Police Officer Careers
Police work primarily involves patrol officers in cities, counties, and in state-level police and highway patrol agencies. Patrol officers respond to criminal complaints, serve court papers, conduct investigations, and become involved in neighborhood watch and other community policing activities. The backbone of every local police agency rests squarely on the officer who patrols the streets to make them as safe as possible. Village and municipal police officers make arrests and give traffic tickets while patrolling, functions that often create apprehension in both law-abiding citizens and violators. To encourage more hospitable relations, police officers are now involved in bridge-building activities between the police department and the community they serve and include everything from manning substations to impromptu basketball games with neighborhood teenagers in the park. Salaries for local law enforcement officers vary widely.
Police Officer Salaries - Smaller towns generally pay from $20,000 and while larger population centers can pay up to $80,000.
Local Sheriff Careers
Criminal justice careers in county sheriff’s offices include deputies, corrections officers and dispatchers.
Federal Law Enforcement Careers
- Deputies serve court papers and patrol to enforce criminal and traffic laws.
- Corrections officers staff county jails.
- Dispatchers receive 911 and other sheriff’s office calls to ensure professional responses by deputies, firemen and medical personnel.
Federal level criminal justice careers involve both domestic law enforcement and overseas intelligence operations designed to ensure the safety of U.S. citizens and concerns around the world. The responsibilities of these agencies vary widely and are now grouped within the Homeland Security Administration. Growth in these agencies is expected to continue.
Federal Law Enforcement Salaries - Those seeking criminal justice careers in the federal agencies can expect salaries to range from $35,000 to $65,000 a year.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Careers
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) operates law within the nation’s borders. The FBI investigates criminal enterprises that extend across state lines, white-collar criminal activity, and domestic terrorism.
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) focuses on investigations outside of the continental U.S. The CIA is involved in intelligence gathering and interpreting, covert actions in other countries, and counter terrorism activities across the globe.
Border Patrol Careers
The Border Patrol secures the nation’s borders and investigates the violation of illegal immigration. Thousands of aliens who have entered the country illegally are turned back at the border or seized in the interior of the country to be deported every year.
There are excellent opportunities in criminal justice careers for state and federal corrections officers. Corrections officers are the hands-on people who interact daily with prison inmates, maintain control, and assist in rehabilitation efforts.
Border Patrol Salaries - Salaries average from $35,000 to $50,000 dollars.
Criminal justice careers also encompass the probation and parole functions of the courts. Probation officers monitor convicted misdemeanor and felony-level violators. Parole officers monitor felons who have been released from prison. Salaries are similar to state and federal law enforcement positions.