The Dangers of the Police Officer Profession
Being a police officer is one of the most brutal, unforgiving, and adrenaline-pumping jobs civilians can be. Police officers ultimately put their lives between us and the bad guys. They dedicate their time and some courageously give their lives for the innocent all while suffering the consequences of society like scrutiny and low pay. Being a police officer is a great way to serve the community and protect those who can’t protect themselves; additionally, it can provide job security and can improve a civilian’s life by challenging him or her to complete the rigorous police academy.
Law enforcement officers join the force for a number of different reasons. As Bennet and others explain, unique people join to serve the community (Bennet etc par. 3). Those that join the police are here to protect the community as a whole. They maintain stability and keep crime down so we can enjoy our freedoms that this wonderful country has blessed us with. Police don’t only deal with evil people. Choosing to be in law enforcement comes with the fact that, as David Heim explains, “There’s a 90-10 rule. 90% are good people and 10% aren’t”. (Heim par. 2). Not all of society is bad people and the ninety percent of good people rarely have to deal with the law other than things like traffic violations. The police face a variety of situations such as hardened criminals that put their lives on the line in order to keep society safe so we can live out our lives at the expense of their heroic acts.
When becoming a police officer, there is a significant amount of training required to complete the academy. According to IN.gov, the training at the police academy is over six-hundred hours (Basic Training par. 1). This training is extensive because of the nature of the job involving people’s lives being at stake. It is critical to have extensive training to be able to carefully handle situations before they spiral out of control. There are many different aspects in which recruits are trained in. The courses of training are: emergency vehicle operations, physical and firearms training, vehicle crash investigations, criminal investigation training, physical tactics, domestic violence and sexual assault training (Basic Training headers 1-6). There are many different courses that cover all the different aspects that police officers could face. The multiple different parts of training allow for officers to safely and properly handle situations and save lives.
Police officers are grossly underpaid. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage of Indiana police officers is $46,000 to $55,000 (Occupational Employment picture #3). The wages of officers are very low considering the dangerous line of work they do. Police officers constantly put their lives and they also face extreme accountability with people’s lives all for only twenty-five dollars an hour. In addition, the pay of Police officers varies from community to community. All U.S. cities and counties are accountable for payment of their local police forces with local taxes (Bennet etc par. 4). This is an unfair method of deciding payment for officers as all put their lives on the line doing the same line of work. Some communities are poorer than others which is unfair to the officers. This leads to officers having to get another job on-top of the already grueling job of being a public servant. Officers give their all for us and would defend us to the death. The least we can give them for their selfless service is decent pay that fits the accountability these officers are held to the standard of.
Although the pay doesn’t fit their job description, police officers do receive appropriate benefits. As Regis.edu explains, the officers get access to a benefits program – The Public Safety Officers Benefits Program (The Pros and Cons par. 3). This program helps to provide families of Law Enforcement with benefits such as healthcare. This helps to assist families that have officers who may have suffered from an injury due to the harsh nature of their job. This is very beneficial as injuries from police work can be devastating. Officers can also generally retire within twenty to twenty-five years after working regardless of age (The Pros and Cons list 1). The ability for officers to retire is great because they can live out their lives with a pension and don’t have to worry about healthcare as it comes with the added benefits. This also gives former officers a break because they don’t have to work until they’re ninety like other typical jobs. Officers receive good benefits as a result of their hard work and dedication to the safety of the public.
