It is not easy to become a good policeman in the USA nowadays. To become a real professional one must work hard and come through many tests, exercises and trainings such as firearm and physical training, fitness and drive tests, and of course, in class instructions. The last include studying many disciplines including law, communications and psychology (Palmiotto, 48).
Some trainings and instructions vary from state to state, but there are basic requirements that are common for all recruits. First of all, the minimum age for all recruits should be 18- 20 years old and all of them have to be physically ready for workload they are going to go through. Moreover, they need a school diploma to meet minimum requirements. If a recruit have a desire to work on a federal or state level, he needs to be aware of the fact that usually college degree is required and competition is much bigger (Torres, 124).
The way policeman department perform depend on many different factors, such as personal characteristics and desire to work, but training is the most important one:
Most states require preservice training for all recruits. This is often a formal course at a police academy, but in some states candidates for police jobs must complete a basic training program, at their own expense, before being considered for employment. Large departments generally run their own programs, while state police academies may train their own officers as well as recruits from municipal units (Cole, 186).
It is obvious that each graduate has to be very developed in all spheres: social, physical, communicative. Every policeman faces different problems in his everyday practice, and studying all the necessary disciplines will help him to become a real professional. Policeman is a many- sided profession: as it is kind of job where constant interactions with people required, every police academy graduate should be a good psychologist and should have great communicative skills (Rafilson, 439).
Also, an officer should be trained to control his emotions: “A police officer’s emotional and physiological states are likely far different when arresting a compliant individual then when apprehending an individual after a lengthy foot pursuit or high speed vehicle chase” (Glenn, 68). That is why every policeman should be able to cope with his state of mind and know what to do if he has any problems with self- control: “the police officer’s job also demands social skills that cannot be learned from a lecture or a book” (Cole, 187). That is why recruiter’s personal characteristics are very important for this job and should be evaluated by the candidate before he decides to connect his life with this profession.
It is also very important for every officer to understand what his responsibilities are and what restrictions exist. One must know all aspects of interpersonal interaction and team work because there are situations occur, when officer overreact and has to delegate his commissions to another team member (Glenn, 68- 72).
Field training is also very important part of future policeman’s studies. “San Jose model for field training officers (the “FTO Program”) has for the past two decades been widely accepted by the law enforcement community as an example for the effective training of new officers” (Glenn, 214). There should be a certain amount of time before recruits will understand all their duties and will be able to perform them. According to FTO Program, all policemen should be able to distinguish whether there is an emergency situation or not. He should also be good in such areas as patrol and investigations (Klockars, 176).
It is imperative for all policemen to be physically ready for their new career paths. There is no doubt that this work is sometimes dangerous and every officer needs to be ready to cope with situations where acts of force are necessary. (Gaines, 195- 198). The certain amount of physical activity varies from department to department, but in general all recruits should be excellent runners and swimmers, should be able to defend themselves and to perform different physical exercises such as push- ups and sit- ups better than an average person.
One of the officer’s responsibilities is to be good with firearm. That is why firearm training exists. As policeman profession is very dangerous and there are situations occur when policeman face with armed criminals, he should be able to know about firearms better than his opponent (Kratcoski, 10- 13).
As it was said earlier, laws and regulations vary in different states of the USA. For example here is how trainings are organized in Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD):
The training division has primary responsibility for recruit training. The commanding officer (CO) fills a captain- level position and in turn has responsibility for three subordinate groups: The Davis training facility section, the recruit training section, and the administrative training section. Each of these groups has several functional training units. For example, the recruit training section includes academic instructions, physical fitness/self- defense, Spanish, legal and human relations units (Glenn, 66).
It is clear that to become a real certified policeman one must come through many difficulties. Moreover, it is important to realize whether this profession is exactly what you need or not. Only ambitious, physically and mentally strong people are able to cope with their responsibilities (Hess, 161).
Cole, George, and Christopher Smith. The American System of Criminal Justice. Stamford: Cengage Learning, 2006. Print.
Gaines, Larry, and Roger LeRoy Miller. Criminal Justice in Action. Stamford: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.
Glenn, Russel. Training the 21st century police officer: redefining police professionalism for the Los Angeles Police. Los Angeles: Rand Corporation, 2003. Print.
Hess, Karen, and Christine Hess Orthmann. Introduction to Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice. Stamford: Publisher Cengage Learning. 2008. Printed.
Klockars, Carl, and Sanja Kutnjak Ivković. Enhancing police integrity. Berlin: Springer, 2008. Print.
Kratcoski, Peter, and Dilip K. Das. International Police Executive Symposia. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2007. Print.
Palmiotto, Michael, and Alison McKenney Brown. McGraw-Hill’s Police Officer Exams. NYC: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2007. Print.
Rafilson, Fred, and Therese de Angelis. Master the Police Officer Exam. Princeton, NJ: PublisherPeterson’s, 2008. Print.
Torres, Donald. Handbook of federal police and investigative agencies. Glenwood: Greenwood Publishing Group. 1985. Print.