|There are approximately 870,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States. | | | |About 11. 3 percent of them are female. | | | |Crime fighting has taken its toll. Since the first recorded police death in 1792, there have been more that 16,500 law enforcement| |officers killed in the line of duty. | | | |A total of 1,658 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the last 10 years, an average of one death every 53 | |hours or 166 per year.
| | | |There were 230 police deaths in 2001 nationwide, which represents a 49 percent increase from the 154 officers who died in 2000. | | | |In 2002 there were 147 police deaths nationwide – a significant decrease from 2001. | | | |There were 145 law enforcement officers killed in 2003. | | | |The deadliest day in law enforcement history was September 11, 2001, when 70 law enforcement officers were killed in the terrorist| |attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City.
| | | |Averages: | | | |Every 53 hours an officer is killed... | | | |166 deaths per year... | | | |58,066 assaults per year resulting in 16,494 injuries per year. | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |A Career in Law Enforcement | |People depend on police officers and detectives to protect their lives and property. Law enforcement officers, some of whom are | |State or Federal special agents or inspectors, perform these duties in a variety of ways, depending on the size and type of their | |organization.
In most jurisdictions, they are expected to exercise authority when necessary, whether on or off duty. | |Uniformed police officers who work in municipal police departments of various sizes, small communities, and rural areas have | |general law enforcement duties including maintaining regular patrols and responding to calls for service. They may direct traffic | |at the scene of a fire, investigate a burglary, or give first aid to an accident victim. In large police departments, officers | |usually are assigned to a specific type of duty.
Many urban police agencies are becoming more involved in community policing—a | |practice in which an officer builds relationships with the citizens of local neighborhoods and mobilizes the public to help fight | |crime. | |Police agencies are usually organized into geographic districts, with uniformed officers assigned to patrol a specific area, such | |as part of the business district or outlying residential neighborhoods. Officers may work alone, but in large agencies they often | |patrol with a partner. While on patrol, officers attempt to become thoroughly familiar with their patrol area and remain alert for| |anything unusual.
Suspicious circumstances and hazards to public safety are investigated or noted, and officers are dispatched to | |individual calls for assistance within their district. During their shift, they may identify, pursue, and arrest suspected | |criminals, resolve problems within the community, and enforce traffic laws. | |Public college and university police forces, public school district police, and agencies serving transportation systems and | |facilities are examples of special police agencies. These agencies have special geographic jurisdictions or enforcement | |responsibilities in the United States.
Most sworn personnel in special agencies are uniformed officers, a smaller number are | |investigators. | |Some police officers specialize in such diverse fields as chemical and microscopic analysis, training and firearms instruction, or| |handwriting and fingerprint identification. Others work with special units such as horseback, bicycle, motorcycle or harbor | |patrol, canine corps, or special weapons and tactics (SWAT) or emergency response teams. A few local and special law enforcement | |officers primarily perform jail-related duties or work in courts.
Regardless of job duties or location, police officers and | |detectives at all levels must write reports and maintain meticulous records that will be needed if they testify in court. | |Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs enforce the law on the county level. Sheriffs are usually elected to their posts and perform duties | |similar to those of a local or county police chief. Sheriffs’ departments tend to be relatively small, most having fewer than 25 | |sworn officers. A deputy sheriff in a large agency will have law enforcement duties similar to those of officers in urban police | |departments.
Police and sheriffs’ deputies who provide security in city and county courts are sometimes called bailiffs. (For | |information on other officers who work in jails and prisons, see correctional officers elsewhere in the Handbook. ) | |State police officers (sometimes called State troopers or highway patrol officers) arrest criminals Statewide and patrol highways | |to enforce motor vehicle laws and regulations. Uniformed officers are best known for issuing traffic citations to motorists who | |violate the law. At the scene of accidents, they may direct traffic, give first aid, and call for emergency equipment.
