My previous blogs have gone over a wide variety of topics related to law enforcement. Here’s the list of topics for my previous blogs:
Blog 2: Challenges of a Law Enforcement Career
Blog 3: Employment with the FBI
Blog 4: Employment with the DHS
Blog 5: Employment with the CIA
Blog 6: Employment with the NSA
Blog 7: Employment with the DOD
Blog 8: Employment with the DIA
Blog 9: Security Clearance
In my final blog, I will talk about the pathways to success in obtaining law enforcement positions. This blog post is for anyone interested in pursuing a career path in the criminal justice field. Here are some tips candidates should consider:
- Education: applicants should work hard to receive at least a Bachelor’s degree to make themselves more competitive. Even though there are police agencies who hire applicants with Associate’s degree, many applicants who apply now are coming in with a Bachelor’s’ degree which will put them ahead of applicants with Associate’s or no degree at all. Police academies and law enforcement training institutions teach about departmental policies but the don’t teach everything. Most of the times officers will have to make educated split second decisions which they will be able to make reasonably based on their education and background.
- Be Confident: professionals in law enforcement have to be confident in themselves and their decision making skills. They have to own up to their mistakes as nobody is perfect. Another reason they should be confident in their decision making is so that they don’t put themselves in harm’s way and their partners in a harm risk. Also, applicants in this field should make sure that they are not cocky after they are out of the academy. There is a fine line between being confident and being cocky. Leaving the academy does not mean that one knows everything about being a law enforcement officer. The only way one learns is through experience in their jobs.
- Be Willing to Listen: law enforcement officers should be willing to listen to their seniors and their commanders to help in decision making and for further guidance. Senior officers and commanders have had more experience than rookie law enforcement officers and are able to make sound decisions which can help save a life.
- Be Trustworthy: as human beings, we all are bound to make mistakes and nobody is perfect. When officers do make mistakes in their careers, they should let their superiors know. They should be honest and not lie about anything. Lying and dishonesty will just ruin and end their career as departments can’t take a huge risk of keeping applicants who will be dishonest and insult the entire department.
- Have Self-Control: applicants entering the law enforcement field should not let their emotions get in the way of their performance during their jobs. They should understand that any job in the law enforcement field will be very challenging and tough. As I explained in my blog 2, there are many challenges of a law enforcement career and officials coming into this field should anticipate mistrust from the public. They should be ready to get insults from the public but not let any negative reactions affect their duty and emotions. As Kevin Davis, a 28 year old veteran, says “Policing is not a game. You have to be mentally and physically prepared each day for whatever may come down the road. Focus on what you can control (your attitude and behavior) rather than what you can’t control (society’s perceptions). The aura you create will radiate out from you.” (Davis). This quote perfectly describes that it is not easy being a law enforcement anywhere and applicants have to be mentally and physically prepare for the challenges they will face. They may not be able to control public opinions of them but they can control what they do and leave a positive impact.
All of these tips will help applicants in being successful in law enforcement careers. Their careers will be very challenging but will be extremely rewarding as well, because they will have opportunity to make differences in people’s life every day, arrest those causing disorder in the community, and save people from harm’s way.