Police Officers



Police officers perform many duties relating to public safety. Their responsibilities include not only preserving the peace, preventing criminal acts, enforcing the law, investigating crimes, and arresting those who violate the law but also directing traffic, community relations work, and controlling crowds at public events. Police officers are employed at the federal, state, county, and city level.

State police officers patrol highways and enforce the laws and regulations that govern the use of those highways, in addition to...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



Military or law enforcement experience helpful



Business Management


Personality Traits



According to the U.S. Department of Labor, police and sheriff's patrol officers earned a median annual salary of $63,150 in May 2019; the lowest 10 percent earned $36,960 or less a year, while the highest 10 percent earned $105,230 or more annually. Police detectives and criminal investigators earned median salaries of $83,170 a year, with a low of $44,860 or less and a high of $139,180 or more...

Work Environment

Police officers work under many different types of circumstances. Much of their work may be performed outdoors, as they ride in patrol cars or walk the beats assigned to them. In emergency situations, no consideration can be made for weather conditions, time of day or night, or day of the week. Police officers may be on call 24 hours a day; even when they are not on duty, they are usually requi...


Employment for police officers and detectives is expected to grow by 5 percent through 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), about as fast as the average for all occupations. Strong competition for jobs will exist at the federal level and in most state police departments. Opportunities will be best in local police departments, especially those which are located in high-crime ar...