Why Become A Police Officer?
As we all know, there are certain jobs that are thankless, and one of those happens to be, being a police officer. Police officers by their very nature and job have to put their lives on the line on the line every single day. It is a very tough thing to go to work knowing that you may not come home at the end of your shift, so what makes people do it? Well it is hard to say the same thing for everyone, but in essence, anyone willing to do what they are willing to do is a person who cares more about their community then they do themselves. They want to make a difference in their community, and they want to help people.
Now if you are thinking of becoming a police officer, one thing a person would want to know is what does the growth look like for the state of Oklahoma? That is a fair question, but the good news is that Oklahoma is expected to grow over the next several years in the area of hiring police officers. The growth is expected to be about 15% which is above the national average which is about 5%. Now another thing that most people are wondering is how much will they get paid. The annual salary for a police officer in Oklahoma is about $42,000. Now the salary does not count overtime. Now a police officer will get a lot of overtime, because when a police officer makes criminal arrests, they will go to court. Court a lot of times occurs when a police officer is off, so they will get overtime.
Now because there is a lot of competition for a police officer job, there are certain minimum requirements that have to be met, and certain tests that will have to be passed. Now the minimum requirements are; first the recruit has to be a United States citizen. Second, the candidate must be 21 years or old. Third all candidates must have a high school diploma or GED. Now if a candidate has a college degree of some type that gives them a little boost. Now no candidate can have any felony convictions nor domestic violence incidents, which would disqualify them from the process if they did. Now if you meet those minimum qualifications then there are certain tests that a candidate must pass as well.
First they will have to take a written examination where the candidate must pass the test at 70%. Second all candidates must pass a psychological examination, where the candidate can show that they are able to handle the stress of the job, emotionally and mentally. Also they can not have been committed to a mental institution at all. All candidates must pass a physical exam to show that the candidate can handle the physical aspects of the job, and even the aspects of the training academy. Now if a candidate meets all these requirements, then a candidate can look forward to being the center of the background investigation.
Now when a candidate is the center of the background, they need to understand that the investigators are going to check everything. Investigators will talk to past employers, neighbors, family and references. All candidates will have to get fingerprinted to make sure their criminal history is good, and they will also check for DUI arrests. Now as part of the background the candidate may have to do a drug screening, because departments can not afford to have a person addicted to drugs working for them. Now if a candidate passes the background, and gets offered a job, then it is on to the police academy.
When a recruit enters the police academy they have to realize first of all that there is a huge commitment being made on their part. The academy is run for 14 weeks, and it is very much run like a military camp. The instructors will demand a lot from the recruits and they will push the recruits harder then they have ever been pushed before. The theme behind police academies is to break the recruits down to raise them back up. Now a recruit would be wise to start working out before they enter the academy so they can handle the physical training that is going to be coming. As a recruit enters they should look around because not everyone that comes in with them, will graduate. Some will quit and some will drop out.
Now one of the most hard parts of the training at the academy is the physical training. The instructors will have the recruits doing more push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, leg lifts and running then most recruits have ever done, and the reason they do it is to get the recruit in good shape. Remember as a police officer, people that will be arrested, will fight and run from a police officer, so the officer has to be in shape to chase them, and in some cases fight them off as well.
Now another part of the training is more classroom oriented, because of what they teach you. It is being trained on the criminal and traffic codes for the state of Oklahoma. Now the criminal and traffic code is vital for police officers because it teaches the officer what elements need to be met, to be able to charge the suspect with the right charges. Since police officers charge people everyday, making sure you have the right charges is paramount. Now besides the codes for Oklahoma they will also be taught federal charges.
Now one of the most fun classes that recruits like is the defensive driving course. All police officers drive a patrol car, but driving a car at a normal speed is different then driving at a high rate of speed. The driving instructors will work with the recruits on how to drive at high rates of speed, how to position their vehicle on a traffic stop for cover, and they will even drive a vehicle through an obstacle course at a high rate of speed. This is one of the most fun courses through the academy but still very important.
Now one of the other courses that is fun is firearms training. Every police officer has to carry a gun, and they have to be trained on it well. The firearms instructor will teach them firearms safety. The firearms instructor will also teach recruits how to clean their weapon. The cleaning of the weapon is important to prevent jams and misfires. Now besides cleaning their firearm, they will be taught how to take the gun apart and put it back together. They will also be taught how to use their sights for targeting the gun and marksmanship training, along with combat shooting. However the most important thing they teach the recruits is when to shoot and when not to shoot. These are all very important as far as handling their firearm is concerned.
Now one of the last courses I wanted to go over is the patrol functions course, and that is very powerful but also very much needed. This course goes over things patrol officers do every day, that they need to know how to do and do it properly. Now some of the things that recruits will be taught is, how to search a building properly, how to search a suspect for drugs and weapons, how to handcuff a suspect, how to handle a domestic, how to handle a crime scene, how to write a police report and even how to testify in court. These are normal things all police officers must do on a daily basis but they have to be taught first.
Now once a recruit passes the written exam to get certified and graduates the police academy, then it is out there in the real world. The recruit will now be a rookie police officer and they will have to be trained by a field training officer, who will teach them how to apply what they learned in the academy, to the streets. Now after the rookie officer gets off the field training program, then they can go on their own. Now the good thing is that rookies can work their way through the rank structure. They can prove themselves and work their way up. The other opportunities for rookies is working a specialized unit. Now those specialized units are fun for rookie officers and it is a great teaching tool. If a person is thinking about becoming a police officer, now is the best time to do it.
There is a lot of great opportunities for police officers that most jobs do not offer opportunities like this to their new employees. Now police departments need quality people to represent their departments and be full of integrity and work ethic and if a person has high moral character, then you are what they are looking for to represent their department.