Want to know 10 effective ways to be a better police officer? Then make sure to bookmark this guide.
It doesn’t matter what profession you’re in; everyone wants to improve. From teachers to nurses, people continuously push themselves to do better – it’s a natural part of the human psyche.
However, out of all the professions, police officers have the highest standards to reach. Every day, their job is to protect the public, which means they need to continuously improve and perform to the best of their abilities. If you’re a police officer, you’ll know all about this.
Thankfully, there are many ways to improve and turn yourself into a better police officer – and this guide is here to tell you all about them.
Plus, even if you aren’t a police officer (but are planning on training to be one in the future), you’ll find this guide to be really useful.
Get a BA in Policing
Right now, a lot of established police officers are returning to education to get a BA in policing.
The reason for this is simple: to improve their understanding of the profession.
By studying policing, you will develop your knowledge as well as your existing skills. This is great, as it means you will be in a much stronger position to progress up your police department’s career ladder.
Remember, you’re never too old to get an education. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in the police force for 20 years, now is the perfect time to get a degree.
Maintain Your Fitness When You’re Off-Duty
Being a police officer is a physically challenging job. In fact, it’s one of a handful of professions that actually requires you to be in good physical shape. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to protect the public to a high standard – it’s a fact!
During day-to-day operations, you might have to chase somebody who’s robbed a store; or run after a hit-and-run suspect who’s crashed their car in the middle of the freeway. The only way you will be able to do this successfully is by being in good physical condition.
Therefore, it’s essential that you maintain your fitness even when you’re off-duty. Here are some quick tips on how to do this:
- Go for a couple of runs every week (2-5 miles is a good length)
- Do push-ups and sit-ups everyday
- Avoid indulging in sugary and fatty foods
- Go to the gym
- Drink plenty of water
Doing all of the above, coupled with your on-duty work, should keep you in top physical condition!
Improve Your Verbal and Written Communication
Being a police officer isn’t all about being physical – verbal and written communication is also extremely important.
During your time as a police officer, you’ll be communicating with members of the public, diffusing tense situations, and even interviewing suspects. Therefore, your verbal and written communication standards need to be high.
The better they are, the more chance you will have of getting promotions. If you’re someone with ambition, it’s important to bear this in mind!
Focus on Your Mental Strength
The harsh reality of being a police officer is that you might sometimes see or hear certain things that cause you stress and anxiety. For example, you might attend a crime scene with some gruesome imagery. However, as disturbing as this might be, it’s your responsibility to stay strong mentally. This way, the general public can rely on you, as well as your fellow officers.
So, to give your mental health a boost, make sure to not overwork yourself and also have plenty of downtime when you’re off-duty. After all, recharging your batteries is key in any profession: especially in policing.
Develop Your Media Skills
Sometimes, when a big crime or event happens, the media might want to speak to you or your department. This is why it’s a good idea to brush up on your media skills so that you can conduct yourself professionally in the public eye, whether you’re talking to a news broadcaster or doing an interview with your local paper.
Ideally, if you have officers above you who have significant experience talking to the media, you should get further advice from them.
Attend Training Courses and Events
Sometimes, there might be police training courses and open day events in your local area where officers gather together to listen to fellow professionals talk and give advice. When possible, you should attend these events if you want to better your skills and knowledge. Plus, it’s also a great opportunity to network with other departments and officers.
Maintain a Good Relationship with Fellow Officers
Speaking of officers, make sure to maintain a good relationship with your co-workers.
Every day, you must have each other’s backs, as you never know when you might be in a life-threatening situation.
Familiarize Yourself with Your Community and Its Residents
If you regularly patrol an area, it’s a smart idea to familiarize yourself with the community and its individual residents. Doing this will enable you to build a positive relationship with the people who look up to you – plus, you’ll also gain a good reputation. Even if it’s just a friendly wave of your hand when passing by, people will really appreciate your efforts.
Attend Community Events
If events are taking place in your community, such as fundraisers, you should try to attend them when you’re on duty. This will make your community feel more together and will let residents know that you care for them.
Always Avoid Biases
One of the biggest criticisms that police officers face is that they are often biased. In fact, over recent years, this has been a very hot topic in America.
Sadly, bias is quite common in the police force, which is why you should never allow it to interfere with your day-to-day operations. If it does, you’ll be doing a disservice to the public.
Remember, always stay focused on the task at hand.