Skills necessary to be a law enforcement officer
February 28, 2012
The skills necessary to be a law enforcement officer include both cognitive and physical aptitudes. Because a career in police work isn’t just about subduing unruly criminals and being able to fire a gun accurately, you must have the intellectual skills necessary to carry out the job as well. That means you need to at least have mastered the basic skills of reading, spelling, math and problem solving. While you need to have a high school education at minimum in order to join a police force, any advanced education in the field of criminal justice will help you when it comes to getting hired for a career as a law enforcement officer. For some police jobs, some college level education is now mandatory. Because of the competitive nature of these jobs, you should have as much education as possible under your belt before you apply.
Another requirement for a career as a law enforcement officer involves being in excellent physical shape. In order to pass the initial screening test for admission to most departments, you’ll need to prove that you’re in good condition physically. The physical fitness exam gauges whether you have the stamina, dexterity and strength to carry out the physical aspects of police work, which can involve running long distances, overpowering unruly suspects and operating a firearm. If you pass the initial test and are admitted to law enforcement training school, your physical condition will be tested even more strenuously, as you’ll be put through weeks of intense physical conditioning exercises, including being able to run for six miles. The bottom line is that you need to be in excellent shape to meet the physical requirements of a job as a law enforcement officer.
Other skills necessary to be a law enforcement officer include the ability to think clearly in emergency situations where your reaction can mean the difference between life and death. Police work can be stressful, so you also need to be able to handle the intense nature of the profession, which can take a toll on those without a strong mental constitution. A desire to serve your community and a strong ethical and moral sense are also qualities that a law enforcement officer needs to possess in order to carry out the job successfully.