How and Why to Become a Police Officer

As the federal government further encroaches on our privacy, many people are considering joining law enforcement agencies. Police work is strenuous and requires an immense amount of time and training to become fully trained.

The “How and Why to Become a Police Officer near Chicago, il” is a blog that discusses how and why people should become police officers. This blog also discusses the qualifications that are needed for becoming a police officer. Read more in detail here: How and Why to Become a Police Officer near chicago, il.

Vintage Chicago police officer looking out from his car's window.

Image courtesy of Chicago’s Finest.


We’re back with another installment of our So You Want My Job series, in which we speak with guys who work in coveted positions and ask them about the realities of their employment as well as tips on how men might achieve their goals.

Today’s guest is a police officer who works in a specialist team that handles everything from covert operations to patrols in high-crime areas. He requested anonymity because of the nature of his work.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself (e.g., where do you come from?). What is your age? What school did you attend? Describe your job, including how long you’ve been doing it, and so on.

I was born and raised in the Kansas City region. I’m 29 years old. I attended to a tiny institution in southeastern Kansas and went to school in the suburbs surrounding here. I’ve been with the department for little about 5 years. I’m a married man with no children. In my family, I’m the first police officer.

2. What inspired you to pursue a career as a police officer?

I believe it is critical to state that before people read my comments, they are aware of the following: 1. These are just my own ideas based on my personal experiences. 2. I work in a city with a high crime rate.

I used to work in an advertising firm as a receptionist. I was picking through the minutiae of corporate crap one day when I just decided that I was weary of having a “job,” and that I would work for the weekend instead. All of the things that were critical in my life at the time—TPS reports, water cooler gossip, and so on—weren’t important to me in the larger scale of things. Taking all of this into account, I looked at what I believed distinguished a “job” from a “life’s work” and used it to begin my search for a new profession. In a nutshell, I was looking for anything that dealt with genuine human emotions. I wanted something that would put my identity to the test.

Don’t get me wrong: I admire the person who wakes up every day and travels through the same traffic to the same cubicle to do the same thing. That was not the life for me.

3. What is the greatest way for a guy to prepare for a career as a police officer?

I’m not sure how to effectively prepare for this. I suppose you’d have to question yourself why you want to do it in the first place. If someone approached me and said, “Do you have any advice?” I’d probably tell them that the only prize they should anticipate is knowing they did their best. If that’s okay with you, go ahead and apply. It may not be for you if you like parades.

That being said, the things you’d normally expect are smart places to start. It wouldn’t hurt to have a criminal justice degree. Many bigger departments are searching for applicants with a college education. Many people work in a similar industry, such as loss prevention, to supplement their income. I say that, but I’ve never done any of it myself. I’d feel cheated if I said they were required.


4. How does it feel to get accepted into a police academy? Are you promised a job if you complete the academy?

Getting employed is basically a two-step process: apply, then wait to hear back. A background investigator will interview your friends, relatives, and coworkers to learn more about you. They’ll contact you if everything seems good. Then go in and complete a timed obstacle course (it’s a beast), then wait for a response. Wait a while, then go in and take a polygraph based on your background research. Then go in for an oral interview and wait some more. They’ll contact you after a time to let you know whether you’ve been employed. If that’s the case, you’ll be admitted to the academy. My “for a time” lasted over two years.

A typical day can include constitutional law research. Learning how to shackle a belligerent individual. Learning correct shooting techniques, such as moving and firing, as well as military shooting. After that, you could take lessons on death or cultural awareness at the conclusion of the day. They load a lot of information into the academy. I can’t begin to describe how psychologically and physically draining the process can be. However, it is done on purpose to immunize individuals against stress.

Are you sure you’ll get a job? I’d be hesitant to assume that you’re assured a job in these difficult economic times. It used to be that if you got through the interview process, you were employed. Recently, it hasn’t been the case. Our department just received a grant that enabled us to hire a couple extra staff.

If you make it through the academy, you’ll begin what’s known as break-in. You go on a break-in ride with a field training officer (FTO). After that, you and the training officer will handle all of your division’s “hot calls.” Shootings, rapes, and other serious crimes are considered a hot call. The goal is to see how you react in a real-life situation. If your FTO believes you aren’t an idiot and aren’t likely to injure yourself or others, you will be freed. You just go out there and start to work after a break-in.

5. What made you wish to join a police department’s specialist unit?

All of the aspects of police work that this squad handles piqued my curiosity. I can’t speak for all departments, but it seems that in larger departments in metropolitan locations, being competent at a variety of things is preferable than being outstanding at a few.

Our group is involved in a variety of exciting activities. A typical week can include uniformed patrolling of a neighborhood in reaction to a spate of shootings. Our VICE squad may be used as a prostitution ruse the following day. Then you may be undertaking surveillance on someone who has been recognized as a high-profile criminal in ordinary clothes. In essence, we are given an issue to solve and given the flexibility to do so within the department’s regulations.


It’s a lot of fun, and I get to work with others that share my interests.

6. What are the benefits of being a member of a specialist unit? Do you receive any further compensation? Are the tasks more intriguing to you?

