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Police Patrol Officer

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Post-secondary training +

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What They Do

Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers Career Video

About This Career

Maintains order and protects life and property by enforcing local, tribal, state, or federal laws and ordinances. Performs a combination of the following duties: patrols a specific area; directs traffic; issues traffic summonses; investigates accidents; apprehends and arrests suspects, or serves legal processes of courts. Includes police officers working at educational institutions.

This career is part of the Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security cluster Law Enforcement Services pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Identifies, pursues, and arrests suspects and perpetrators of criminal acts.
  • Provides for public safety by maintaining order, responding to emergencies, protecting people and property, enforcing motor vehicle and criminal laws, and promoting good community relations.
  • Records facts to prepare reports that document incidents and activities.
  • Renders aid to accident victims and other persons requiring first aid for physical injuries.
  • Reviews facts of incidents to determine if criminal act or statute violations were involved.
  • Investigates illegal or suspicious activities.
  • Monitors, notes, reports, and investigates suspicious persons and situations, safety hazards, and unusual or illegal activity in patrol area.
  • Testifies in court to present evidence or act as witness in traffic and criminal cases.
  • Monitors traffic to ensure motorists observe traffic regulations and exhibit safe driving procedures.
  • Relays complaint and emergency-request information to appropriate agency dispatchers.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Using muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring
  • Short periods of running, jumping, or throwing
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overtime work
  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Patrol Deputy
  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Patrol Officer
  • Peace Officer
  • Police Officer — Patrols assigned beat on foot, on motorcycle, in patrol car, or on horseback to control traffic, prevent crime or disturbance of peace, and arrest violators.
  • Public Safety Officer
  • State Trooper
  • Deputy — Maintains law and order and serves legal processes of courts.
  • Deputy Sheriff — Responsible for enforcing the law on a county level, and on a city level where there are no city police, and providing security for the county court.


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733