They also | |write reports used to determine the cause of the accident. State police officers are frequently called upon to render assistance | |to other law enforcement agencies, especially those in rural areas or small towns. | |State law enforcement agencies operate in every State except Hawaii. Most full-time sworn personnel are uniformed officers who | |regularly patrol and respond to calls for service. Others are investigators, perform court-related duties, or work in | |administrative or other assignments.
| |Detectives are plainclothes investigators who gather facts and collect evidence for criminal cases. Some are assigned to | |interagency task forces to combat specific types of crime. They conduct interviews, examine records, observe the activities of | |suspects, and participate in raids or arrests. Detectives and State and Federal agents and inspectors usually specialize in one of| |a wide variety of violations such as homicide or fraud. They are assigned cases on a rotating basis and work on them until an | |arrest and conviction occurs or the case is dropped.
| |The Federal Government maintains a high profile in many areas of law enforcement. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents are| |the Government’s principal investigators, responsible for investigating violations of more than 260 statutes and conducting | |sensitive national security investigations. Agents may conduct surveillance, monitor court-authorized wiretaps, examine business | |records, investigate white-collar crime, track the interstate movement of stolen property, collect evidence of espionage | |activities, or participate in sensitive undercover assignments.
The FBI investigates organized crime, public corruption, financial| |crime, fraud against the government, bribery, copyright infringement, civil rights violations, bank robbery, extortion, | |kidnapping, air piracy, terrorism, espionage, interstate criminal activity, drug trafficking, and other violations of Federal | |statutes. | |U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents enforce laws and regulations relating to illegal drugs. Not only is the DEA the | |lead agency for domestic enforcement of Federal drug laws, it also has sole responsibility for coordinating and pursuing U. S. drug| |investigations abroad.
Agents may conduct complex criminal investigations, carry out surveillance of criminals, and infiltrate | |illicit drug organizations using undercover techniques. | |U. S. marshals and deputy marshals protect the Federal courts and ensure the effective operation of the judicial system. They | |provide protection for the Federal judiciary, transport Federal prisoners, protect Federal witnesses, and manage assets seized | |from criminal enterprises. They enjoy the widest jurisdiction of any Federal law enforcement agency and are involved to some | |degree in nearly all Federal law enforcement efforts.
In addition, U. S. marshals pursue and arrest Federal fugitives. | |U. S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) agents and inspectors facilitate the entry of legal visitors and immigrants to | |the U. S. and detain and deport those arriving illegally. They consist of border patrol agents, immigration inspectors, criminal | |investigators and immigration agents, and detention and deportation officers. U. S. Border Patrol agents protect more than 8,000 | |miles of international land and water boundaries.
Their missions are to detect and prevent the smuggling and unlawful entry of | |undocumented foreign nationals into the U. S. , apprehend those persons found in violation of the immigration laws, and interdict | |contraband, such as narcotics. Immigration inspectors interview and examine people seeking entrance to the U. S. and its | |territories. They inspect passports to determine whether people are legally eligible to enter the United States. Immigration | |inspectors also prepare reports, maintain records, and process applications and petitions for immigration or temporary residence | |in the United States.
| |Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents regulate and investigate violations of Federal firearms and explosives| |laws, as well as Federal alcohol and tobacco tax regulations. Customs agents investigate violations of narcotics smuggling, money | |laundering, child pornography, customs fraud, and enforcement of the Arms Export Control Act. Domestic and foreign investigations | |involve the development and use of informants, physical and electronic surveillance, and examination of records from | |importers/exporters, banks, couriers, and manufacturers.
They conduct interviews, serve on joint task forces with other agencies, | |and get and execute search warrants. | |Customs inspectors inspect cargo, baggage, and articles worn or carried by people and carriers including vessels, vehicles, trains| |and aircraft entering or leaving the U. S. to enforce laws governing imports and exports. These inspectors examine, count, weigh, | |gauge, measure, and sample commercial and noncommercial cargoes entering and leaving the United States. Customs inspectors seize | |prohibited or smuggled articles, intercept contraband, and apprehend, search, detain, and arrest violators of U. S. laws.
| |U. S. Secret Service special agents protect the President, Vice President, and their immediate families; Presidential candidates; | |former Presidents; and foreign dignitaries visiting the United States. Secret Service agents also investigate counterfeiting, | |forgery of Government checks or bonds, and fraudulent use of credit cards. | |The U. S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security special agents are engaged in the battle against terrorism. Overseas, | |they advise ambassadors on all security matters and manage a complex range of security programs designed to protect personnel, | |facilities, and information.
