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Occupation Profile

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Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers
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Description: what do they do?
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. Includes police officers working at educational institutions.
Also known as:
Deputy, Deputy Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff (Generalist)-Bailiff, Law Enforcement Officer, Patrol Officer, Peace Officer, Police Officer, Police Patrol Officer, Public Safety Officer, State Trooper

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
    Transcript: Whether on foot, wheels, or horseback, detectives and police officers are alert for any threat to public safety, ready to respond at a moment’s notice when a need occurs. Police and sheriff’s officers protect lives and property. They respond to emergency and patrol their assigned area for signs of criminal activity. They wear recognizable uniforms, and may conduct searches and arrest suspected criminals. Some officers specialize in one type of crime, such as narcotics. Detectives and criminal investigators, or agents, gather facts and evidence of possible crimes. They conduct interviews, observe the activities of suspects, and participate in raids and arrests. Detectives often wear plain clothes, and usually specialize in investigating one type of crime, such as homicide or fraud. Transit and railroad police patrol railroad yards and transit stations to prevent thefts and protect property. Police and detective work requires patience, and paperwork; officers document every incident in detail, and must be ready to testify in court. Most officers carry law enforcement tools, such as radios, handcuffs, and firearms. Police and detective work can be physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous; injuries are common. Despite working shifts around the clock and dealing with life-threatening situations, officers must stay calm, think clearly, and use good judgment at all times. Most positions require graduation from a law enforcement agency’s training academy and extensive on-the-job training. Police officers and detectives need a license to carry firearms and enforce the law. Typically, candidates must be U.S. citizens, at least 21 years old, and in excellent physical and mental health, with no felony convictions.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.

This occupation is:
  • Expected to grow much faster than average


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Please note that this does not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different outlooks due to the rapidly changing economy. When new outlook information is developed, it will be reflected here.

    Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings". This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET Bright Outlook occupations and My Next Move career outlook designations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Florida
39,350
2018 Employment
42,490
2028 Employment
8%
Percent change
3,190
Annual projected job openings
United States
688,400
2019 Employment
727,400
2029 Employment
6%
Percent change
51,000
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2018 (for states) or 2019 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2028 (for states) or 2029 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    Please note that these projections do not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different projections due to the rapidly changing economy. When revised data are available, they will be published here.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2018-28.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2019-29.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers in Florida
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationFloridaUnited States
10%$41,180$38,420
25%$47,860$48,950
Median$60,050$65,540
75%$76,710$86,880
90%$90,900$109,040


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Program, May 2020 survey. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2019.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2018.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Apprehend criminal suspects.
  • Maintain public order or security.
  • Respond to emergencies to provide assistance.
  • Prepare investigation or incident reports.
  • Administer first aid.
  • Investigate illegal or suspicious activities.
  • Investigate accidents to determine causes.
  • Communicate situation details to appropriate personnel.
  • Maintain surveillance of individuals or establishments.
  • Record information about suspects or criminals.
  • Maintain operational records.
  • Testify at legal or legislative proceedings.
  • Patrol properties to maintain safety.
  • Monitor access or flow of people to prevent problems.
  • Relay information about incidents or emergencies to personnel using phones or two-way radios.
  • Investigate legal issues.
  • Record crime or accident scene evidence with video or still cameras.
  • Interview people to gather information about criminal activities.
  • Determine operational procedures.
  • Direct law enforcement activities.
  • Direct vehicle traffic.
  • Serve court ordered documents.
  • Interview people to obtain information about actions or status of individuals.
  • Detain suspects or witnesses.
  • Guard facilities.
  • Escort prisoners to courtrooms, prisons, or other facilities.
  • Inform the public about policies, services or procedures.
  • Recommend improvements to increase safety or reduce risks.
  • Locate suspicious objects or vehicles.
  • Confiscate prohibited or dangerous items.
  • Assist motorists or pedestrians.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • 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.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Negotiation - Bringing people together to solve differences.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Persuasion - Talking people into changing their minds or their behavior.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Service Orientation - Looking for ways to help people.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Selective Attention - Paying attention to something without being distracted.
  • Far Vision - Seeing details that are far away.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Enterprising - Occupations with Enterprising interests frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. Many involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Social - Occupations with Social interests frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. Most involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Identify, pursue, and arrest suspects and perpetrators of criminal acts.
  • Provide for public safety by maintaining order, responding to emergencies, protecting people and property, enforcing motor vehicle and criminal laws, and promoting good community relations.
  • Record facts to prepare reports that document incidents and activities.
  • Render aid to accident victims and other persons requiring first aid for physical injuries.
  • Investigate illegal or suspicious activities.
  • Review facts of incidents to determine if criminal act or statute violations were involved.
  • Monitor, note, report, and investigate suspicious persons and situations, safety hazards, and unusual or illegal activity in patrol area.
  • Process prisoners, and prepare and maintain records of prisoner bookings and prisoner status during booking and pre-trial process.
  • Testify in court to present evidence or act as witness in traffic and criminal cases.
  • Drive vehicles or patrol specific areas to detect law violators, issue citations, and make arrests.
  • Monitor traffic to ensure motorists observe traffic regulations and exhibit safe driving procedures.
  • Relay complaint and emergency-request information to appropriate agency dispatchers.
  • Verify that the proper legal charges have been made against law offenders.
  • Photograph or draw diagrams of crime or accident scenes and interview principals and eyewitnesses.
  • Execute arrest warrants, locating and taking persons into custody.
  • Evaluate complaint and emergency-request information to determine response requirements.
  • Patrol specific area on foot, horseback, or motorized conveyance, responding promptly to calls for assistance.
  • Investigate traffic accidents and other accidents to determine causes and to determine if a crime has been committed.
  • Supervise law enforcement staff, such as jail staff, officers, and deputy sheriffs.
  • Direct traffic flow and reroute traffic in case of emergencies.
  • Notify patrol units to take violators into custody or to provide needed assistance or medical aid.
  • Serve statements of claims, subpoenas, summonses, jury summonses, orders to pay alimony, and other court orders.
  • Question individuals entering secured areas to determine their business, directing and rerouting individuals as necessary.
  • Place people in protective custody.
  • Patrol and guard courthouses, grand jury rooms, or assigned areas to provide security, enforce laws, maintain order, and arrest violators.
  • Transport or escort prisoners and defendants en route to courtrooms, prisons or jails, attorneys' offices, or medical facilities.
  • Inform citizens of community services and recommend options to facilitate longer-term problem resolution.
  • Locate and confiscate real or personal property, as directed by court order.
  • Provide road information to assist motorists.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.