This growth spurt is due in a large part to the fall out from the 9/11 tragedy and a public that is demanding a safer environment.
Work in the law enforcement field can be extremely stressful as well as dangerous. Persons employed in the field of law enforcement may work overtime as well as odd hours.
This type of work can be very stressful on family relationships and persons employed in the field of law enforcement may be required to work during the evenings, at night, on weekends and on holidays. Certain positions within law enforcement may require frequent travel, especially if the position is related to a Federal agency.
Employment Prospects for Law Enforcement Jobs
There are numerous areas for employment prospects in the field of law enforcement. Over 75% of all persons employed in law enforcement work for local governments. The remaining positions are employed by State and Federal agencies such as:
- US Drug Enforcement Agency
- US Marshals
- US Immigration and Naturalization Service
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
- Customs Inspectors
- Secret Service
- Bureau of Diplomatic Security
- Postal Service
- National Park Service
- Bureau of Indian Affairs
- US Border Patrol
- Federal Air Marshals
Job Search for Law Enforcement Jobs
Because the field of law enforcement is so broad and diverse, employment in this field can be found in multiple ways. Some positions, like that of sheriff, are elected positions and the person interested must run for office.
Most positions, however are filled in traditional means by interviews and hiring. Some government agencies fill open positions by listing them on job boards.
Few such positions are actually found in the classified section of newspapers. As with all jobs, the best way to learn of open law enforcement positions is to practice active networking.
Resumes for Law Enforcement Jobs
The best type of resume to utilize when searching for work in a law enforcement field is a chronological resume because it highlights and focus on the job seeker’s work history and education, two areas that are critical to this field.
Cover Letters for Law Enforcement Jobs
A cover letter for a law enforcement position should reflect back to the resume in terms of the applicant’s experience and education and it should also focus on the applicant’s results. Results and actions are critically important in the field of law enforcement as are safety standards.
Training & Qualifications for Law Enforcement Jobs
Training and qualification requirements are different for each law enforcement position depending upon the agency with which it is listed. There are a few minimums that must be observed:
- All law enforcement personnel must be US citizens
- Must have attained the age of 21
- Must be able to meet physical exams and in some cases pass a written exam
The physical exam usually involves hearing, vision, strength and agility
While it is not specifically a requirement, a number of law enforcement agencies are turning to computer technology to keep up with records and run checks on suspected criminals so it is considered a plus for a candidate to be computer literate.
Some positions may require that the successful candidate have completed a minimum amount of college education, such as an Associate’s degree before entering that particular field.
All programs require at least a high school diploma. Other positions will allow the successful candidate to attend a training program and upon successful completion of that program they will be hired. Many police officer positions work this way.
In general such a program would last around 3 months and would cover:
- Firearm safety
- Traffic patrol & control
- First aid
- Emergency response
- Investigation strategies
Prospects For Advancement
There is significant room for advancement within all branches and fields of law enforcement. This usually comes with an increase in pay, benefits, time off, responsibility, respect and in some cases a title such as sergeant, lieutenant, etc.
Governmental agencies have very stringent requirements for their new hires. The FBI requires at least a four degree in very specific majors or they will also accept a candidate who has graduated from law school. The FBI has requirements for a maximum age for candidates. All successful candidates must be able to complete a 4 month training course.
The Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have similar requirements except that they require even more post training. This includes 2 ½ months training at the Special Law Enforcement Training Center as well as another 4 months of training at a later time in various field offices.
Candidates for Border Patrol agents cannot be over the age of 37 years and must pass a 3-part exam. Language skills are extremely important.
Many candidates for several governmental law enforcement positions are required to undergo background checks. The Postal Service is one of these. Postal inspectors must pass the background check, have a degree as well as some type of professional certification and also must have actually worked in the postal service for at least one year.
Careers In Law Enforcement
All law enforcement positions are subject to continuing training.