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:

1. Victim advocate

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.

Related: 11 Common Police Officer Skills (And How to Improve Them)

2. Correctional officer

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.

Related: How to Become a Police Officer in Canada

3. Security officer

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.

Related: How to Become a Security Officer (With Duties and Skills)

4. Police officer

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.

Related: How to Become a Police Sergeant in 7 Steps (Plus Salary)

5. Field training officer

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.

6. Evidence technician

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.

Related: How You Can Become a Crime Scene Photographer in 6 Steps

7. Detective

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

8. Crime scene investigator

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.

Related: How to Become a Crime Scene Investigator in 5 Steps

9. Intelligence analyst

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.

Related: How to Become a CSIS Intelligence Analyst in 4 Steps

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.‌

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