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Police Patrol Officer

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What Do Police Patrol Officer Do?

Job Description & Duties Patrol assigned area to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, control crowds, prevent crime, and arrest violators.

Police Patrol Officer Responsibilities

  • Inform citizens of community services and recommend options to facilitate longer-term problem resolution.
  • Review facts of incidents to determine if criminal act or statute violations were involved.
  • Testify in court to present evidence or act as witness in traffic and criminal cases.
  • Process prisoners, and prepare and maintain records of prisoner bookings and prisoner status during booking and pre-trial process.
  • Evaluate complaint and emergency-request information to determine response requirements.
  • Photograph or draw diagrams of crime or accident scenes and interview principals and eyewitnesses.

Skills Needed to be a Police Patrol Officer

Police Patrol Officers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Types of Police Patrol Officer

  • Constable
  • Patrol Driver
  • Public Safety Officer
  • Police Patrol Officer
  • Police Cadet

Job Opportunities for Police Patrol Officers

In the United States, there were 684,200 jobs for Police Patrol Officer in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 47,700 new jobs for Police Patrol Officer by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 49,500 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Police Patrol Officer are Utah, Texas, and Nevada. Watch out if you plan on working in New Jersey, Maryland, or Alaska. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Police Patrol Officer Salary

The typical yearly salary for Police Patrol Officers is somewhere between $35,750 and $101,620.


Police Patrol Officers who work in California, New Jersey, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Police Patrol Officers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $45,930
Alaska $88,030
Arizona $64,640
Arkansas $39,560
California $101,380
Colorado $72,950
Connecticut $71,920
Delaware $70,000
District of Columbia $74,940
Florida $59,610
Georgia $42,990
Hawaii $74,040
Idaho $53,880
Illinois $75,720
Indiana $55,310
Iowa $58,340
Kansas $48,350
Kentucky $45,600
Louisiana $41,550
Maine $49,840
Maryland $68,230
Massachusetts $69,870
Michigan $56,270
Minnesota $69,060
Mississippi $35,550
Missouri $48,920
Montana $56,230
Nebraska $57,530
Nevada $70,450
New Hampshire $58,120
New Jersey $83,720
New Mexico $51,250
New York $74,860
North Carolina $48,420
North Dakota $57,190
Ohio $61,040
Oklahoma $46,120
Oregon $70,360
Pennsylvania $66,600
Rhode Island $60,890
South Carolina $42,280
South Dakota $48,550
Tennessee $44,600
Texas $61,870
Utah $53,890
Vermont $52,940
Virginia $56,710
Washington $77,670
West Virginia $43,590
Wisconsin $62,040
Wyoming $55,050

What Tools do Police Patrol Officers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Police Patrol Officers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • SmugMug Flickr
  • ESRI ArcView
  • Corel WordPerfect Office Suite
  • IBM Lotus 1-2-3
  • National Crime Information Center NCIC database
  • Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS
  • Law enforcement information databases
  • National Integrated Ballistics Information Network NIBIN
  • The CAD Zone The Crime Zone
  • SmartDraw Legal
  • DesignWare 3D EyeWitness

How do I Become a Police Patrol Officer?

Individuals working as a Police Patrol Officer have obtained the following education levels:


How Long Does it Take to Become a Police Patrol Officer?


Where Police Patrol Officers Work


Below are examples of industries where Police Patrol Officers work:


You May Also Be Interested In…

Those who work as a Police Patrol Officer sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:


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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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