Recently, the police force is under scrutiny because of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Different aspects of the job have been criticized, from the qualifications to the job, per se. But in popular culture, we have this notion of cops upholding their values to protect and serve. We decided to look at the lives of cops. What does the job entail, and how much does a cop make an hour?
Why You Should Still Consider Becoming A Cop
A police officer on duty. Source: unsplash.com
To get one thing straight – in case you’re confused – the term “cop” is slang for the official title of a police officer. We all know that, by definition, they are public servants with a duty to protect the public. But perceptions about the job have shifted considerably in the last few years. Is it still worth it to become one? How much do police officers make an hour?
Based on 2020 data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median pay of a cop is at $67,290 annually or $32.35 per hour. That’s already a good wage, and it can still get higher once a cop is promoted, of course. And from 2019 to 2029, the BLS is projecting a 5% growth in police employment. Although this demand varies considerably depending on each state and the need for public safety, it is still a faster growth than average.
If you’re looking into becoming a cop, it’s looking like it’s still a profitable job with a good outlook, albeit movements crying to abolish and defund the police force. Of course, it won’t be an easy job because police officers’ lives will always be under the radar and on the line to meet the public’s expectations of them.
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Cops, Doughnuts, And Their Duties
A police officer is having his dinner – how much does a cop make an hour. Source: istockphoto.com
A stereotype about police officers is that they lounge around all day in their cars eating doughnuts. This stereotype is something that Hollywood movies have semi-perpetuated, and some of us have also observed to be true. But why are cops associated with doughnuts? And what else do they do besides eat doughnuts?
The simple answer to the first question is because police officers work long hours and sometimes until ungodly hours when most restaurants and fast-food chains are closed. There weren’t many options left for police officers during the 1940s except getting those sweet, round pastries. That was when their love affair with doughnuts started. So, that’s a short history about cops’ relationship with doughnuts. They’re not lazy for eating doughnuts; they are just a cheap, readily available, and very convenient option.
The answer to the next question is quite obvious: cops work long hours, taking on many duties. As we said before, it’s not an easy job. Here are some of the responsibilities of cops:
- Patrol assigned areas of the city for long hours.
- Respond to emergencies and help keep the public safe.
- Do investigation to gather data and evidence to help solve a case.
- Take statements and eyewitness accounts.
- Write reports about the crimes and statements.
- Submit the paperwork related to their assigned case.
- Arrest suspects.
- Give their testimonies in court when they witness a crime.
If you’re looking at this list and think that it’s a physically and mentally consuming job, well, it is. A 2020 study shows police officers are at a very high risk of suffering from depression and PTSD. So, maybe we can let them have their doughnuts and not think of them as lazy.
What You Need To Become A Police Officer
Earlier, we mentioned that the police force is under criticism as a result of recent controversial events. People are questioning the educational qualifications to become a cop. It’s become more questionable, especially since a study by Craig Paterson for the Sheffield Hallam University proves that police with a degree perform better than those without one. They also get lesser disciplinary actions and complaints and can do their jobs with lower levels of force.
A high school diploma or a GED so far is what’s needed. While a college degree isn’t a requirement to become a police officer, it might work out better if you have one, mainly because, besides performing better, higher wages are available for cops with one.
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After meeting the educational requirements, you should also take and pass a law enforcement examination and graduate from the police academy. And since you will most likely work on patrol, you are also expected to have a valid driver’s license. There will also be character assessments, fitness checks, background checks, and a driving history review before finalizing everything; then voila, you’re a police officer.
Other Side Jobs For Cops
Police officers, depending on their record and performance, can be promoted to become detectives and investigators. Besides these positions, here are some side jobs for cops:
- Corrections Officer
- Security Guard
- Parole Officer
- Border Patrol
- Secret Service Agent
- Intelligence Analyst
Are you interested in being an investigator? If yes, then we read our article on the intriguing career of Detectives and salary guide.
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The Future Of The Police Force
The tides are turning for the police and the public – how much does a cop make an hour. Source: pixabay.com
The controversies surrounding the police force have attracted worldwide attention that it’s impossible to ignore anymore. Hopefully, it will prompt some needed changes in the institution. If all these recent events are discouraging you from becoming one, it shouldn’t, mainly because it looks like the tides are turning. If it continues, then the future of this career, as predicted, will still be on track.
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