Police and sheriff’s patrol officers are the most common type of police and detectives, and have general law enforcement duties. They wear uniforms that allow the public to easily recognize them as police officers. They have regular patrols and also respond to emergency and nonemergency calls. During patrols, officers look for signs of criminal activity and may conduct searches and arrest suspected criminals.
Educational requirements vary for becoming a police officer. A high school diploma or equivalent is required to obtain this position. Most will then graduate from an agency police academy. A two-year college or four-year university degree in criminal justice or a related field will definitely help one to move up within a police department.
Employment of police and detectives is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. While a continued desire for public safety is expected to result in a need for more officers, demand for employment is expected to vary depending on location, driven largely by local and state budgets.
Police and detective work can be physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous. Police and sheriff's patrol officers and transit and railroad police have some of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Working around the clock in shifts is common.