Police officers are subjected to very dangerous situations. Officer Brinegar of the Terre Haute PD revealed that he has driven his vehicle in excess of one-hundred miles per hour and has had to repeatedly see how brutal people are to each other (Brinegar Q 17). These terms of the job show how intense and vigorous it truly is. The dangerous things police officers do could possibly leave them scarred physically or mentally with disorders like PTSD. Police officers have to endure through hell in some parts of their job. Ferociously long shifts and the strenuous work load are big factors that cause fatigue and sleep-related issues (Pearsall par. 3). The long shifts pose a threat to officers’ ability to perform on the job and it affects the way they are able to think. Sleep deprivation and depression could possibly arise as a result of the demanding working conditions of the job. The working conditions of the job are very strenuous and vigorous on the body. Being a police officer isn’t as simple as just pulling someone over for a traffic stop. Law enforcement is very difficult with the officer having to do multiple jobs at once like being a psychologist and being a very good marksman all at once (Heim par. 23). The all-in-one nature of the job depicts how strenuous it is and how it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Officers must have the quick ability to think on their feet and also be very good at communicating with those that need the Police to help them. Officers must have many skills in order to effectively do their job. Compassion, the most important skill of all, is critical to understanding the feelings of those the officer are trying to help (Roufa 2nd header par. 2). Compassion is a critical skill officers must have because they won’t be able to help those that need it most without being able to understand their feelings and help them through the painful times they are going through. In order to be effective officer, they must have developed important skills critical to understanding and helping those they swore to protect.
Getting the job is obviously a major part of being a police officer. The academy is where the officers are trained before going out into the real world. Education isn’t a major part of the requirements of becoming a police officer. A high-school diploma is generally required but an officer of the Terre Haute Police Force, Officer Brinegar, revealed he went to college and switched half-way to criminology (Brinegar Q 10). He switched to criminology because he sought to further pursue his career in law enforcement and receive training that further allowed him to understand the minds of criminals that he would be battling. In addition, the process of converting from a civilian to a police officer is a very extensive ordeal. Officer Brinegar also revealed that it took him two years to become a law enforcement officer (Brinegar Q 10). This lengthy process helps to weed out those who aren’t dedicated or determined enough to endure the training required to become a police officer. In addition, there is also a problem of having to find another source of income as a result of the time that training takes up. The entire process molds civilians into officers that will uphold the law of the land and also be willing to sacrifice so much for the American people and local communities that these officers serve and protect.
Being a police officer is unlike any other job a civilian can have in its viciousness. According to an interview done by Hayasaki, Brian talks about how recruits have no idea who they will lose (Hayasaki Q 5 par. 6). The chilling statement by the former police officer shows how brutal and cold being in law enforcement is. Losing a friend or someone an officer cares about at any second because of the nature of the job is unfair and hard to think about. Being a police officer is nothing like Hollywood; this shows that while the officer is serving his or her community, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows and people do die. A job in law enforcement changes the way officers think mentally. In an interview, Officer Brinegar explained that it changes the way he thinks because he has seen the other side of the world in a whole other light that no one can understand except for other people that are also police officers (Brinegar Q 4). Law enforcement is a job that only those that do it can understand, so talking with the officer’s family and people not in the field can understand what truly goes on when officers are protecting the community. The lack of being able to communicate with those closest to the officer means things get stuck up in their head and they can get caught up thinking about things they could have done in that split-second that could have potentially saved someone else’s life. Being in law enforcement is a one-of-a-kind job that impacts the way officers see the world.
There are some major negatives of being a police officer. The scariest thing officers have to do on the job is having to take someone else’s life (Brinegar Q 3). Taking someone else’s life is something an officer can’t undo. Once someone is gone from this earth, they are gone forever. This is a big negative to the job because some people can’t handle having someone else’s blood on their hands for any reason. It creates stress and can cause PTSD. Although they are major negatives, there are also big positives to being in law enforcement. Law enforcement officers get to help people and see change (Brinegar Q 2). Law enforcement is here to protect the people of a community. Police officers constantly put their lives in harm’s way for society and are just trying to help. Although it is very risky, officers knowingly risk their lives so that everyone can live out their lives. Helping someone get off drugs, even if it means putting them in jail, can save their life. Although being a police officer is gruelingly harsh, there are many positives to becoming one. Being a police officer heavily influences those that go into the profession, they experience the brutality of the dark sides of the world; but they also get the gratification of helping people and protecting them as well as getting benefits like job security and pushing themselves to their absolute limit to help themselves grow. Law enforcement is a very challenging job and it is one that only the absolute determined and courageous can handle. However, the few that do put their lives on the line for society are their guardians against evil and would selflessly face evil itself if it meant saving a life.
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