Police officers are responsible for keeping communities safe, but there is a lot more to being a police officer than just patrolling the neighborhood or solving crimes. Police officer duties also include a lot of paperwork and community projects. The normal day of a cop is usually scheduled with all types of activities.
Much of a police officers day is spent doing patrol. Cops are given a specific route or area to patrol for several hours at a time. While on patrol, cops keep an eye out for potential crimes, traffic violators, and anything else that may require their attention. Police officer duties during patrol also include getting to know the residents along their patrol route. It is important to know which individuals along the route tend to get into trouble as well as those that don't, and to make sure that people know an officer is watching for any problems that might come up.
Police officer duties also involve dealing with crime. Officers are usually the first on a crime scene, and must secure the scene to preserve evidence and take pictures to provide a visual record of how the scene was set up. They need to know how to bag and label evidence, develop a scenario of what and when the crime happened, and then come up with a list of suspects. Officers need to be able to narrow down this list until they find the person, or persons, responsible. Solving crimes also requires police officers to interview suspects, witnesses, and anyone else who may have information about the crime.
The duty that police officers spend most of their time on is paperwork. From the time they clock in until the time they clock out at the end of their shift, about half of a police officer's day is spent filling out forms, writing reports, and updating their logs. This is one of the police officer duties that many people may not be as aware of, but it is one of the most important duties that a police officer has. Keeping a detailed record helps to keep police departments running smoothly.
Community work is another part of being a police officer. Police officers are involved in community education, working with students, community watch programs, and with other groups, giving presentations, answering questions, and providing advice and council. Officers also listen to, record, and try to resolve complaints against the police department and other officers. Other police officer duties include testifying in court, presenting evidence, reports taken, and explaining any technical aspects of the crime to jurors and the judge.
There are many different aspects to the career of a police officer. Many of these police officer duties are not done every day. A police officer may spend several days doing patrol, and then spend a day doing community outreach or testifying in court. Police officers may also work in the local jail or doing desk work, such as answering phones and talking to community members who drop in with a problem. Other days may be spent attending training programs. The varied duties of a police officer mean that no two days are ever exactly the same.