In the U. S. , they investigate passport and visa fraud, conduct personnel security investigations, | |issue security clearances, and protect the Secretary of State and a number of foreign dignitaries. They also train foreign | |civilian police and administer a counter-terrorism reward program. | |Other Federal agencies employ police and special agents with sworn arrest powers and the authority to carry firearms. These | |agencies include the Postal Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Law Enforcement, the Forest Service, the National Park| |Service, and the Federal Air Marshals.
| |Police work can be very dangerous and stressful. In addition to the obvious dangers of confrontations with criminals, officers | |need to be constantly alert and ready to deal appropriately with a number of other threatening situations. Many law enforcement | |officers witness death and suffering resulting from accidents and criminal behavior. A career in law enforcement may take a toll | |on officers’ private lives. | |Uniformed officers, detectives, agents, and inspectors are usually scheduled to work 40-hour weeks, but paid overtime is common.
| |Shift work is necessary because protection must be provided around the clock. Junior officers frequently work weekends, holidays, | |and nights. Police officers and detectives are required to work at any time their services are needed and may work long hours | |during investigations. In most jurisdictions, whether on or off duty, officers are expected to be armed and to exercise their | |arrest authority whenever necessary. | |The jobs of some Federal agents such as U. S. Secret Service and DEA special agents require extensive travel, often on very short | |notice.
They may relocate a number of times over the course of their careers. Some special agents in agencies such as the U. S. | |Border Patrol work outdoors in rugged terrain for long periods and in all kinds of weather. | |Police and detectives held about 840,000 jobs in 2002. About 81 percent were employed by local governments. State police agencies | |employed about 11 percent and various Federal agencies employed about 6 percent. A small proportion worked for educational | |services, rail transportation, and contract investigation and security services. | |According to the U. S.
Bureau of Justice Statistics, police and detectives employed by local governments primarily worked in cities| |with more than 25,000 inhabitants. Some cities have very large police forces, while thousands of small communities employ fewer | |than 25 officers each. | |Civil service regulations govern the appointment of police and detectives in practically all States, large municipalities, and | |special police agencies, as well as in many smaller ones. Candidates must be U. S. citizens, usually at least 20 years of age, and | |must meet rigorous physical and personal qualifications.
In the Federal Government, candidates must be at least 21 years of age | |but less than 37 years of age at the time of appointment. Physical examinations for entrance into law enforcement often include | |tests of vision, hearing, strength, and agility. Eligibility for appointment usually depends on performance in competitive written| |examinations and previous education and experience. In larger departments, where the majority of law enforcement jobs are found, | |applicants usually must have at least a high school education. Federal and State agencies typically require a college degree.
| |Candidates should enjoy working with people and meeting the public. | |Because personal characteristics such as honesty, sound judgment, integrity, and a sense of responsibility are especially | |important in law enforcement, candidates are interviewed by senior officers, and their character traits and backgrounds are | |investigated. In some agencies, candidates are interviewed by a psychiatrist or a psychologist, or given a personality test. Most | |applicants are subjected to lie detector examinations or drug testing. Some agencies subject sworn personnel to random drug | |testing as a condition of continuing employment.
| |Before their first assignments, officers usually go through a period of training. In State and large local departments, recruits | |get training in their agency’s police academy, often for 12 to 14 weeks. In small agencies, recruits often attend a regional or | |State academy. Training includes classroom instruction in constitutional law and civil rights, State laws and local ordinances, | |and accident investigation. Recruits also receive training and supervised experience in patrol, traffic control, use of firearms, | |self-defense, first aid, and emergency response.
Police departments in some large cities hire high school graduates who are still | |in their teens as police cadets or trainees. They do clerical work and attend classes, usually for 1 to 2 years, at which point | |they reach the minimum age requirement and may be appointed to the regular force. | |Police officers usually become eligible for promotion after a probationary period ranging from 6 months to 3 years. In a large | |department, promotion may enable an officer to become a detective or specialize in one type of police work, such as working with | |juveniles.
