates will also have to go through a psychological examination, to make sure that they will be mentally able to do this job. Police work is a very stressful job, and it is not for everyone, so they want to make sure they can handle it. Now all candidates will have to pass a physical fitness test which usually has a lot of different tests in it. Now besides those all candidates will be given a background investigation. The background investigation is designed to give the department an overview of you totally as a person. They will check your criminal history, they will also check for DUI charges. They will talk to former employers, relatives, neighbors and references.
Now if a person makes it through all of that then they can go through the police academy and work their way up to becoming a police officer. However the police academy is not like those old movies that were comedies. The police academy is very serious and if a recruit is smart, they will start working out before they go into the police academy.
There was an old rap song that said, it’s a hard knock life for us, and I am sure many recruits feel that the academy is the hard knock life, because of hard and intense it is, but it is built that way to see who can make it through and who will quit. A police officers job is both physically and emotionally draining, more so then other jobs, and instructors want to toughen the recruits up. In most cases the recruit will feel like has been broken down to be built back up. Some of those recruits that you enter with, sad to say will not be graduating with you, because the police academy does wean people out of the academy that are not strong enough to make it through.
There is a lot of training that goes on in the academy, and we are going to highlight a few of them. First off is physical training. Physical training will force yourself to push harder then you knew you could. You will do more push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks,leg lifts, mountain climbers and running then you ever have before. Remember as a police officer, you may have to fight with a suspect or chase a suspect down, so physical training is a must.
The police academy will make sure that a recruit knows proper patrol functions. Patrol functions are things patrol officers do every day, like these examples; radio communications, writing a police report, writing an accident report, how to properly handcuff a suspect, how to properly search a suspect for drugs or weapons, how to do building searches, how to handle a domestic dispute, and yes, how to testify in court. All are very important for the career of a police officer, and the only wY they will be taught is by instruction at the academy.
Now another form of training is not as exciting but even more important then others. This is the training on criminal and traffic codes for New Mexico. Police officers need to learn their traffic and criminal codes, because the codes have the elements to different crimes, and a officer figures out what charge to put on the suspect, based on the codes and elements.
Next up is firearms training. Now all recruits love to shoot their firearm, but before they can do that, the range instructor will teach them about firearms safety. They will also learn how to take their gun apart and put it back together, and how to clean their firearms to prevent jams and misfires. Now besides that, the recruit will learn marksmanship training and combat shooting. The most important thing the firearms instructor will teach the recruits is when to shoot and when not to shoot.
Once of the last training I want to highlight is the defensive driving segment. Now as we all know all patrol officers must drive their patrol vehicles on a daily basis, but what most recruits are not used to doing is driving at a high rate of speed. At some point all officers will have to respond at high rates of speed so practice under those circumstances is vital. Now besides that recruits will learn how to position their patrol vehicles on a traffic stop. The recruits will also drive an obstacle course at a high rate of speed as well. The driving instructor will spend a lot of time on teaching the recruits when to pursue and when not to pursue.
Now after a recruit completes all the training the recruit will have to pass a written examination to be certified as a police office in the state of New Mexico and then graduate the police academy. Once a recruit graduates they can be very proud of their accomplishments because not everyone can make it through the police academy, so they deserve to feel special and should.
Now after a police officer has graduated the academy, they are now considered a rookie police officer, but their training is not done. Once they get to their academy they will go through a field training program with a veteran officer, who will teach the rookie how to apply what they learned in the academy to the street. Once the field training officer releases him from field training then the rookie officer can be on their own to show what they got. As a rookie officer grows on the department there will be many different opportunities that will come their way. Rookie officers can eventually work their way up in rank, if they want too. All rookie officers can apply to work in specialized units like plain clothes, homicide, narcotics, community policing, and school resource officer just to name a few.
With all the bad publicity police departments have gotten here recently, police departments need some good news, and they also need officers with integrity and good moral character. Police work offers rookies opportunities that other jobs do not offer, a fun and very exciting career.