Job Title: Detective Sergeant, Police Officer
Type of Company: I work for a police department in suburban Boston.
Education: attended, Northeastern University
Previous Experience: I worked two years for the Federal Government as a police officer.
Job Tasks: As a detective sergeant, I supervise a group of 20 detective patrol persons. Within the unit there are domestic violence and juvenile detectives. All of the detectives are available to investigate other crimes, such as burglary, larceny, homicide and assaults.
My day usually starts with a review of all the reports written by the patrol division the previous night. I determine which reports should be followed-up on or investigated and assign the cases to the detectives. I then attend a meeting with the Chief and the heads of the other divisions of the department: the Department Chief and the Captains of Patrol, Community Services and Administration, where I brief them on important developments from the night before and report on the progress of on-going investigations. After that, I answer phone calls and make myself available to the detectives for advice or guidance.
I also assign myself cases to investigate. I have a Captain and a Lieutenant who review my work and take care of the administration issues of the unit.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is the satisfaction of investigating a case to a successful conclusion. This may mean an arrest is made, stolen property recovered or that no crime was committed at all. It is also nice to know that you helped a person or a family who are victims of a crime.
The worst parts of the job are being on call every day and night in case serious crimes occur. There is a certain amount of frustration when even though you solved a case and made an arrest, the perpetrator is found not guilty in court.
Job Tips: Take courses in criminal law, investigation and sociology. You should have a well-rounded education. As a police officer you must know the law, obviously, but you must know how to interact with a wide range of the community also. Most police employment exam questions require common sense answers.
Some jobs to consider that help prepare you are campus police officer, auxiliary police officer, police officer cadet (some departments have them). Cadets answer phones, take complaints and write reports.
Another thing to keep in mind is when interviewing for the job, try not to say "I'm a people person, I want to help people". Think about why you really want the job and admit it: good pay, steady work, good pension. Be confident and sell yourself.
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