Promotions to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain usually are made according to a candidate’s position on a | |promotion list, as determined by scores on a written examination and on-the-job performance. | |To be considered for appointment as an FBI agent, an applicant either must be a graduate of an accredited law school or a college | |graduate with a major in accounting, fluency in a foreign language, or 3 years of related full-time work experience. All new | |agents undergo 16 weeks of training at the FBI academy on the U. S.
Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. | |Applicants for special agent jobs with the U. S. Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives must | |have a bachelor’s degree or a minimum of 3 years’ related work experience. Prospective special agents undergo 10 weeks of initial | |criminal investigation training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, and another 17 weeks of | |specialized training with their particular agencies. | |Applicants for special agent jobs with the U. S.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) must have a college degree and either 1 year| |of experience conducting criminal investigations, 1 year of graduate school, or have achieved at least a 2. 95 grade point average | |while in college. DEA special agents undergo 14 weeks of specialized training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. | |U. S. Border Patrol agents must be U. S. citizens, younger than 37 years of age at the time of appointment, possess a valid driver’s| |license, and pass a three-part examination on reasoning and language skills.
A bachelor’s degree or previous work experience that | |demonstrates the ability to handle stressful situations, make decisions, and take charge is required for a position as a Border | |Patrol agent. Applicants may qualify through a combination of education and work experience. | |Postal inspectors must have a bachelor’s degree and 1 year of related work experience. It is desirable that they have one of | |several professional certifications, such as that of certified public accountant.
They also must pass a background suitability | |investigation, meet certain health requirements, undergo a drug screening test, possess a valid State driver’s license, and be a | |U. S. citizen between 21 and 36 years of age when hired. | |Law enforcement agencies are encouraging applicants to take postsecondary school training in law enforcement-related subjects. | |Many entry-level applicants for police jobs have completed some formal postsecondary education and a significant number are | |college graduates.
Many junior colleges, colleges, and universities offer programs in law enforcement or administration of | |justice. Other courses helpful in preparing for a career in law enforcement include accounting, finance, electrical engineering, | |computer science, and foreign languages. Physical education and sports are helpful in developing the competitiveness, stamina, and| |agility needed for many law enforcement positions. Knowledge of a foreign language is an asset in many Federal agencies and urban | |departments. | |Continuing training helps police officers, detectives, and special agents improve their job performance.
Through police department| |academies, regional centers for public safety employees established by the States, and Federal agency training centers, | |instructors provide annual training in self-defense tactics, firearms, use-of-force policies, sensitivity and communications | |skills, crowd-control techniques, relevant legal developments, and advances in law enforcement equipment. Many agencies pay all or| |part of the tuition for officers to work toward degrees in criminal justice, police science, administration of justice, or public | |administration, and pay higher salaries to those who earn such a degree.
| |The opportunity for public service through law enforcement work is attractive to many because the job is challenging and involves | |much personal responsibility. Furthermore, law enforcement officers in many agencies may retire with a pension after 20 or 25 | |years of service, allowing them to pursue a second career while still in their 40s. Because of relatively attractive salaries and | |benefits, the number of qualified candidates exceeds the number of job openings in Federal law enforcement agencies and in most | |State police departments—resulting in increased hiring standards and selectivity by employers.
Competition should remain keen for | |higher paying jobs with State and Federal agencies and police departments in more affluent areas. Opportunities will be better in | |local and special police departments, especially in departments that offer relatively low salaries, or in urban communities where | |the crime rate is relatively high. Applicants with college training in police science, military police experience, or both should | |have the best opportunities. | |Employment of police and detectives is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012.
A more | |security-conscious society and concern about drug-related crimes should contribute to the increasing demand for police services. | |The level of government spending determines the level of employment for police and detectives. The number of job opportunities, | |therefore, can vary from year to year and from place to place. Layoffs, on the other hand, are rare because retirements enable | |most staffing cuts to be handled through attrition. Trained law enforcement officers who lose their jobs because of budget cuts | |usually have little difficulty finding jobs with other agencies.