You’d join a specialist unit since it’s something you’re interested in. For example, SWAT officers aspire to be SWAT officers. However, the training you obtain may provide you with advantages. An cop who has been trained in accident reconstruction, for example, might counsel with insurance firms and earn extra money in this manner.

It feels good to have made it to a specialist unit. The majority of them go through some form of evaluation procedure, which is generally both mental and physical. Extra salary isn’t usually considered a perk. It may also appear in various forms, such as overtime. Because of the nature of their jobs, some squads will work a lot more overtime. When a homicide occurs, a homicide detective is called in to investigate. That’s how it works if it’s towards the conclusion of their shift.

A note on pay: You don’t earn incentives for putting “x” amount of killers in prison or anything like that in this profession. It’s the same with speeding tickets. You’re compensated on a scale based on how long you’ve been with the company. With six years on the job, a slug of an officer earns the same pay as a go-getter with six years on the job. That is, at least, how it is for us.

7. What are the disadvantages of enlisting in a specialist unit?

Sure, there’s a chance. It’s difficult to organize a social life when your days and hours are always changing. It’s also simple to forget about particular abilities that are necessary for certain aspects of the work. If you go back to the field after buying dope as an undercover for five years, you’ll most likely be behind the curve on drafting certain reports or modifications in fundamental processes.

8. What is the police department’s overall structure like, as well as within a specialized unit? How do you advance in your career?

Officer, Sergeant, Captain, Major, Colonel or Deputy Chief, Officer, Sergeant, Captain, Major, Colonel or Deputy Chief, Officer, Sergeant, Captain, Major, Colonel or Deputy Chief, Officer, Sergeant, Captain, Major, Colonel or Deputy Chief, Officer, Sergeant, You advance by putting yourself to the test and satisfying specific requirements. A sergeant must have five years of experience in the field and a certain number of college credit hours. As you advance in your career, your level of education grows. A master’s degree is required for certain positions.

A squad of police for a specialist unit will normally need “x” number of officers. The squad will be supervised by a sergeant. Each line element is overseen by a captain. A Major is in charge of whole divisions. A Colonel is in charge of a certain discipline, such as patrol or investigations. It’s a difficult situation. In other words, the higher you climb, the less time you spend chasing down bad folks on foot. However, the higher you go, the more money you earn.

9. How do you strike a balance between job, family, and personal life?

Hard. It is the end of a relationship. You just do your best, and that is all anybody can expect of you. What’s more, that’s all you can expect from yourself. Many birthdays and holidays will be missed. Because they all work 9-5, the people around you don’t understand why. Your family will despise your work. It’s depressing.


It might be difficult to connect with ordinary folks. When someone complains about how difficult their job is, you may want to inquire whether they’ve ever held a dying infant or been spat on. It’s simple to acquire an f-you mentality.

Fortunately, I have a wonderful wife who understands. That is, however, unusual.

10. What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job?

If you want it to be, it can be a lot of fun. You may really contribute to the larger good if you do it correctly. At work, you will encounter situations that will put everything in perspective.

11. What is the most difficult aspect of your job?

The human being as an animal. You are able to perceive the worst in others. You will be asked to do tasks that others are unable, unwilling, or scared to perform. They will, however, be delighted to pass judgment on how you do it or to criticize your choice. It’s quite simple to acquire a broad dislike for individuals or groups of individuals.

Another difficulty is the continual feeling of being judged. Don’t get me wrong: there are certain police who make mistakes. However, there are many more who do not. People link you with their previous experiences and preconceptions once you put on that uniform.

12. What is the most common misunderstanding about your job?

People who aren’t officers believe they know what they’re doing. It’s normal to assign a value to someone depending on their job title. You become whatever that individual thinks a “police” to be since it’s human nature to judge. A baker bakes, while a bricklayer builds bricks in the typical person’s brain. As a result, it’s only natural for a policeman to perform cop things. All people know about cops comes from their personal encounters with cops and what they watch on television.

People will, for example, ask me questions about a speeding ticket they received, despite the fact that I have never issued a speeding ticket. I’m not sure how to operate a radar gun, and I’m not interested in learning. That’s not something I’d want to do.

13. Do you have any other advice, recommendations, or anecdotes to share?

Simply thank someone who undertakes a work that you would not do but from which you gain. It isn’t necessary for it to be a police officer. Please express gratitude to your mailman. Thank a teacher at your child’s school. There are many decent individuals who work under difficult situations. It’s great to know that it’s appreciated.

Also, a lot of individuals want to know how to get out of a ticket. There is no foolproof method. However, I can provide you with the following information that may be useful:

Pull off the road to the right when you see the flashing lights. Pull aside to the side of the road if there is one visible. This is to prevent us from being ran over.

Put your hands on the steering wheel and roll down the window. You’re well aware that you’re not a crazed gunman. We don’t, though. Turn on your dome light if it’s nighttime.


Be kind and truthful. You don’t have to admit guilt, but if you know you done anything wrong, acknowledge it. Explain yourself if there’s a valid cause for it. If you’ve been stopped for it, understand that the officer has opted to testify under oath that you did it. Being honest is admirable, and it goes a long way.

Thank you for allowing me to contribute a little!



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