Responsibilities of police officers include investigating crimes such as break-ins, filing reports, making arrests, patrolling an assigned area, directing traffic, responding to 911 calls, providing first aid and settling disputes between citizens. Officers working for a state sometimes assist smaller, local departments.
Some officers specialize within certain areas of law enforcement, such as identifying fingerprints. All law enforcement officers are expected to protect property, enforce the law and help maintain order.
Officers are expected to respect the rights of all citizens equally. They must be aware of potential danger at all times and must keep a level head in dangerous situations. Police officers are often required to work changing shifts including nights, weekends and holidays.
Police jobs are projected to grow by 10 percent between 2008 and 2018. More officers usually are needed as local populations grow. Salary and job prospects vary by location and crime rates.
The concept of a domestic force of law enforcement officers charged with keeping order came into popular use in the late 18th century. At that time, much police work was dedicated to maintaining the societal class system and protecting private property. Police forces around the world are typically paid with taxpayer money. International names for police troops include constabulary, protective services and civil guard.