Types of Police Department Jobs to Consider for Your Career
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published October 23, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Police department employees work together to keep the public safe against crime and danger. There are many opportunities for entry, mid, and senior-level individuals to advance to a highly challenging and rewarding career. By understanding the jobs in a police department, you can better understand what you want to pursue and what kind of work you want. In this article, we explain what law enforcement professionals do, list various types of police department jobs, and discuss some of the skills required.
What do law enforcement professionals do?
Professionals in the police department are responsible for protecting the public, detecting and preventing crime, and performing activities that maintain law and order in communities. Police officers might also work with the public or other public service departments, such as firefighters, to ensure the safety of communities.
Some responsibilities of a police officer include the following:
patrol neighbourhoods to maintain public safety and order
enforce laws and regulations
investigate crimes and accidents and execute search warrants
respond to calls and emergencies from the public
supervise the work of other police officers
educate the public in crime prevention and safety programs
10 types of police department jobs
Whether you prefer a more technical role or working in the field, there are different types of police department jobs you can evaluate as potential career paths. Here are 10 different roles in law enforcement:
National average salary: $45,906 per year
Primary duties: Victim advocates play an important role in helping victims of crime cope with trauma. They might attend court sessions with the victim, file paperwork, and arrange necessary services that support the victim throughout the aftermath of the crime or tragic event. Depending on the situation, the victim advocate might help with funeral arrangements, safety planning, and navigating the health care system. They also provide victims with information about the criminal justice process, crime prevention, and their rights.
National average salary: $53,176 per year
Primary duties: Correctional officers work in jails, correctional facilities, prisons, and detention centres. They're responsible for providing security within the facilities and supervising inmates. A correctional officer might also escort inmates to medical appointments or court sessions to ensure they remain under supervision. They also provide resources and support to ensure inmates have what they need for successful rehabilitation. They regularly inspect the facilities to ensure the areas remain safe and untampered.
National average salary: $66,318 per year
Primary duties: Security officers are responsible for patrolling an area to ensure all patrons' safety and secure the premises. They protect against external threats, intrusions, and vulnerabilities. Some responsibilities include monitoring surveillance equipment, performing building or area inspections, checking patrons for dangerous materials, verifying visitors, and apprehending suspicious or dangerous individuals. Security officers are often the first line of defence against threats and protect businesses and individuals.
National average salary: $67,166 per year
Primary duties: Police officers participate in community programs that educate the public on best practices for keeping themselves and others safe. They're the first responders when a crime occurs, provide security for special events, and patrol neighbourhoods by car, motorcycle, bicycle, on foot, or horseback. Police officers also support crime investigations by conducting interviews to determine facts, find witnesses, inspect the crime scene to find evidence, and create reports for the investigation team.
National average salary: $67,472 per year
Primary duties: A field training officer is an experienced professional that provides supervision, assessments, and evaluations to individuals that have graduated from the police academy and are junior or probationary-level members. Junior and probationary level members work with field training officers for a certain period before the officer determines the individual can work independently.
National average salary: $69,943 per year
Primary duties: An evidence technician helps investigators by interpreting and preserving crime scene evidence. They typically work in a lab using scientific tools and create conclusions based on their findings but might occasionally appear at the crime scene to collect evidence for analysis. An evidence technician is also responsible for safeguarding the evidence, preparing reports, and presenting them to the investigators.
National average salary: $72,899 per year
Primary duties: A detective is responsible for investigating crimes. Their main goal is to gather evidence and affidavits for the prosecutor. They do this by collecting and analyzing the different pieces of evidence in each case. For instance, detectives use physical and testimonial evidence to determine what happened during a crime. They might work for law enforcement, government, or private investigative agencies. Other responsibilities include securing the crime scene for an investigation, interviewing suspects and witnesses, and attending court cases to testify.
Related: How to Become a Detective in 7 Steps
National average salary: $73,493 per year
Primary duties: Crime scene investigators identify, collect, process, and protect physical evidence from crime scenes, such as fingerprints, blood samples, footprints, and hair strands. They're also responsible for securing crime scenes to ensure the proof remains uncontaminated and protected for further collection and analysis and respond to calls from the police department to aid in specific investigations. It's crucial for a crime scene investigator to have observation and problem-solving skills to help the police with their scientific and investigative work.
National average salary: $74,271 per year
Primary duties: An intelligence analyst collects and organizes information in international relations and national security and uses their findings to identify and analyze threats and challenges. They might work for government agencies or private sector companies to help inform policy choices and aid decision-makers in making more informed decisions and strategies. Their responsibilities include analyzing new intelligence from multiple sources, providing assessments and reports, and preparing presentations.
10. Chief of police
National average salary: $102,728 per year
Primary duties: The chief of police is responsible for being the top administrator of the police department. They plan, direct, and manage all activities in the police department, such as law enforcement, crime suspension programs, and crime prevention. They set goals and benchmarks to ensure officers are performing well, manage the responsibilities of the police officers, and provide regular training programs to ensure police officers have the tools and knowledge they need. Chiefs of police frequently coordinate activities with other departments and agencies to support investigations and programs.
Possible skills required for police department jobs
Police department professionals train extensively to ensure they have the knowledge and tools to perform their responsibilities. Here are some possible skills an individual may need for a police department role:
Problem-solving skills: Often, professionals working in a police department encounter situations that require quick and effective solutions and usually make decisions based on logic, facts, and data.
Communication skills: Whether you're communicating with the public or department members, delivering detailed information clearly and concisely is crucial, as your actions might have legal implications. As several pieces of information require processing, ensuring people can understand the messages is imperative.
First aid training: Depending on your role within the department, you might respond to emergencies and perform lifesaving techniques if you arrive before the medical team.
Adaptability: Police department professionals often address daily situations requiring different responses and strategies. Adaptability allows you to respond in the most effective way to handle the situation.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries and the quoted websites at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.
Explore more articles
- What Is a Flexible Worker? (Plus Flexible Careers)
- A Guide to Order Picker Responsibilities (Including FAQs)
- How to Get Management Consulting Certification (With Steps)
- Sales Assistant Job Description (With Responsibilities)
- What Is an Inventory Auditor? (With Duties and Skills)
- Survey: Employer Sentiment Reveals Promising Signs for Canadians in 2021
- What Does a Warehouse Worker Do? (With Skills and How-to)
- What Does a Physician Assistant Do? (With Job Requirements)
- Signal Intelligence Specialist Duties: Definition and Skills
- What Does a Commercial Property Manager Do? (With Skills)
- Useful Mental Health Nurse Certifications You May Consider
- What Is a Director of Sales? (Plus Additional FAQs)