The need to replace workers who retire, transfer to other | |occupations, or stop working for other reasons will be the source of many job openings. | |Police and sheriff’s patrol officers had median annual earnings of $42,270 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $32,300 | |and $53,500. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,270, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $65,330. Median annual | |earnings were $47,090 in State government, $42,020 in local government, and $41,600 in Federal Government. | |In 2002, median annual earnings of police and detective supervisors were $61,010.
The middle 50 percent earned between $47,210 and| |$74,610. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,340, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $90,070. Median annual | |earnings were $78,230 in Federal Government, $64,410 in State government, and $59,830 in local government. | |In 2002, median annual earnings of detectives and criminal investigators were $51,410. The middle 50 percent earned between | |$39,010 and $65,980. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,010, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $80,380.
Median | |annual earnings were $66,500 in Federal Government, $47,700 in local government, and $46,600 in State government. | |Federal law provides special salary rates to Federal employees who serve in law enforcement. Additionally, Federal special agents | |and inspectors receive law enforcement availability pay (LEAP)—equal to 25 percent of the agent’s grade and step—awarded because | |of the large amount of overtime that these agents are expected to work. For example, in 2003 FBI agents enter Federal service as | |GS-10 employees on the pay scale at a base salary of $39,115, yet earned about $48,890 a year with availability pay.
They can | |advance to the GS-13 grade level in field nonsupervisory assignments at a base salary of $61,251, which is worth $76,560 with | |availability pay. FBI supervisory, management, and executive positions in grades GS-14 and GS-15 pay a base salary of about | |$72,381 or $85,140 a year, respectively, and equaled $90,480 or $106,430 per year including availability pay. Salaries were | |slightly higher in selected areas where the prevailing local pay level was higher.
Because Federal agents may be eligible for a | |special law enforcement benefits package, applicants should ask their recruiter for more information. | |According to the International City-County Management Association’s annual Police and Fire Personnel, Salaries, and Expenditures | |Survey, average salaries for sworn full-time positions in 2002 were as follows: | | | |Minimum | |annual base | |salary | |Maximum | |annual base | |salary | | | | | |Police chief | |$68,337 | |$87,037 | | | | | |Deputy chief | |59,790 | |75,266 | | | | | |Police captain | |56,499 | |70,177 | | | |
| |Police lieutenant | |52,446 | |63,059 | | | | | |Police sergeant | |46,805 | |55,661 | | | | | |Police corporal | |39,899 | |49,299 | | | | | |Total earnings for local, State, and special police and detectives frequently exceed the stated salary because of payments for | |overtime, which can be significant. In addition to the common benefits—paid vacation, sick leave, and medical and life | |insurance—most police and sheriffs’ departments provide officers with special allowances for uniforms. Because police officers | |usually are covered by liberal pension plans, many retire at half-pay after 20 or 25 years of service.
| |Police and detectives maintain law and order, collect evidence and information, and conduct investigations and surveillance. | |Significant Points of Security and Gaming Surveillance | | | | | | | |Opportunities for most jobs should be favorable, but competition is expected for higher paying positions at facilities requiring | |longer periods of training and a high level of security, such as nuclear power plants and weapons installations. | |Because of limited formal training requirements and flexible hours, this occupation attracts many individuals seeking a second or | |part-time job.
| |Some positions, such as those of armored car guards, are hazardous. | |Guards, who are also called security officers, patrol and inspect property to protect against fire, theft, vandalism, terrorism, | |and illegal activity. These workers protect their employer’s investment, enforce laws on the property, and deter criminal activity| |or other problems. They use radio and telephone communications to call for assistance from police, fire, or emergency medical | |services as the situation dictates.
Security guards write comprehensive reports outlining their observations and activities during| |their assigned shift. They may also interview witnesses or victims, prepare case reports, and testify in court. | |Although all security guards perform many of the same duties, specific duties vary based on whether the guard works in a “static” | |security position or on a mobile patrol. Guards assigned to static security positions usually serve the client at one location for| |a specific length of time.
