Three things to consider before starting a law enforcement career
February 28, 2012
Before embarking on a law enforcement career, you should carefully assess the pros and cons of the job. You should also assess whether you’re suited to the demands of this high stress profession.
Here are three things to consider if you’re contemplating starting a law enforcement career:
Are you up for the intense demands of a law enforcement career? You need to have an iron constitution not to buckle under the pressure of working under high stress, emergency conditions. Will you be able to keep your cool and maintain order in chaotic situations? Can you think clearly enough to carry out your duties when called upon to respond to a gruesome car crash? How about staying calm enough to fire your weapon accurately if you’re confronted by an armed gunman? Calmness and courage under fire is mandatory for anyone contemplating a law enforcement career, so you should assess your ability to do so. You’ll also need to be able to manage stress when you’re not on the job, so the demands of your profession don’t have a negative impact on your home life. All of these things are extremely important for anyone who’s dedicating themselves to police work.
Another thing to consider when contemplating a law enforcement career is whether you can meet the rigorous demands of the police training academy. This intensive program consists of 12 to 14 weeks of classroom and field training during which you’ll be expected to be at peak performance, both mentally and physically. Because today’s law enforcement officers need to be versed in the laws they’re being tasked with enforcing, a large portion of your training will take place in the classroom where you’ll be taking tests and memorizing large amounts of material. You should carefully assess whether you have the cognitive skills to carry out the intellectual demands of training for a law enforcement career.
Do you have the physical stamina and strength to pursue a law enforcement career? This is an important aspect of the job, especially when you’re getting ready to begin your training at a police academy. In many ways, law enforcement training is comparable to military basic training. Academy training requires that you be in peak physical condition, both in terms of muscle strength, coordination and stamina. You’ll be expected to be able to do sit-ups, knee-bends, pull-ups and muscle building exercises to prepare your body for the challenge of police work. You’ll be running every day, working up to a six-mile course by the end of your training. Target shooting is another aspect of police work that you’ll be expected to perform expertly. Assessing your ability to carry out these tasks is an important part of assessing whether you have what it takes to begin a law enforcement career.