Career Advice for New Police Officers

Career Advice for New Police Officers
  • Opening Intro -

    As a new police officer, you may have a number of questions running through your head.

    It’s a big job with a lot of responsibility, so it’s understandable if you’re a little hesitant when you’re first starting out.

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There are a few pieces of advice that will be useful in helping you to have a fulfilling and successful career in law enforcement. Instead of trying to be the one who knows everything, be open to taking in pointers and information that’s going to allow you to thrive when entering your role. If you take the right approach, you’ll end up having an immense impact on your community and can eventually teach other new police officers what you know so they can also succeed.

Always Be Learning

One piece of career advice for new police officers is to always be learning and brushing up on your skills. It’s wise to continue your education and professional development such as getting your Bachelor of policing which can enable you to become a stronger leader.

You’ll not only be a better police officer, but this new knowledge can also open doors for you to gain additional career opportunities that you otherwise might not be qualified to take on. Remember that no matter how skilled you think you are, there’s always a chance for you to grow and develop within the law enforcement environment.

Get Enough Sleep

When first launching your policing career, you may have a strange or unpredictable schedule. You’ll perform a lot better at your job if you’re well-rested and able to get as much sleep as possible.

Make relaxation a priority in your free time so that you can return to work feeling fully refreshed and ready to go. You’ll make sensible and intelligent decisions when you feel good mentally and physically.

Therefore, be sure to take time off when you need it and find ways to reduce and relieve any stress you may be experiencing. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed or strung out when you’re in a heated situation that will require you to think on your feet.

Consider Your Behavior When You’re Not in Uniform

Wearing your police uniform may make you feel proud, protected and in control. However, you also need to think about how you feel about yourself when you’re in your street clothes and not on duty. It’s important you continue to display acceptable behavior when you’re not working and are out and about in daily life.

In fact, your reputation is vital to you maintaining long-term success in your policing career. Avoid getting caught up in any drama or sticky situations where you may be framed or placed in a poor light. Make good choices when you’re not in uniform and you won’t have to worry about your character being tarnished. 

Practice Work-Life Balance

It’s also important that you practice work-life balance when you’re a new police officer. You may feel a bit out of sorts and inundated with information and responsibilities when first starting out. Therefore, be sure to commit to not overdoing it in any one area of your life. Find hobbies you enjoy when you’re not at work and be sure to spend time with friends and family in your down time. It’s healthy to have other relationships outside of your work friends, so don’t be afraid to branch out and make new social connections.  

Be Honest & Ethical

It’s critical that you’re honest and ethical in your policing practices throughout your career. As a new police officer, you may be swayed to cut corners or not follow protocol but this can lead to trouble. As a new police officer, this is your chance to come in and show others that it is possible to stick to your values and be ethical in your job.

Even when no one is looking, it’s imperative that you continue to act right and treat others with respect. Don’t be afraid to play out different scenarios in your head and think about what you would do if you were ever in this type of situation. Be prepared to know how you want to behave and what reactions you want to take when you encounter challenging people or circumstances in your policing career.

Act Professionally & Responsibly

In addition, as a new police officer who has a list of required duties, it’s in your best interest to act professionally and responsibly in all of your interactions. You’re going to be working with a lot of different types of people and will need to show flexibility when working with various personalities and situations.

You may experience a lot of strange encounters as a police officer, so you’ll need to keep a level head and positive attitude. Keep in mind that even if you think someone deserves a certain kind of treatment or consequence, then it’s up to you to treat them as a human being and regard them as innocent until proven guilty.

other valuable tips:

Stay Away from Office Politics

Another piece of career advice for new police officers is to stay out of office politics. There will inevitably be a rumor mill going and it is your choice whether to get involved or not. If you don’t have specific information that you know to be true, then it’s probably best to stay quiet.

Inserting yourself into other people’s problems and getting involved with hearsay may backfire — and, you might find yourself struggling to gain others’ trust back. Choose your battles wisely and build relationships with people who share similar viewpoints so you can stick together.

Conclusion

As a new officer, there’s a lot to know and take in when you’re initially entering the force. Create your own path to success by following these suggestions and taking the advice to heart. There’s much to be learned by simply observing and listening instead of always doing the talking. Reach out and ask questions and gather as much information as possible so you can build a rewarding career in law enforcement.

Image Credit: career advice for new police officers by Pixabay

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