These guards must become closely acquainted with the property and people associated with it and often | |monitor alarms and closed-circuit TV cameras. In contrast, guards assigned to mobile patrol duty drive or walk from location to | |location and conduct security checks within an assigned geographical zone. They may detain or arrest criminal violators, answer | |service calls concerning criminal activity or problems, and issue traffic violation warnings. | |Specific job responsibilities also vary with the size, type, and location of the employer.
In department stores, guards protect | |people, records, merchandise, money, and equipment. They often work with undercover store detectives to prevent theft by customers| |or store employees and help in the apprehension of shoplifting suspects prior to arrival by police. Some shopping centers and | |theaters have officers mounted on horses or bicycles who patrol their parking lots to deter car theft and robberies. In office | |buildings, banks, and hospitals, guards maintain order and protect the institutions’ property, staff, and customers.
At air, sea, | |and rail terminals and other transportation facilities, guards protect people, freight, property, and equipment. They may screen | |passengers and visitors for weapons and explosives using metal detectors and high-tech equipment, ensure nothing is stolen while | |being loaded or unloaded, and watch for fires and criminals. | |Guards who work in public buildings such as museums or art galleries protect paintings and exhibits by inspecting people and | |packages entering and leaving the building.
In factories, laboratories, government buildings, data processing centers, and | |military bases, security officers protect information, products, computer codes, and defense secrets and check the credentials of | |people and vehicles entering and leaving the premises. Guards working at universities, parks, and sports stadiums perform crowd | |control, supervise parking and seating, and direct traffic. Security guards stationed at the entrance to bars and places of adult | |entertainment, such as nightclubs, prevent access by minors, collect cover charges at the door, maintain order among customers, | |and protect property and patrons.
| |Armored car guards protect money and valuables during transit. In addition, they protect individuals responsible for making | |commercial bank deposits from theft or bodily injury. When the armored car arrives at the door of a business, an armed guard | |enters, signs for the money, and returns to the truck with the valuables in hand. Carrying money between the truck and the | |business can be extremely hazardous for guards. Because of this risk, armored car guards usually wear bullet-proof vests.
| |All security officers must show good judgment and common sense, follow directions and directives from supervisors, accurately | |testify in court, and follow company policy and guidelines. Guards should have a professional appearance and attitude and be able | |to interact with the public. They also must be able to take charge and direct others in emergencies or other dangerous incidents. | |In a large organization, the security manager is often in charge of a trained guard force divided into shifts; whereas in a small | |organization, a single worker may be responsible for all security.
| |Gaming surveillance officers and gaming investigators act as security agents for casino managers and patrons. They observe casino | |operations for irregular activities, such as cheating or theft, by either employees or patrons. To do this, surveillance officers | |and investigators often monitor activities from a catwalk over one-way mirrors located above the casino floor. Many casinos use | |audio and video equipment, allowing surveillance officers and investigators to observe these same areas via monitors. Recordings | |are kept as a record and are sometimes used as evidence against alleged criminals in police investigations.
| |Most security guards and gaming surveillance officers spend considerable time on their feet, either assigned to a specific post or| |patrolling buildings and grounds. Guards may be stationed at a guard desk inside a building to monitor electronic security and | |surveillance devices or to check the credentials of persons entering or leaving the premises. They also may be stationed at a | |guardhouse outside the entrance to a gated facility or community and use a portable radio or cellular telephone that allows them | |to be in constant contact with a central station.
The work usually is routine, but guards must be constantly alert for threats to | |themselves and the property they are protecting. Guards who work during the day may have a great deal of contact with other | |employees and members of the public. Gaming surveillance often takes place behind a bank of monitors controlling several cameras | |in a casino, which can cause eyestrain. | |Guards usually work at least 8-hour shifts for 40 hours per week and often are on call in case an emergency arises. Some employers| |have three shifts, and guards rotate to equally divide daytime, weekend, and holiday work.
Guards usually eat on the job instead | |of taking a regular break away from the site. More than 1 in 7 guards worked part time, and many individuals held a second job as | |a guard to supplement their primary earnings. | |Security guards and gaming surveillance officers held more than 1. 0 million jobs in 2002. More than half of jobs for security | |guards were in investigation and security services, including guard and armored car services. These organizations provide security| |services on a contract basis, assigning their guards to buildings and other sites as needed. Most other.