Why Become A Police Officer
Every time a police officer prepares and gets dressed for work, there are certain items that they put on, that they never forget. They pullet on a bullet proof vest, which is designed to stop a bullet from going through and killing them. They put on a gun belt which has a firearm in a holster, and they put on a uniform. Then a police officer has to think, I may not come home today, and there are people out there that will hate me just because of the uniform wear. So why would anyone in their right mind want to be a police officer?
In truth a lot of people fall in love with the idea of becoming a police officer because they saw a movie or television show that made police work seem fun and cool. However once a person becomes and officer they quickly learn that it is not always fun and cool. Sometimes it can be cold and harsh.
The real reason most people become police officers is because they want to make a difference in their communities, cities and states. They want to do their part to protect and help as many people as possible, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Future Outlook And Growth For Police Departments in Rhode Island
So if you are thinking about becoming a police officer in Rhode Island you are probably wondering what growth will be like over the next couple of years and how well you will be paid. The surprising thing is that the police force is expected to decrease in size by about 3% as people retire and move on. However the great thing is that even though the workforce will go down, if a candidate can get in the process and get hired, they can appreciate the fact that the average annual salary is about $56,000 and that does not include all the overtime all officers receive from the nature of the job. Just by doing their job police officers will make arrests and because of arrest they will go to court, and sometimes court will be on their days off…
Now as one can imagine, because of the pay and the lack of openings, the applicants are going to be quite competitive, so there are certain minimum requirements all applicants must have and it is quite extensive. First of all you must be at least 18 years of age or older. All candidates must be a United States citizen. You must be a resident of Rhode Island. All candidates must have a valid drivers license, since most of your work hours are spent behind the wheel of a patrol vehicle. All candidates must have an associate degree, two years of active military duty, or four years of reserve military duty which is a little bit different then most other departments.
Now if a person meets all the requirements listed above, then there are certain examinations that recruits must take and pass. First they will be required to pass a physical fitness test, second they will have to take and pass a psychological exam. Now the psychological exam is crucial because the job of police officer has a lot of stress. Stress is a day to day feeling that all officers go through so police departments want to make sure that recruits will be able to handle that stress mentally. All recruits will also be required to take a drug screening test, because police departments can not afford to have drug addicts working for them. The last exam that the recruit will have to pass is a medical exam stating that they are healthy enough to work as a police officer.
Now if the recruit makes it through all of that the department will do a background investigation. The reason they will do the background is to check to make sure that the potential candidate does not have a criminal history that they need to be worried of. They will talk to past employers, friends, neighbors, family and references and get a full overview of the applicant. If the applicants makes it past that and gets a job offer then it is onto the police academy.
Now there are two police academies in the state of Rhode Island. Now once a recruit enters the academy, they will quickly learn it is serious business. The drill instructors are there to help take raw recruits and help get them ready for police work as police officers. They will be hard on all recruits like a military drill instructor, to make sure the recruit can handle what police work is like. They will break you down, but will raise the recruit back up as well.
The recruit would be smart to be physically ready when the academy starts. The instructors will push you very hard in physical training because the job itself is very physical. Remember some of your suspects will run and recruits will be the one chasing them, and suspects will fight and recruits will be fighting to survive. Physical training is a very important part of the job.
Now besides physical training a big part of the training will be on the criminal code and traffic code for Rhode Island. The codes are just like the bible for police work. The codes will teach you what the elements are that need to be met for the charges of the crimes that a recruit is looking at. This is going to be something all police officers use every day, so they may as well learn it while in the academy. Also recruits will be trained on federal codes as well.
Now another important area of training is called patrol functions. Patrol functions focus on things officers do every day. Common things that will be taught in patrol functions includes, handcuffing, searching a suspect, radio communications, how to do building searches, how to handle domestics, how to secure a crime scene, how to write a police report, how to write an accident report, and even courtroom testimony. Courtroom testimony is very important because a lot of time will be spent in some form of court, and once an officer has a reputation for report writing and courtroom testimony, it is hard to shake, good or bad.
Now one of the more fun things that recruits enjoy is firearms training. A firearm is a needed tool for the job, and police officers have it with them everyday. A lot of times recruits are not used to handling a firearm, so first thing the range instructor will teach them is firearm safety. They will also learn how to take the gun apart and put the gun back together. Recruits will also be taught how to do combat shooting, and how to reload while in hot situations. They will also teach recruits proper trigger pull and slinging their sights, as well as target practice. One of the most important things they will teach recruits is when to shoot and when not to shoot, and that is beyond valuable.
Now there is one more area of training that is very important. That training is defensive driving and this is just as important as firearms training. A police officer is going to have to drive at high rates of speed just about every day, and with that comes a huge responsibility to be safe with the other drivers and being good with their driving skills. So a recruit will practice high speed driving and they will also learn how to position their vehicle on a traffic stop for cover, and lastly they will have to drive an obstacle course.
Now once a recruit completes the academy and passes the certification exam, they will be a police officer instead of a recruit. Now once they go to the police department, there will be more training from a Field Training Officer who will teach the rookie officer how to apply what they learned in the academy to the streets. Now besides that once a rookie officer has been on the street for a while, they will get the opportunity to move up through different ranks. Now that is a cool added benefit for a rookie officer to aim for, and shoot for. Now one more thing for the rookie officer to consider is that there are many different options that a rookie can work in. They can go into specialized units and do something different then regular patrol duties. Now you may be wondering what types of units so lets go over some of them, criminal investigations, homicide, community policing, traffic duty, school resource officer, narcotics unit and there are others. The great thing is that police work brings many opportunities to officers that they would not normally get with other jobs. If a person is thinking of becoming a police officer, then now is the perfect time…