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10 Things To Consider Before Becoming a Cop

New York City Police Academy cadets attend their graduation ceremony

Working as a police officer is an excellent career choice for some, but before you make the leap to a law enforcement career, there are a few things you really need to think about.

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Criminology Careers Spotlight10

History of Criminology Demonstrates Changing Views on Justice

Monday April 21, 2014
The question of how best to reduce crime and ensure that justice is served is one that has puzzled humanity since the very beginnings of society. Interestingly, over the millennia, two prominent systems have vied for accepptance, one ancient and one much more recent.

In the early history of criminology, crimes were viewed as affronts against individuals, families or communities. To fix the imbalance that crime caused, laws such as those found in the Code of Hammurabi called for criminals to make amends somehow. Granted those amends were often brutal, such as losing a hand for stealing, but this early notion of restorative justice emphasized the plight of the victim.

In the more modern history of criminology, the state took a more prominent role in dispensing justice, and introduced the idea that crime was an offense to society as a whole, not just the aggrieved individual. Through the introduction of the notion of retributive justice, the response to crime placed an emphasis on punishment rather than restoration.

Which system is better? That remains up for debate, and likely will for a long time to come.

New: Frequently Asked Questions About Careers in Criminology and Criminal Justice

Friday April 18, 2014
You've got lots of questions about careers in criminology and criminal justice, and we have lots of answers. Now, we've put the answers to the most-asked question all in one place.

If you want to find out what you need to know about jobs in criminal justice, criminology and forensic science, be sure to start with our new Frequently Asked Questions About Criminology and Criminal Justice Careers section.

We'll continue to work on getting you the most helpful tips and advice for the job hunt, so check back often to find the information you need to earn the success you want.

Hard Lessons Learned on the Job Hunt

Sunday April 13, 2014
A long, long time ago, when I was in high school, I decided I wanted a new job. Suit and Tie I'd heard that our local grocer chain was a good employer. They offered decent pay and even company stock if you worked for them long enough. In short, much like the careers I write about now, it was a great opportunity, and I wanted in.

I showed up one day to pick up a job application (there was no such thing as "online"). I was wearing torn jeans and a Metallica t-shirt with a menacing skull prominently featured on the front. Not the most professional attire by any stretch.

My plan was to grab an application, take it home, and bring it back, this time dressed sharply in slacks and a shirt and tie. What I didn't know was that this particular company required you to fill out your application on the spot and watch an orientation video before hand.

Though I had every intention of making a good first impression when I returned my application, I completely neglected to consider the impression I might make when I picked up the application. As you can probably already guess, I didn't get the job. I didn't even get an interview.

Years later, I still see people looking for jobs, dressed not unlike I was so long ago. Often, they're oblivious to the need to present a professional image in every step of the job search, including when you first inquire about applying.

Don't make the same mistakes I did. Learn how to remake your image, dress for success and make every interaction you have with employers count. Show them that you are the person they want working for them. Good luck!

Man's T-Shirt Makes Cops' Job Easier

Thursday April 10, 2014
One major function of police officers is traffic enforcement, and perhaps no enforcement is more vital than that of drugged and drunk driving. According to The Smoking Gun, Oregon resident Ross McMakin was all too willing to make officers' jobs just a little easier by advertising his crime on his T-shirt.

McMakin was recently arrested for drunk driving and other offenses after he drove his car onto the sidewalk and hit a parked car. And attacked his girlfriend, who had been in the car with him.

When the police arrived on scene, McMakin was proudly adorned in a T-shirt with the words "Drunk as Sh*T" prominently displayed across his chest. Just in case little eyes are peeking, we'll spare you McMakin's grinning mug shot, but suffice to say that there may not exist another jailhouse photo with more evidentiary value.

Traffic safety is of critical importance to law enforcement, most especially to state troopers and patrol officers. Far too many people are injured and killed each year from traffic crashes, and according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 10,322 people lost their lives due to drunk driving in 2012. All the more reason for police to take the problem of impaired driving seriously.

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