Summary Report for:
33-3051.01 - Police Patrol Officers
Patrol assigned area to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, control crowds, prevent crime, and arrest violators.
Sample of reported job titles: Alcohol Law Enforcement Agent, Law Enforcement Officer, Officer, Patrol Officer, Patrolman, Police Officer, Police Patrol Officer, Police Sergeant, Public Safety Officer, State Trooper
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- 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.
- Monitor, note, report, and investigate suspicious persons and situations, safety hazards, and unusual or illegal activity in patrol area.
- Identify, pursue, and arrest suspects and perpetrators of criminal acts.
- Patrol specific area on foot, horseback, or motorized conveyance, responding promptly to calls for assistance.
- Review facts of incidents to determine if criminal act or statute violations were involved.
- Render aid to accident victims and other persons requiring first aid for physical injuries.
- Investigate traffic accidents and other accidents to determine causes and to determine if a crime has been committed.
- Testify in court to present evidence or act as witness in traffic and criminal cases.
- Photograph or draw diagrams of crime or accident scenes and interview principals and eyewitnesses.
- Relay complaint and emergency-request information to appropriate agency dispatchers.
- Evaluate complaint and emergency-request information to determine response requirements.
- Process prisoners, and prepare and maintain records of prisoner bookings and prisoner status during booking and pre-trial process.
- Monitor traffic to ensure motorists observe traffic regulations and exhibit safe driving procedures.
- Issue citations or warnings to violators of motor vehicle ordinances.
- Direct traffic flow and reroute traffic in case of emergencies.
- Inform citizens of community services and recommend options to facilitate longer-term problem resolution.
- Provide road information to assist motorists.
- Inspect public establishments to ensure compliance with rules and regulations.
- Act as official escorts, such as when leading funeral processions or firefighters.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Alcohol analysers — Breathalyzers
- All terrain vehicles tracked or wheeled — All terrain vehicles ATV
- Automated external defibrillators AED or hard paddles — Automated external defibrillators AED
- Binoculars — Surveillance binoculars
- Biological evidence collection kits — Blood collection kits; Deoxyribonucleic acid DNA collection kits
- Biometric identification equipment — Fingerprint scanners
- Body armour — Body armor
- Bullet proof vests — Bulletproof vests
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation CPR protective shields or masks — Cardiopulmonary resuscitation CPR face shields
- Desktop computers
- Digital camcorders or video cameras — Digital video cameras
- Digital cameras
- Diving instruments or accessories — Scuba diving equipment
- Ear muffs — Hearing protectors
- Emergency medical services first aid kits — First aid kits
- Fingerprint equipment — Suspect fingerprinting equipment
- Fingerprint latent print kits — Fingerprint evidence kits
- Fire extinguishers — Multipurpose fire extinguishers
- Flares — Road flares
- Flatbed trailers — Equipment transport trailers
- Global positioning system GPS receiver — Global positioning system GPS receivers
- Hand sprayers — Pepper spray
- Handcuffs — Metal handcuffs; Plastic handcuffs
- Handguns — Electroshock weapons; Semiautomatic pistols; Service revolvers
- Hazardous material protective apparel — Biohazard suits
- Lasers — Laser trajectory pointers
- Masks or accessories — Filter masks
- Measuring wheels for distance — Distance measuring wheels
- Metal detectors
- Military rifles — Police rifles
- Narcotic test kits — Drug testing kits
- Night sticks — Nightsticks
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers; Mobile data computers
- Personal computers
- Personal motorized watercraft
- Police or security shotguns — Police shotguns
- Police vehicles — Police bicycles; Police motorcycles; Police patrol cars
- Protective gloves
- Radarbased surveillance systems — Radar speed readers
- Rescue ships or boats — Police boats
- Riot batons — Side-handle batons
- Riot helmets
- Riot shields
- Rulers — Crime scene rulers
- Safety glasses
- Snowmobiles or snow scooter — Police snowmobiles
- Sound measuring apparatus or decibel meter — Noise meters
- Speed stoppers — Tire deflation devices
- Still cameras — 35 millimeter cameras
- Surveillance video or audio recorders — Audio recording equipment
- Tape measures — Crime scene tape measures
- Teletype input devices — Teletype terminals
- Traffic signals — Remote traffic signal controllers
- Two way radios — Base station radios; Police car radios
- Ultraviolet UV lamps — Ultraviolet UV lights
- Weapon or explosives detectors and supplies — Explosive detectors
Technology used in this occupation:
- Data base user interface and query software — Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS; National Crime Information Center NCIC database; National Integrated Ballistics Information Network NIBIN; Spillman Technologies Records Management (see all 6 examples)
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Computer aided composite drawing software; DesignWare 3D EyeWitness; Microsoft Visio ; The CAD Zone The Crime Zone (see all 5 examples)
- Internet browser software — Microsoft Internet Explorer; Web browser software
- Map creation software — Crime mapping software; ESRI ArcView
- Office suite software — Corel WordPerfect Office Suite; Microsoft Office software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — IBM Lotus 1-2-3; Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- 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.
- Telecommunications — Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
- Sociology and Anthropology — Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
- 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.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Speed of Limb Movement — The ability to quickly move the arms and legs.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Detailed Work Activities
- Administer first aid.
- Prepare investigation or incident reports.
- Direct vehicle traffic.
- Maintain surveillance of individuals or establishments.
- Testify at legal or legislative proceedings.
- Communicate situation details to appropriate personnel.
- Record crime or accident scene evidence with video or still cameras.
- Monitor access or flow of people to prevent problems.
- Apprehend criminal suspects.
- Determine operational procedures.
- Respond to emergencies to provide assistance.
- Maintain public order or security.
- Record information about suspects or criminals.
- Patrol properties to maintain safety.
- Relay information about incidents or emergencies to personnel using phones or two-way radios.
- Investigate accidents to determine causes.
- Investigate illegal or suspicious activities.
- Maintain operational records.
- Interview people to gather information about criminal activities.
- Issue warnings or citations.
- Assist motorists or pedestrians.
- Inspect facilities to ensure compliance with security or safety regulations.
- Inform the public about policies, services or procedures.
- Recommend improvements to increase safety or reduce risks.
- Deal With External Customers — 90% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 90% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 80% responded “Every day.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 91% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 89% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 70% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 89% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 74% responded “Extremely important.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 69% responded “Extremely important.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 77% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 71% responded “Very important results.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 59% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Physical Proximity — 50% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Letters and Memos — 51% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 47% responded “Very important.”
- Deal With Physically Aggressive People — 48% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 40% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 39% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Consequence of Error — 66% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 57% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 35% responded “Very important.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 51% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 36% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 67% responded “More than half the time.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 30% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 42% responded “Every day.”
- Level of Competition — 30% responded “Extremely competitive.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 41% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 40% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Disease or Infections — 38% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 32% responded “About half the time.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 28% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 28% responded “Every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 27% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 30% responded “Every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|42||High school diploma or equivalent|
|22||Some college, no degree|
Interest code: REC
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers.
Employment data collected from Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers.
Industry data collected from Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers.
|Median wages (2015)||$28.04 hourly, $58,320 annual|
|Employment (2014)||680,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2014-2024)||Average (5% to 8%)|
|Projected job openings (2014-2024)||258,400|
|Top industries (2014)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Police and detectives . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition.