The Career of Police Officers

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Young boys living in New York City often dream of becoming a fireman or a policeman when they grow up. In the case of the proponent of this study, there is no other option but to become a police officer. In order to become a part of the much-vaunted New York’s Finest, there is a need to go through a laborious process of selection and training. Hard and perseverance are needed so that one can proudly wear the NYPD shield, a badge signifying that the one carrying it is ready and able to serve and protect. The career of a Police Officer can be rewarding in both financial and emotional aspects. Yet, when choosing this career, one must prepare for an exciting yet treacherous occupation.

NYPD’s Finest

The feeling can be likened to what NYPD firemen must have felt when they were celebrated as heroes after 9/11. It was just a great feeling to know that one was able to serve and the knowledge that one’s contribution mattered in the lives of so many people. It can be said that in this life one must look for a career that is both financially rewarding same time emotionally satisfying. There are so many jobs out there. There is a path that leads to money and there is also the twisted path that leads to notoriety and fame. But there is one job offer that promises not only financial security but also fulfillment – for a man this is an offer that is difficult to refuse.

The path to a career in law enforcement should never be treated with lightheartedness and one must not take it for granted. Applicants beware and make no mistake; this will be an uphill battle beginning from day one of the recruitment process. There will be a battery of tests both mental and physical. It can even be argued that passing the preliminary test is just the beginning of a long torturous road to officer school. Yet at the same time, one must remember the immortal words – no pain, no gain. A woman will endure the pain of childbirth knowing that at the end of the ordeal there is joy inexplicable. To be accepted in the ranks of New York’s finest will be a dream come true.

One of the most appealing aspects of the job as a New York City Police Officer is the fact that men in blue will have the chance to work in one of the most important cities in the world. A Police Officer in this city will be able to meet with ordinary people as well as men and women of rank and power. Furthermore, an NYPD officer can also indirectly contribute to the well-being of this country and the planet as a whole by serving and protecting the movers and shakers, the high-profile businessmen and policymakers who walk the streets of New York.

It would also be fun and exciting to become a part of a system and a brotherhood that, “…leads the nation with the most dramatic crime reductions in our time” (NYPD, 2009). There is also a lot of things that one can learn from being a part of the largest Police Department in the United States. It is also significant that the NYPD is perceived as the nation’s leader in law enforcement practices (NYPD, 2009). This can mean that there will never be a dull moment in the life of an NYPD Police Officer.

It is a well-known fact that New York City used to be one of the most dangerous cities in America. But today the same description could not be leveled against the city. Starting in the mid-1990s the NYPD made great strides in reducing the crime rate. The chief of police decided that the best way to tackle the problem is to decentralize the NYPD, send more policemen into the streets and conduct a block-by-block crime analysis of the city (Duffy, Michael & Massimo Calabresi, 2005).


Before going any further it is important to know the requirements needed to even consider a career in law enforcement and especially with the NYPD blue. Visiting their website, specifically the part dealing with recruitment will reveal that a candidate must have 60 college credits with at least a 2.0 GPA from universities or colleges accredited by the following agencies: 1) U.S. Department of Education; 2) Council for Higher Education Accreditation; and 3) Distance Education and Training Council (NYPD Recruit, par. 2).

For those who believe that it is their calling to be a New York Police Officer and yet could not even satisfy this basic requirement, there is no need to despair. There are alternative routes to a college degree in the 21st century. According to Kathleen Green, it is not too late to earn that much sought-after college degree, and age must not be a factor. She suggested four ways to earn a degree and for an aspiring New York Police Officer targeting at least 60 units of college the following method of earning nontraditional education credits can be helpful and these are listed as follows: 1) Passing standardized exams; 2) Demonstrating knowledge gained through experience; 3) Completing campus-based coursework; and 4) Taking courses off-campus (Green, par. 4).

This explains why the NYPD accepts college credits from institutions accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (NYPD Recruit, 2009). If the interested party does not have the resources or the opportunity to study in a university or college there is still a way to get accepted as a viable candidate for officer training. The exception to the 60 college-credit rule is if the applicant has completed two years of active military service. It is easy to understand why this is the case. Surely a person who has gone to a combat zone or who was deployed overseas has the training and background to survive in the streets of New York.

Salary and Benefits

Aside from the promise of excitement and learning in this kind of work environment, there is also a practical side to why many are attracted to this profession. In the case of the NYPD, the Police Officers approved a contract that gives them a 17% increase raise over four years (NYPD, 2009). Under the said contract an NYPD Police Officer will have a starting base salary of $40,361 and this amount will increase to $41,975 this coming August 2009. This does not include overtime pay. If one will include holiday pay, uniform allowance, and average night differential a first-year Police Officer can earn as much as $46,228 before overtime.

Besides the remuneration, other benefits can encourage an adventurous and determined individual to consider a career in law enforcement, especially when that person resides in New York. The following is just an overview of the additional benefits. First of all, a rookie is entitled to ten paid vacation days. But this will increase so that after five years of service he is entitled to 27 paid vacation days. Most jobs only offer two weeks of paid vacation. It does not matter if the employee has racked up five years of dedicated service in the said company that is the maximum time that he or she can use to take a break. But for the NYPD, dedication, and loyalty are rewarded amply with time off with family and friends.

Police work is more difficult and more dangerous than a desk job in a company that manufactures clothing for instance. NYPD Police Officers are oftentimes dispatched to scenes of domestic disputes and in places where people are consuming illegal drugs. So there are times when Police Officers get hurt and suffer injuries that are as minor as a broken finger to something more serious like a gunshot wound. Yet even if Police Officers can get out of a situation unharmed, since they come in contact with different people it is possible that they can contract communicable diseases such as influenza and other airborne pathogens. It is therefore comforting to know that officers of the NYPD are entitled to unlimited sick leave with full pay.

Health is critical for people who work in this profession. Police Officer should be fit and healthy to perform their duties. It is therefore of great significance that they can choose among a variety of paid medical programs and at the same time they have dental and eyeglass coverage (NYPD, par. 2). The New York City Police Department is also mindful about officers who are retiring from the force and so the 401K, I.R.A., and annual $12,000 Variable Supplement fund will inspire New York City’s Finest to give their best every time they wear their uniform.

A Dangerous Job

Last year a man rammed a stolen vehicle into a Ford Explorer carrying three NYPD officers. This prompted Queens district attorney Richard Brown to say that, “This case underscores yet again the dangers faced by New York City Police Officers … There is nothing routine or predictable about a traffic stop … every stop has the potential for danger” (North Country Gazette, par. 4). Two years ago two city detectives Daniel Rivera, 41, and William Gonzales, 42 were injured in a Bronx shooting (Lueck, par. 4). Detective Rivera sustained a graze wound in the forehead while Detective Gonzales took a shot to his knee (Lueck, par. 4). This is an exciting job, good pay, and many promotional opportunities but it is also dangerous. Not everyone is cut out for this kind of work.


It is indeed great to be a Police Officer. Aside from the salary and other perks that come with the job, there are also intangible benefits. This stems from the fact that the NYPD is considered one of the best in the country. Since the NYPD is leading the way in crime prevention and criminal investigation, if they choose to retire and work in related fields they can become consultants or security experts. It is desirable to be an NYPD Police Officer but there are risks involved. One has to carefully analyze the pros and cons of the job. But overall there is no better time to be a Police Officer than in the 21st century; there is also a no better place to work than in New York City’s Police Department.

Works Cited

  1. Duffy, Michael & Massimo Calabresi. “The NYPD Chief Who Did His Job Too Well.”
  2. Green, Kathleen. “Nontraditional Education: Alternative Ways to Earn Your Credentials.”
  3. Lueck, Thomas. “Two Detectives Are Injured in Bronx Shooting.” Web.
  4. North Country Gazette. “Man Charged With Injuring NYPD Officers.”
  5. NYPD. “New York’s Finest.” 2009.
  6. NYPD Recruit (2009). “Inside the NYPD.” 2009.

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ChalkyPapers. "The Career of Police Officers." March 13, 2022.