“Being a police officer in America is a tough job.”

Johan Renck, Director

Pros and Cons of Being a Police Officer

advantages and disadvantages of being a police officer

You want to become a police officer? Great! However, before you sign your contract, make sure you read this article since I show you all the pros and cons of being a police officer.

After reading this article, you will get more aware of all the chances and dangers of becoming a police officer and you may even change your mind due to that.

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Advantages of Being a Police Officer

  1. Police officers enjoy a high reputation in society
  2. Cops never get bored
  3. Police officers have a high fitness level
  4. Many police officers have an inner motivation to do good for others
  5. Your colleagues will become your second family
  6. Police officers can earn a decent salary
  7. Good future job prospects
  8. You learn how to deal with people
  9. You learn a lot of patience
  10. Being a police officer helps you overcome your fears
  11. You can climb the police ladder soon if you are ambitious
  12. Many different departments you can work in
  13. You can improve overall conditions in your community
  14. Option to retire relatively early
  15. Additional perks for police officers

Police officers enjoy a high reputation in society

One important advantage of being a police officer is that cops have a pretty high reputation in society. Yes, there are people who simply don’t like them. However, the majority of the general public is still thankful for the help and security police officers ensure on our streets. Imagine a world without police.

Chances are that there would be many more robberies and other unpleasant things. Consequently, we should thank police officers for what they are doing for us so that they feel the appreciation they deserve.

Cops never get bored

Police officers also never get bored. There is just that much insecurity involved in this job that you will never know when you are called to the next operation. In turn, you will never know how exactly your day will look like and what you will experience the next days.

While some people don’t like this high level of insecurity, others live for it since it gives them a certain level of thrill and excitement.

Police officers have a high fitness level

Another benefit of being a police officer is that you will also stay fit. Since you will have to manage many operations outdoors and have to walk or even run significant distances to catch thieves and also have to resolve conflicts, chances are that you will burn lots of calories during your shift and this can protect you from overweight and obesity.

A high fitness level is crucial to maintain a high quality of life and therefore, becoming a police officer can also improve your life in general.

Many police officers have an inner motivation to do good for others

Being a police officer is more than a profession. You should really be convinced about it and should take your mission quite seriously. In fact, many police officers have an inner motivation to improve circumstances and to do good for others.

During your career, you will often have the chance to support people who urgently need it. In turn, you can improve the quality of life of many people and can help them out in difficult periods of their lives.

Your colleagues will become your second family

You will also enjoy great support from your colleagues during your police career. In fact, your colleagues will become your second family since you simply spend so much time with them. Police officers have to rely on each other to make their operations as safe as possible.

Thus, over time, you will build a high level of trust with each other and after a few years, you will almost blindly rely on your colleagues having your back in case of emergency.

Police officers can earn a decent salary

Depending on the state you live in and your educational level, you can also earn pretty decent money from being a police officer. While you will not get rich in most cases, you will still be able to provide a decent life for you and your family.

However, before you decide for a police officer career due to the salary, make sure to inform yourself about what the salary of a policeman in your area really looks like since it greatly differs across states.

Good future job prospects

While many other jobs can be automized in the near future and many people will lose their jobs due to that, this will not be true for police officers.

In fact, most police officers are not replaceable with machines in the near future since the job as police officer just involves too much personal judgement to automize it.

In turn, you will have pretty good job prospects and don’t have to fear losing your job due to automatization in the near future.

You learn how to deal with people

Another upside of becoming a police officer is that you will really learn how to deal with many different kinds of people. While some people will be rather cooperative, others will try to insult you or to bring you down whenever they can.

I admit, this can be annoying at the beginning. However, from these experiences, you can really learn how to handle those situations and you can grow in character.

Moreover, you will also learn how to read people and this is crucial to succeeding not only as police officer, but also in various other parts of your life.

You learn a lot of patience

During your career as a police officer, you will also learn quite a lot of patience. Since you will often have to deal with difficult people and have to see many unpleasant things, you will soon take things less seriously and your overall frustration tolerance will increase as well.

In turn, you will also become more patient in case things don’t work out the way you want them to be.

Being a police officer helps you overcome your fears

Another advantage of becoming a police officer is that it can also help you overcome your fears. At the beginning of your career, you will likely be rather intimidated and insecure regarding how to handle difficult situations. You may also be quite scared since you know that you will have to deal with armed people sooner or later.

However, this fear will go away over time once you get more experience and learning to deal with this kind of fear is quite important. In fact, it can even make you much stronger and overcoming our fears is crucial to really grow in character and to develop a more stable personality.

You can climb the police ladder soon if you are ambitious

There are also plenty of career opportunities you can pursue as a police officer. If you do your job well and if you are really ambitious and do what it takes, you can pursue a demanding career and many doors will open to you. Of course, to succeed in this regard, you also have to build a strong network over time.

Networks are crucial for promotions, not only as a police officer but also in the corporate world. If you don’t get any support from the right influential people, your chances of making it to the top will be almost zero.

Thus, if you have those ambitions, make sure that you connect to the right people and do your job extraordinarily well.

