Making a difference: Police work offers a rewarding career opportunity

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement careers offer opportunity and rewards for service-minded individuals. Get started with Jackson College.

Law enforcement officers – police and detectives — perform a variety of services to protect the public, maintain order and investigate crime. They perform patrols, issue citations, manage traffic, transport incarcerated individuals, appear as needed in court and more. Officers are sworn to protect and serve those who cannot protect themselves.

While the role of police officers has been in the news lately, the need for well-trained officers with respect, understanding and ethics is paramount. Diversity is sought by most agencies to reflect the communities they police.

“You definitely need to have compassion and respect for others,” said Mary Jo Kennedy, criminal justice coordinator who was a police officer for 30 years. “You need to be a people person who empathizes but maintains order. You are working with people all the time, working with diverse populations and becoming mentors for future officers. You will be communicating with people of all backgrounds and levels of economic status. ” The education and training will ready you for a rewarding career knowing you made a difference.

Associate Degree, Transfer Options

Many options are available in the law enforcement field, but officers first need to work their way up. Both police and corrections are 24-hour-a-day operations, and new personnel often will have to work an afternoon, evening or weekend shift until they build up some years of experience. Writing skills are important because of the volume of reports that are necessary.

Jackson College offers associate degree and certificate options in both law enforcement and corrections. Police officers must also complete academy training prior to employment in Michigan. Employment is expected to increase 5-7 percent in coming years, with salaries ranging from about $36,000 to $80,000 for police and detectives.