More than perhaps any other line of work, law enforcement suffers a pretty distorted depiction in the media. Big question is what is the role of police in today’s society, Here are a few misconceptions that people often have about this career and why you should put them out of your mind!
You have to be an angel to be a police officer
Many people believe that even a single indiscretion in their past can ruin their chances of ever being a police officer. And, for sure, there is a popular narrative spun by police departments that the people they hire are flawless. But don’t believe that your police department will only consider you if you’ve been an absolute saint with no misbehavior in your past. That time you tried pot in college? It’s not going to kill your chances of become a police officer, even if you tell them about it. That time you were fined for going a little over the speed limit? That’s not going to ruin you, either.
Remember: there is a sort of hierarchy of criminal acts. There are misdemeanors and then there are felonies. Misdemeanors are unlike to prevent you from becoming an officer. But if you have a felony crime on your record, then you likely won’t be able to get the position. Felony crimes are much more serious. They include burglary, tax evasion, fraud and threatening a public official. They do, of course, also include assault, drug dealing and murder. But I’m sure you already guessed that those had ruined your prospective career!
It requires frequent violence
Make no mistake: it can be a dangerous job. American officers have to be armed with a handgun. There are plenty of good reasons why. There’s also other forms of protection such as pepper spray and ASP batons that will help keep you safe. But the frequency with which you’ll have to use these items isn’t as high as you might think.
Obviously, police dramas on TV and in film need some action and excitement. But remember that news channels and websites also need violence and excitement in order to get people watching or clicking. This is why instances of violence in a police career receive a lot of attention in the media. Now don’t get me wrong; there are certainly many cases that go unreported, either committed against police or by police. But your average day as a police officer won’t require violence. If physical contact is required, it’s usually just mild subduing. Remember: most people are way too afraid to hit a police officer!
There’s little chance to do much good
Popular images of police work usually convey a lot of doom and gloom. People see a career that is filled with corruption and misconduct. The news stories about police officers are largely negative, with reports of police brutality rife in the media. While it is important that such instances are brought to public attention, it can create an inaccurate image.
The everyday good-natured acts of police officers often go unnoticed. Of course, if you’re a genuinely caring officer, then you won’t care too much about that. But if you’re put off of this position because you think you’ll be entering a world where you won’t be able to fix anything, think again. There are plenty of examples of officers doing good in their community that may help change your mind.
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