1. Careers
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Five Reasons to Be a Police Officer

Find Out More About the Rewards of a Law Enforcement Career


Policeman crouching

A police officer stops to help a little girl

Peter Dazeley/Iconica/Getty Images

For all the talk of the rewards of police work, are careers in law enforcement really that great? The short answer is, "yes!" There are a number of benefits, both tangible and intangible, to working in law enforcement.

For those of of you who are on the fence about deciding your career, here are five reasons to consider becoming a police officer:

  • The opportunity to save lives, every day

    As a law enforcement officer, you'll probably save someone's life every day you come to work. At times, this may involve pulling a victim out of  a burning car or providing first aid and basic life support to a shooting victim before paramedics arrive. Other times, it may be giving someone the Heimlich maneuver on your lunch break.

    Aside from these obvious examples, though, your mere presence and consistent enforcement of laws will save countless lives that you'll never know about. Every speeding ticket you write, every fight you break up and every incident of domestic violence you respond to may have been a fatality in the making before you prevented it.

  • Helping people make better choices.

    It's no secret that police officers most often encounter people when they're at their worst. Drug addicts, gang members, thiefs, spousal abusers and people who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs are just a few examples of the kinds of people you'll meet.

    Believe it or not, one of the most satisfying aspects of working as a law enforcement officer is the unique opportunity you have to show these people a better way. They are usually a captive audience and, if treated kindly and respectfully, will listen to what you have to say. Though you may never know it, what you say and how you treat the lowliest criminal may play a huge role in whether or not they make better choices in the future.

  • Diversity of job tasks

    In law enforcement, every day has the potential to be completely different from the last. Your entire work day can change in an instant, at any time. There's no better environment for those who abhor monotony than that of police work.

    Not only is each shift different from the last, but the opportunities to diversify job tasks are abundant, as well. Are you tired of patrol? Transfer into investigations. Bored of investigating traffic crashes? Work towards becoming a K-9 officer. Working in law enforcement allows motivated people to try their hand at a host of unique and interesting skills and job tasks.

  • New day, new challenge

    Almost everybody enjoys a challenge, and there are few career fields more challenging than law enforcement. Police work, performed well, invokes all sorts of challenges, both mental and physical.

    Yes, you'll chase people and have to outsmart the bad guys, but in the end, it's all about problem solving. Officers often work with individuals in conflict to come up with mutually agreeable solutions. With the advent of community-oriented policing, a great deal of police work now involves helping people solve problems to keep them out of the criminal justice system, rather than taking action to put them in it. In the field, law enforcement officers have to serve as doctor, lawyer, judge, counselor, babysitter, teacher, and the list goes on.

  • Serve the community

    For many, it is an immensely satisfying thing to know that their work serves a greater good.  There are plenty of personally rewarding aspects of police work, but the knowledge that what you do will hopefully help scores of people in the long run is perhaps the biggest "intangible" reward.

    People are social animals, and it's in our DNA to want to help each other. Working as a police officer fulfills this desire that so many of us have, while at the same time providing an opportunity to support yourself and your family.

More Reasons to Work in Law Enforcement

Of course, these are just a few reasons to consider working in law enforcement. There are far more benefits to the job, perhaps even too numerous to list. If you're looking for a great job with great rewards, you can do far worse than law enforcement.

  1. About.com
  2. Careers
  3. Criminology Careers
  4. Work Environment
  5. Five Reasons to Be a Police Officer

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.