The police force is an essential part of our society. Upholding the law, serving the public first, and protecting us from those who would threaten parts of our life. It’s easy to want to be a member of the force. The gleam of the badge and the sound of the siren can put the passion in people early. But how do you know you’re actually ready to serve and protect?
You know it’s about more than chasing the baddies
The idea that police are the opposition to criminals is a thoroughly simplified one. The truth is that they have to do a lot more than that. Besides any weapons, you might have to learn how to operate equipment like speed cameras and police lights and sirens. You will have to get used to dealing with a variety of situations, too, from solving disputes, providing advice, and even delivering the occasional difficult news to a family member.
You want to provide a service
If the idea of serving the public appeals to you, then a job in the public sector is always a good idea. For some, the world of business is too heavily driven by competition. Some people would rather be a force that doesn’t have to compete with others. It takes self-sacrifice and discipline. But if you have that, then you could be ready for the force.
You love the community
Again, police aren’t just opposition to criminals. They are vital pillars of the community and some of the most rewarding work you’re going to be doing is in community relations. This includes working with public voluntary teams like neighborhood watches. It might also mean providing outreach services like educational talks at school and crime prevention and safety tips to businesses and citizens alike. You have a lot more to contribute to a community than discipline.
You’re aware that people need help
People can make wrong turns in life. Criminal justice isn’t just about finding ‘enemies’. In fact, many police officers mention that some of their most rewarding experiences are the opportunities to help people in a bad place make better decisions for their lives. People coping with addictions, with communities dominated by gangs, people who are at risk of abusing those they love. If you can treat people kindly and with respect, you can reach a lot more than you think.
Stability is important to you
Besides a service to provide, police officers have a career to provide. It can be one of the most stable careers out there, too. Payment packages and benefits are amongst some of the most competitive, especially in the world of public service. As important and demanding as the job is, you can also be rewarded by early retirement, settling from the force after only 20-25 years of service.
Even when you have a concept of what the life of a police officer is like, you won’t know what it truly is until you live it. The final quality you need to seek that career is the ability to be ready for the unexpected.