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Having a career in law enforcement is often seen as a noble and fulfilling choice, but it is also a field where every member is held to a higher standard than the people they serve. Being able and wanting to do good isn’t enough to ensure your success. To have a long and successful career in this high-stakes environment, there are a few obvious prerequisites that you will need to take note of, such as a clean criminal background, the right physique, and the willingness to serve your community. However, there are a few other things you will need to do to ensure your continued success in law enforcement.
The Right Amount of Practice
How much is enough practice? While there are minimum requirements, the reality is that a person can never have enough. Having to fire a service weapon in the line of duty is stressful enough, but when it comes down to high-stakes moments, you will want to have your muscle memory honed and your sights perfected. The only way to achieve this is to practice until your weapon and its use are second nature to you, and then to practice a bit more. Unfortunately, ammunition isn’t cheap, so buying 9mm ammo in bulk is a great way to make sure you stay at the top of your game. Get to a gun range at least once a week and keep your skills sharp; you never know when you will need them.
Hone Your Admin Skills
Paperwork is also something you will be dealing with as part of law enforcement. Checks and balances are all we have to separate the cops from the criminals, and your knowledge of the necessary processes can make the difference between a murderer doing time or walking free. Administrative work may not sound important, but it is a reality of most careers, so be sure to put some time into learning time management skills and other admin-focused skills, to ensure you are a well-rounded worker.Having a career in law enforcement is often seen as a noble and fulfilling choice, but it is also a field where every member is held to a higher standard than the people they serve.Click To Tweet
Education Takes You Places
Navigating the laws, codes, and conduct surrounding law enforcement is a learning process that takes a lifetime to understand. Many law enforcement agencies will take in applicants with GEDs or high school diplomas, but most will see candidates with some kind of extra education in a more favorable light than those without. Some positions may even require additional qualifications and degrees, such as computer forensics. When joining the police service, specialized training at a police academy and the ability to pass an entrance exam are often mandatory. Looking at examples of entrance exams could help you get a much-needed leg-up on your competition.
Up Your Fitness Standards
Being physically healthy and fit is not only important for your everyday life; it is vital for a person whose role it is to enforce the law. When joining a police department, all trainees are required to pass a Physical Ability Test (PAT) or a Physical Qualification Test (PQT). Every state has different requirements that all new trainees need to meet, and you will be assessed on all of these requirements before being allowed onto the force. The physical fitness exam is crucial since it will simulate the daily physical stresses that a police officer could be expected to perform while on duty. Be sure to take note of the requirements in your state and tweak your fitness routine to put you on the road to the right physique.
A career in law enforcement can offer good pay, great advancement opportunities, and a stimulating environment, but it can also be a dangerous career filled with politics. One of the tips that you will hear from most officers is to do your best to separate your work and personal lives. Determine what you can control and what you can’t and focus on what you can achieve to enjoy a fulfilling career in law enforcement.