Many different departments you can work in

Being a police officer also doesn’t mean that you have to stay in the field you began your career in. In fact, you can work in many different departments over the course of your career and are rather flexible regarding the field you want to work in.

Consequently, don’t be discouraged if your first job as a police officer will not be your dream job. Chances are that it can get much better if you stay ambitious and try to get into different departments.

You can improve overall conditions in your community

Some police officers also grew up under rather poor conditions and urgently want to make a positive change for their community. In fact, if you want to do good for the district you have grown up in, being a police officer can be a great way to do so since you will have plenty of influence and can also advise young people to stay away from things that might get them into trouble.

Option to retire relatively early

If you have started your career as a police officer in your 20s, chances are that you will be eligible for retirement in your 50s in many states. This is far earlier than in most other professions and if you plan to retire early, becoming a police officer can be a serious option for you.

Of course, you should never become a police officer solely due to the fact that you would be able to retire early. The job is simply too hard for that and you would just not become happy if you don’t have an inner motivation for it.

Additional perks for police officers

Since police officers enjoy a high reputation among the general public, they often get additional perks. Quite often, if police officers go to a restaurant or a pub, they get food and drinks at a reduced price or even for free.

Consequently, apart from your decent salary, you will also be able to save money on many occasions in your daily life, which makes becoming a police officer even more attractive from a financial standpoint.

Disadvantages of Being a Cop

  1. Being a police officer can be dangerous
  2. You will often not know how your day looks like
  3. You will see really bad and sad things during your career
  4. Emotional burden can be enormous
  5. You will have to make difficult decisions
  6. You may get fired
  7. Police officers lose their delusions of a nice world quite soon
  8. You will put your life in the hands of your colleagues
  9. Paperwork is part of being a police officer
  10. Sleep deprivation
  11. Police officers often work long hours
  12. Cops often have to work at nighttime
  13. Irregular shifts are a problem
  14. You may get injured or even die
  15. Some police officers develop paranoia over time
  16. Demanding hiring process
  17. You may not be eligible for becoming a police officer
  18. Your family will worry about you coming back alive
  19. Job satisfaction is rather low
  20. Excessive stress can be a problem
  21. Some police officers join radical networks
  22. Mental problems are quite common
  23. Police officers usually don’t get rich
  24. Many people lost their respect for the police

Being a police officer can be dangerous

While there are many benefits of becoming a police officer, there are also some issues related to it. For instance, one problem with being a police officer is that the job can simply be quite dangerous. You will never know what happens during your shift and every operation could potentially be the last one for you.

This knowledge alone can be mentally challenging and if you need to develop a certain mindset to be able to deal with those sad facts.

You will often not know how your day looks like

Being a police officer also means that you will face a high level of insecurity regarding how your day will really look like. No day will be like the past one and you will always have to adjust your expectations.

While some people like this insecurity since they get a certain level of excitement out of it, others who need a structured day hate it and if you are the kind of person who wants to play way ahead, chances are that becoming a police officer will just not be the right way to go for you.

You will see really bad and sad things during your career

Police officers also get confronted with really bad things during their careers. This is quite logical since whenever you need the police, something bad has happened to others.

In fact, many police officers see things during their career that are that disgusting that they have difficulties to mentally process and to forget them their whole lives.

Thus, before deciding for a career as police officer, make sure that you are mentally stable enough to deal with those pictures in your head that will not look pretty most of the time.

Emotional burden can be enormous

Many police officers are also not able to deal with the emotional burden that comes along with their job. Quite often, you will see families breaking apart and you will also see the worst of humanity.

Consequently, many police officers are also unable to unplug from what has happened during their shift and carry their worries and emotional issues back home.

You will have to make difficult decisions

Being a police officer also implies making difficult decisions. In fact, you will have to decide when it will be appropriate to use your gun and when there will be no need for it. This can be rather unclear in many situations and one mistake in this regard can even cost your life.

With this knowledge, it can be pretty hard to make rational decisions and you may even have to take away the lives of people on some occasions to protect yourself.

You may get fired

If you make mistakes, you may also get fired. Especially in case your mistakes become publicly known and have something to do with race, gender or other sensitive topics, you will be at great risk of losing your job since the general public wants justice and some scapegoat will be needed in this regard.

Police officers lose their delusions of a nice world quite soon

Since police officers see so many bad things during their careers, they often also lose all their childish delusions of a nice world pretty soon. While some people still believe in the best of people, police officers just have a hard time doing so since they experience so many bad things every day.

Consequently, it may also be hard for police officers to build trust with others and to make really good friends since they may always mistrust people right from the beginning.

You will put your life in the hands of your colleagues

Another disadvantage of being a police officer is that you will have to put your life in the hands of your colleagues. Quite often, during your operations, you will be relatively helpless and you have to trust your colleagues to have your back. If your colleagues make mistakes, you could potentially lose your life.

Thus, especially if you are a rather skeptic person who doesn’t like to rely on others for such important things, becoming a police officer may also not be the right way to go for you.

