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What is a Police Patrol Officer?

Police Patrol Officer Definition Patrol assigned area to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, control crowds, prevent crime, and arrest violators.

Life As a Police Patrol Officer: What Do They Do?

  • Identify, pursue, and arrest suspects and perpetrators of criminal acts.
  • Investigate traffic accidents and other accidents to determine causes and to determine if a crime has been committed.
  • Issue citations or warnings to violators of motor vehicle ordinances.
  • Evaluate complaint and emergency-request information to determine response requirements.
  • Monitor traffic to ensure motorists observe traffic regulations and exhibit safe driving procedures.
  • Provide road information to assist motorists.

Police Patrol Officer Needed Skills

Police Patrol Officers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

  • Police Inspector
  • Campus Police Officer
  • Mounted Police
  • Harbor Patrol Police
  • City Marshal

What Kind of Police Patrol Officer Job Opportunities Are There?

In the United States, there were 684,200 jobs for Police Patrol Officer in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 47,700 new jobs for Police Patrol Officer by 2026. The BLS estimates 49,500 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Police Patrol Officers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Police Patrol Officer are Utah, Texas, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in New Jersey, Maryland, or Alaska. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Police Patrol Officer Average Salary

The average yearly salary of a Police Patrol Officer ranges between $35,750 and $101,620.

Salary Ranges for Police Patrol Officers

Police Patrol Officers who work in California, New Jersey, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Police Patrol Officers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $45,930
Alaska $88,030
Arizona $64,640
Arkansas $39,560
California $101,380
Colorado $72,950
Connecticut $71,920
Delaware $70,000
District of Columbia $74,940
Florida $59,610
Georgia $42,990
Hawaii $74,040
Idaho $53,880
Illinois $75,720
Indiana $55,310
Iowa $58,340
Kansas $48,350
Kentucky $45,600
Louisiana $41,550
Maine $49,840
Maryland $68,230
Massachusetts $69,870
Michigan $56,270
Minnesota $69,060
Mississippi $35,550
Missouri $48,920
Montana $56,230
Nebraska $57,530
Nevada $70,450
New Hampshire $58,120
New Jersey $83,720
New Mexico $51,250
New York $74,860
North Carolina $48,420
North Dakota $57,190
Ohio $61,040
Oklahoma $46,120
Oregon $70,360
Pennsylvania $66,600
Rhode Island $60,890
South Carolina $42,280
South Dakota $48,550
Tennessee $44,600
Texas $61,870
Utah $53,890
Vermont $52,940
Virginia $56,710
Washington $77,670
West Virginia $43,590
Wisconsin $62,040
Wyoming $55,050

What Tools do Police Patrol Officers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Police Patrol Officers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • SmugMug Flickr
  • ESRI ArcView
  • Corel WordPerfect Office Suite
  • IBM Lotus 1-2-3
  • National Crime Information Center NCIC database
  • Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS
  • Law enforcement information databases
  • National Integrated Ballistics Information Network NIBIN
  • The CAD Zone The Crime Zone
  • SmartDraw Legal
  • DesignWare 3D EyeWitness

Becoming a Police Patrol Officer

Learn what Police Patrol Officer education requirements there are.

Police Patrol Officer Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Police Patrol Officer?

Police Patrol Officer Work Experience

Where Police Patrol Officers Work

Police Patrol Officer Sectors

Police Patrol Officers work in the following industries:

Police Patrol Officer Industries

Career changers with experience as a Police Patrol Officer sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


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