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by Contributor

Photo: AliciaZinn at Pixabay

(Dec. 6, 2019) — Working as a police officer can be a very rewarding career path to take. Not only is it a great way to give back to the community, but many find it to be a noble profession.

If you enjoy what you do, but feel stuck in your current position, then learn what you can about what it takes to have a successful career in law enforcement so you can move up the ladder to even bigger and better achievements. If you put the following ideas into practice, it won’t be long before you’re on your way to getting recognized and promoted in the workplace.

Obtain a Higher Education

If you want to have a successful career in law enforcement, it’s imperative to have an eagerness to learn and improve your skills. One idea is to attend police college and earn a higher level degree that will help you develop your leadership skills. This way you can go on to apply for positions that will require more responsibility and knowledge such as Chief of Police or Staff Superintendent. Choosing to have a post-secondary education may even open up doors for you to move between police organizations or to a career in consulting as well.

Get into Better Physical Shape

It’s important to be in good physical condition if you want to have a successful policing career. Your job will require you to be quick and agile at times and it is important to be able to keep up when you’re out and about in the field. Therefore you should commit to working out on a regular basis and combine cardio workouts with a weightlifting routine. You’ll not only want to have good endurance built up, but it’s essential to also have strong muscles so that you’re able to get around easily and overcome any physical obstacles you may face on the job. If you take care of yourself mentally and physically, you can perform to the best of your ability while working on the force.

Follow Protocol

It’s also in your best interest to follow protocol and obey the rules of the position. Remain ethical in your practices and be honest in your dealings with others. Take the concepts you learned in your police training and apply them correctly when tackling your daily job responsibilities. Remember that someone’s always watching or listening, so keep in mind that your actions and decision-making skills are constantly being judged and critiqued by others. If you value integrity and a solid work ethic, you’ll most likely enjoy a very fulfilling and gratifying career in law enforcement.

Learn How to Negotiate

You’re going to be working with a variety of different people and personalities in policing. Therefore, it’s crucial you learn how to negotiate and speak to others so you can get your point across and achieve your desired outcome. You may be able to avoid making a situation worse or creating a negative result if you learn how to be flexible and adapt to the circumstances and people you’re dealing with.

Not only do you need to learn how to negotiate with those who break the law, but with your boss as well. For example, if you want a raise or a promotion then you will need to let your superiors know and talk to them about why you deserve it and why you are the best person for the job.

Have Emotional Intelligence

You can experience a more successful career in law enforcement when you have emotional intelligence. This means being able to control your feelings and avoid reacting too quickly in the moment. Strive to always be calm and in control no matter what’s going on around you. Do your best to not get caught up in the emotional drama or hype of a situation, and instead see the bigger picture and focus on what you can do to dissolve a heated scenario. The more in control you are, the better you’ll be able to think logically and make good decisions that will put you in the best light possible.

Take Time to Decompress

Police work is tough and can take a toll on your health and well-being if you’re not careful. You’ll have a more successful career in law enforcement when you take time to decompress and relax when you’re not on the clock. Try to find hobbies and activities that you enjoy doing and that will help clear your mind. It’s also a good idea to find healthy ways to manage your stress so that you can come to work each day feeling refreshed and prepared to handle any type of challenge that may arise. Being well-rested and having natural energy so you don’t make silly mistakes or decisions can help prevent things that you might later regret.

Get Involved with Your Community

Ultimately, your role is to protect the community and those who live in it. It’s worth your time and effort to become more involved with your surrounding environment. Get to know people by name, attend neighborhood events and allow others to understand who you are on a personal level. These are great ways to build a rapport and trust with those you’re trying to serve and protect. Have conversations with those who may be skeptical of police officers and try your best to put them at ease regarding any concerns they have. If you can remain humble instead of coming off as someone who’s aggressive and authoritative, you can better relate to those in your community and build relationships.

Continuously Set Goals

Your policing career will head in the right direction when you step up and take control of your future. Be sure to continuously set goals for what you want to accomplish over the years. It’s best to avoid getting involved in politics at work and instead focus on yourself and what you can be doing to get better at your job. Don’t be afraid to move around and take calculated risks so that you can find the best police force and position for you.

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