Police Officer

Maintain order and protect life and property by enforcing local, tribal, State, or Federal laws and ordinances. Perform a combination of the following duties: patrol a specific area; direct traffic; issue traffic summonses; investigate accidents; apprehend and arrest suspects, or serve legal processes of courts.

Educational Requirements

for Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers
The typical entry level education for this occupation is a high school diploma or equivalent. Those with a associate’s degree have a competitive advantage in the labor market.


Examples of the knowledge needed for success in this occupation is listed below, in order of importance.
  • Public Safety and Security: Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Law and Government: Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Psychology: Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


Examples of the skills needed for success in this occupation are listed below, in order of importance.
  • Critical Thinking: Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Active Listening: Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Speaking: Talking to others.
  • Monitoring: Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Social Perceptiveness: Understanding people’s reactions.


Examples of the abilities needed for success in this occupation are listed below, in order of importance.
  • Problem Sensitivity: Noticing when problems happen.
  • Oral Expression: Communicating by speaking.
  • Deductive Reasoning: Using rules to solve problems.
  • Oral Comprehension: Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Inductive Reasoning: Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.

Detailed Work Activities

Examples of the detailed work activities involved with this occupation are listed below, in order of importance.
  • Apprehend criminal suspects.
  • Maintain public order or security.
  • Prepare investigation or incident reports.
  • Administer first aid.
  • Maintain surveillance of individuals or establishments.