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What are the Different Police Officer Jobs?

By Erika Peterson
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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There are four basic categories that all of the different police officer jobs fall under. These categories are administrative, investigations, patrol and traffic. There may be other different jobs depending on country, region and location. A police officer is an employee of a country, state, province, city or county that is responsible for protecting the community. Police officers are public servants that enforce the law and keep a community safe.

One of the most common police officer jobs is in the patrol division. The majority of a police department’s employees are patrol officers. Patrol officers are responsible for answering calls of service. Calls of service include any crimes or citizen complaints that are in progress. These calls may include dangerous crimes or simple complaints or concerns. Patrol officers also drive around a set area or region to make sure that everything is safe and secure. Some police departments offer business and home checks for their citizens, and a patrol officer will drive by at set hours to check on a building.

Out of all of the different law enforcement jobs, an investigation officer is one of the most important. Investigation officers are responsible for looking into the causes and suspects of the crimes. These are the officers that often find suspects and gather the information to prosecute the offenders. Investigations police officers include people of every rank, but they are most commonly called detectives.

Besides patrol officers and investigations officers, different police officer jobs include traffic officers. Traffic police officers are the people that monitor the streets, highways and roads for safe driving. Traffic officers issue tickets to citizens that break the traffic rules. In some smaller law enforcement agencies traffic officers are also patrol officers.

Regardless of the different police officer jobs that are available, they all have the same function, to serve and protect. Even administrative police officers serve and protect the community. They usually work in an office at a desk. These officers answer phones, write reports, work with the community and sometimes even supervise other officers. Administrative police officers can work in every division of a law enforcement agency. They are often the people that keep the business part of a law enforcement system functioning properly.

From investigations to patrol, all of the different police officer jobs are important. Police officers put criminals in jail, and they prevent crimes from happening. Without police officers, there would be no one to enforce the laws and protect the citizens.

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Discussion Comments

By ChickenLover — On Oct 05, 2010

@plaid - I think it makes Officers feel like there is job security if they comply by furthering their education. I'm not sure if there is any specific courses they are supposed to take, but I do know that there is always minimum set of hours they are supposed to take per year or semester or whatever.

By plaid — On Oct 05, 2010

@baileybear - You are absolutely right about the education portion. In fact, many law enforcement jobs require you to continue furthering your education even after you've graduated with Adult education courses. I'm not sure if they pay for them, but it makes a lot of sense to focus on the Criminal Justice portion of things.

By baileybear — On Oct 05, 2010

@wecallherana - The qualifications to become a Police Officer vary a great deal from department to department and job to job. This could quite possibly be because some positions, like investigator jobs require more of a thought process rather than brute force, quick on your feet thinking, or agility. Most detective positions require a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice - which makes a lot of sense.

By wecallherana — On Oct 05, 2010

Most officers will go through their first year or first six months with an FTO, or Field Training Officer. I am not sure if all officers do this as I wouldn't see a lot of point to a "paper pusher" type, but I know patrolmen and officers like Sheriffs will normally do this.

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