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Police Patrol Officer

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What Do Police Patrol Officer Do?

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?

  • Direct traffic flow and reroute traffic in case of emergencies.
  • Review facts of incidents to determine if criminal act or statute violations were involved.
  • Inspect public establishments to ensure compliance with rules and regulations.
  • Patrol specific area on foot, horseback, or motorized conveyance, responding promptly to calls for assistance.
  • Issue citations or warnings to violators of motor vehicle ordinances.
  • Inform citizens of community services and recommend options to facilitate longer-term problem resolution.

What Every Police Patrol Officer Should Know

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.

  • State Patrol Officer
  • Cop
  • Town Marshal
  • Public Safety Officer
  • Peace Officer

Police Patrol Officer Job Outlook

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 684,200 jobs in the United States for Police Patrol Officer. 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. There will be an estimated 49,500 positions for Police Patrol Officer per year.


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.

Average Police Patrol Officers Salary

The salary for Police Patrol Officers ranges between about $35,750 and $101,620 a year.


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

How much do Police Patrol Officers make in each U.S. state?

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 & Technology 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

How to Become a Police Patrol Officer

Learn what Police Patrol Officer education requirements there are.


How many years of work experience do I need?


Police Patrol Officers Sector


Police Patrol Officers work in the following industries:


Are you already one of the many Police Patrol Officer in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:


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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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