Police are often depicted in film, television, and even the media as dramatic individuals who are on the front line of crime and danger every day. Real police insist that they never actually say things like "Freeze!" or "Reach for the sky!" to criminals they're pursuing. They also claim that there's much more to their responsibilities than just what we observe on television dramas. While part of what we picture is high speed chases, intense shootouts, and rigorous interrogations, we also recall the roles that officers played in our own neighborhoods often as a friendly, familiar face who represented safety and authority.
When you earn your Associate's Degree in law enforcement police, you learn the skills that are essential to serving and protecting the community you live in. Police officers are regularly recognized for their bravery and heroism. A degree that trains you will perfectly accompany the courage and desire to do good, transforming you into another all-important member of a community who helps residents sleep soundly at night.
The system of criminal justice is divided into three main areas: law enforcement, the judicial system, and the penal system. As a part of law enforcement police, you are at the front end of the criminal justice system, working on the streets to prevent crime and to catch criminals when crimes do occur. Especially within the last decade, when terrorism and technological crimes have increased their potential threats in our consciousness, law enforcement tactics have accordingly adjusted and required highly trained personnel to respond to this challenge. Find school requirements below.
The mains career areas that individuals with an Associate's Degree in law enforcement typically pursue include a police or patrol officer, bodyguard, corrections officer, security guard, police sergeant or chief, or even a fire inspector. Many of these roles contain even more specialized agents who possess experience and knowledge in particular fields of crimes or corrections. Due to the high demand for trained and competent individuals, it is commonly required that individuals pursuing a career in any of these fields have training and an Associate's Degree that qualifies them to take on these very important positions. Many graduates have also gone to work in crime scene investigation career once they get into law enforcement.
The skills that an Associate's Degree in law enforcement focuses on include knowledge of laws and ethics, problem solving, critical thinking in tactical scenarios, marksmanship and weapons training, and training in advanced situations and with equipment applicable to a variety of law enforcement settings. Coursework also develops individuals' skills by putting them into actual true-to-life training situations that put them under the same critical pressure an actual scenario would. This teaches students how to think, respond, and stay calm to make important decisions when quick action is necessary.
Employment opportunities exist at every level of government. Local and state governments hire thousands of police officers every year, and the federal government additional looks for law enforcement personal in the CIA, FBI, or Department of Homeland Security. Even private companies desire effective law enforcement personnel to serve as guards and to manage security systems. Individuals who are familiar with criminal techniques from the simple level to the more complex, technological levels are in high demands at every level of government.
While we might often imagine police in a very dramatic fashion, we must remember that the truth is even more exciting than the dramas we see on the news or on scripted shows. The best law enforcement officers possess a wide knowledge of skills, techniques, and criminals to be able to prevent and counteract crimes throughout the nation. With an Associate's Degree in law enforcement, you will be better prepared to step into these important positions and serve society as a police officer or other law enforcement official.
Q: How long have you been a police officer?
A: I’ve been a police officer for 14 years now, 3 of which I’ve been a sergeant.
Q: Where did you attend college?
A: I went to Fresno State in California for my Associate’s degree then transferred to UCLA. I really love going to school and can’t stress enough how continuing your education is the key to being successful.
Q: Any advice to anyone wanting to enter this field?
A: Start out as an EMT or another line of work to first see if you like it. It doesn’t take that long to become an EMT and all the officers I work with all are trained as an EMT. The great thing is you’ll deal with police and firemen on a daily basis and you’ll get to know them and how they operate. You could learn you would like a different type of law enforcement career.
Q: What is the hardest thing about the job?
A: Law enforcement is a career that takes you away from your family during the early years. You’ll end up working odd hours and it can be stressful on your family due to the nature of the work.
Q: What is your salary?
A: Salary is low when you first start but I’m currently at $62,500 per year plus my benefits which are nice.
Q: How do you get promoted?
A: The key is to start out as a leader and volunteer for everything. I’m a born leader and love to learn to going to school or taking classes is fun for me. Each year you’ll get evaluated. I recommend after your 3rd year on the job to go into a specialty field like homicide, narcotics, Vice, SWAT or even the Internet Crime division. The internet crime division was pretty new when I started but I know several individuals that really love it. It gets you off the street but you do spend tons of time behind a computer. After 5 years you’ll be eligible to take a promotional exam.
Q: Any last advice to someone just looking into this field?
A: Start early and retire early. You can move around the county and it isn’t like you need to work in LA or NY. Police officers in big cities burn out pretty quickly. Become involved in your community as well and have a rewarding career.
Below are some of the careers you’ll qualify for after you graduate with an Associate’s degree in law enforcement or related degree.
First Responders – As a first responder or EMT you’ll be the first on the scene of an accident to administer help. First responders are typically the first dispatched to emergencies including accidents, natural disasters (floods, tornadoes, fires, ect.) as well as terrorist attacks.
Emergency Response – Anything that threatens public safety such as floods, fires, explosions, ect is the job of emergency crisis responders. Learn to evaluate situations and work with local and national departments. Recent floods and even oil refinery spills require great coordination between departments.
Security Guards – Both public and private companies hire security guards to not only protect property but also people when needed. You typically don’t need any formal training to become a security guard. Those who have been in the industry for years can branch out and even start their own security guard service.
Probation Officers – Help others stay on track once they have been convicted of a crime. Probation officers work with the courts and help keep track of individuals not serving time in jail. They meet regularly and follow up with employers to help guild and make sure the individual on probation abides by certain rules given to them by the court system. Your Associate’s degree in law enforcement will be a great addition to your resume if this is the line of work you are considering.