Researching Jobs in Law Enforcement
A career in law enforcement requires dedication and hard work, so before you decide to pursue a policing job, it’s important to do your research and make sure this is the right job for you.
Determine Your Eligibility for a Law Enforcement Career
Be realistic when it comes to your dream of a job in law enforcement. Look at the basic requirements for the job(s) you are interested in and see if you are eligible. Are you the appropriate age? Do you have a valid driver’s license, if this is required? Do you have a criminal record that may prevent your being hired? There are some requirements – like obtaining a driver’s license – which are flexible; you can always take a driver’s test and obtain your license if needed. Others, like age restrictions or a criminal past, may make it impossible for you to obtain your dream job.
Also keep in mind that you may possess special skills that may enhance your job prospects in certain areas. Spanish skills are valued by the CBP for example, while other agencies such as the FBI, CIA and U.S. Postal Service also value certain language skills.
Narrow Down Your Options to Find the Right Job for You
As this section proves, there are tons of career options and opportunities in the law enforcement field. Figuring out the right job for you can be an overwhelming task, so it’s best to start by narrowing down your choices.
One big thing to consider is whether you are interested in a job at the municipal/county, state or federal level. Keep in mind that federal jobs may require you to relocate and/or be willing to travel on a regular basis. Be sure to learn about the differences between local and federal and law enforcement jobs in this section..
Do Your Research
Once you’ve pinpointed a career that you think you would like to pursue, do your research.
Contact the department’s recruiting office for information, set up interviews to talk to recruiters, and if you can, talk to people who are already in the field to get a first person perspective.
You should be able to find recruitment and career information, as well as recruiters’ contact info, on an organization’s website. The list of additional resources, which includes the websites of various law enforcement agencies, at the end of this book should help you get started. Local and state police departments or sheriff’s offices are also likely to have websites with similar information.