Police Career Description

A career in maintaining peace and order under government mandate at the county, city or municipal level is centered on the police.  They are also known as law enforcers which cover a wider career field that includes law enforcement at the federated and national levels such as the FBI.  There’s also the military police or MPs who was enlisted men empowered to enforce the law within the military jurisdiction.

Uniformed and Plain Clothes Police

In any US city, there are basically two main divisions in a police force.  These are the preventive or uniformed police and the plain clothes detective police.

  • Preventive Police belong in what is called the Uniform Branch or Division.  The are “Rookies”, Administrative Police, Order Police, or Patrol police who are tasked to respond to emergencies and incidents that disrupt peace and order to “prevent” them for escalating.
  • Preventive Police is tasked with routine functions that require immediate recognition as officer’s of the law with specific duties such as traffic law enforcement, stopping motorists and active crime response and prevention.
  • Detective or plain clothes police are tasked with investigative work while some special unit police are assigned as undercover police so they don’t wear the uniform.
  • In contrast to preventive police, detective police work after the crime has been committed and are tasked to gather evidence to initiate an arrest and criminal filing in court.

Education and Training

The minimum educational requirement ranges from a high school diploma to 2 years of college course work. A few states have specific requirements, but in general, one enters an accredited or state-run police academy before being released as a rookie police on the streets.


There’s always a high demand for police and detectives especially in commercial and growing metropolis.  Average salary range for police and detectives hovers from $44,000 to $78,000 annually.