Paperwork is part of being a police officer

Being a police officer is not only about action. It also requires plenty of paperwork and also legal knowledge. In fact, many police officers have to spend significant amounts of time on paperwork and other administrative tasks.

Consequently, make sure that you are also willing to do this kind of work before deciding to become a police officer.

Sleep deprivation

Many police officers also suffer from sleep deprivation or even insomnia. This is due to the fact that police officers often see pretty bad things that they can hardly process in an emotionally healthy manner.

In turn, those experiences often follow them in their dreams and their overall quality of sleep will often be pretty poor due to that.

Police officers often work long hours

Also if you think that police officers have a relaxed life, you should think twice. In fact, shifts of police officers can be quite long and depending on what happens in your district, you will have to work long hours and will come home exhausted. Thus, make sure that you are willing to work hard if you really aspire to a police officer career.

Cops often have to work at nighttime

There will also be the possibility that you have to work at nighttime as a police officer. This is necessary since most unlawful activities happen at nighttime. However, while you can do a great job for your community, it can be quite annoying and exhausting to work at nighttime. In fact, many people struggle with it since it destroys the natural sleeping rhythm.

Irregular shifts are a problem

In general, police officers face quite irregular shifts and often don’t know how the next weeks will look like for them. This can be rather annoying, especially if you have a family and don’t know how to manage your private life since you often don’t know the exact hours of your shift.

This makes it really difficult since you will never know whether you will be able to pick up your kids the next week or not.

You may get injured or even die

There will always be the risk to get injured or dying during your shift as a police officer. You will just have to live with the fact that your life could be over anytime. Many police officers just have a hard time dealing with this fact and try to suppress it.

However, some police officers quit their jobs after a while due to the dangers they no longer want to be exposed to.

Some police officers develop paranoia over time

Since their job can be quite dangerous, many police officers also develop significant paranoia over time. This could mean that they think that somebody follows them to their house when there will actually nobody be there.

This can be quite problematic since police officers may attack uninvolved residents due to their paranoia.

Demanding hiring process

In many states, it is also not easy to become a police officer. Some regions have pretty demanding hiring processes and you will often also have to prove your abilities as well as a high fitness level before you an become a police officer.

You may not be eligible for becoming a police officer

You may also just not be eligible for a career as a police officer. If you have made bad decisions in the past and have an extensive criminal record, your chances of becoming accepted as a police officer will be almost zero in most states.

Your family will worry about you coming back alive

Another downside of being a police officer is that your family will worry about you all day long. In fact, especially if you have children, it can be quite hard to go to work as a police officer since you know that you might never come back and so do your children and your wife.

Thus, every goodbye will sound strange and will have a sad implication of what might happen sooner or later.

Job satisfaction is rather low

Many police officers are also not happy with their overall working environment. In fact, there is plenty of frustration around in the cop world since many people just had different plans for their lives and thought that being a cop would just be different.

Excessive stress can be a problem

Being a police officer can also be quite stressful. Since you will never know what you have to deal with next, your body and your brain will always be exposed to some level of tension during your shift.

In the long run, this can lead to serious health issues since constant stress is just not good for us.

Some police officers join radical networks

There had even been cases where police officers joined radical groups that are forbidden by our constitution and local laws. In fact, not all police officers have good intentions and you should be quite careful in case your boss tries to push you in such a direction.

Mental problems are quite common

Many police officers also suffer from serious mental issues. Quite often, police officers are confronted with situations that are pretty unpleasant. In turn, many officers are simply not able to process those experiences in an emotionally healthy manner and will suffer from mental problems like depression later on in their lives.

Police officers usually don’t get rich

While police officers can make a decent salary in many states, they will simply not make as much money as a doctor or a lawyer. Hence, if you want to become wealthy or even rich, a career as police officer will not be the way to go for you most of the time.

Many people lost their respect for the police

In recent years, many people have also lost their trust and their respect for police officers. In fact, there is plenty of hate around on the streets and you will no longer experience the level of respect previous police officer generations got from the general public.

Top 10 Being a Police Officer Pros & Cons – Summary List

Being a Police Officer ProsBeing a Police Officer Cons
Police officers have a high reputationPolice officers may lose their lives
You learn how to deal with difficult peoplePlenty of emotional stress involved
Police officers have a good fitness levelYour family will worry about you
Good job prospectsBeing a police officer can be stressful
Being a police officer lets you grow in characterYou will not get rich
Variety of different fields you can work inPolice officers often suffer from mental issues
You can improve conditions in your communityPolice officers have to make difficult decisions
Police officers can retire relatively earlyMistakes of your colleagues can cost your life
You learn patienceDemanding hiring process
Additional perks for police officersYou may not be eligible to become a cop

Should You Become A Police Officer?

Now that you got all the advantages and disadvantages of being a police officer, it is on you to evaluate all the arguments carefully to decide whether you want to become a cop or not.

If you are still not sure yet, you may have some friends who are police officers and can give you some additional information on this topic.

Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_officer

https://golawenforcement.com/articles/10-tips-for-a-successful-law-enforcement-career/

https://www.criminaljusticedegreeschools.com/resources/best-police-career-advice/

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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