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Career Opportunities

A person working in the law enforcement field generally serves one of three roles: uniformed officer, investigator/detective, and support staff. Within each role, one can rise to different ranks.

  • Uniformed officers have enforcement duties, including general patrol and responding to calls for service. They may also direct traffic and investigate certain crimes. Many agencies practice "community policing" which involves officers working closely with citizens in the community to solve problems and implement solutions to make communities safer. Examples of uniformed officer jobs includes:
    • Local police officer
    • Deputy sheriff
    • State trooper
    • Border patrol agent
    • Fish and game warden
    • Special jurisdiction officers (e.g., university police, regional transit authority police, etc.)

  • Investigators and detectives investigate crimes, collecting evidence, interviewing suspects and witnesses, and making arrests. They may be involved in task forces that investigate specific types of crimes, such as drug task forces, internet crime task forces, and human trafficking task forces. In most cases, uniformed officers are promoted to the position of investigator/detective. In some cases, such as the FBI, one may be hired directly to work in an investigative division. Examples of investigator and detective jobs include:
    • Criminal investigator
    • Detective
    • Immigration inspector
    • FBI agent
    • US Secret Service special agent
    • Air marshal

  • Support positions in law enforcement involve those who assist with investigations in areas such as evidence collection, data analytics, ballistic testing, and lab testing. They may require peace officer certification, or they may be considered a 'civilian' job within law enforcement. These positions require a specific expertise, and are often filled by a professional or a person who has been promoted through the ranks. Often these professionals can be found in a crime lab or a large law enforcement agency. Examples of support positions include:
    • Criminal analyst
    • Evidence technician
    • Firearms examiner
    • Crime lab technician
    • Handwriting analyst
    • Intelligence analyst
    • Investigative assistant


Source: https://golawenforcement.com/articles/the-ultimate-law-enforcement-career-list-for-2018-with-salaries/