Police officers are law enforcement officers in positions of authority. Because of this, there are a number of myths surrounding the profession and its practices. While certain historic events, such as the controversial case in Ferguson, Missouri, have put the profession in a difficult light, police officers remain a vital aspect to civilian and community safety. If you’re thinking of becoming a police officer, don’t reconsider just because of politics. However, there are other myths associated with what it takes to become a police office. Luckily, we’ve got the truth about these myths to help you out.
Myth #1: Women are too Emotional to Be Police Officers
The common saying that women aren’t tough enough to be police officers is rooted in sexist ideology that claims women’s only place should be in the home. In reality, the idea that women are more emotional than men is based more on stereotyping and socialization than biology. Women are just as great at law enforcement as their male counterparts, and there are no policies in place against women in the workplace.
Additionally, whether you’re male or female, having emotional reactions isn’t a bad thing. In the law enforcement industry, it is, of course, important to maintain a sense of calmness in emergency situations. However, anyone can learn how to keep their cool on the job. Having emotions does not mean that you are unfit for a profession; empathy is the main personal attribute you need to have a successful career helping people and communities.
Myth #2: You Have to be Perfect to be a Police Officer
In order to be a police officer, you do have to be at least 21 years of age, have a high school diploma, pass a background check and psychological investigation, complete proper training, pass a drug test, and have no prior convictions. While there are substantial requirements, you don’t have to be in mint physical condition (although that’s a plus!) or have extensive education.
Myth #3: Police Officers Hold One of the Most Dangerous Jobs
While police officers are put in high-risk situations quite often, they are also highly trained and equipped with teams, partners, and protective gear. In reality, the law enforcement field is actually less dangerous than other, less obvious occupations because the potential for something happening is less severe than health risks of other fields. For instance, loggers and farmers are two occupations who have much higher health risks than police officers.
Myth #4: You Must Have a Background in Self-Defense and Constitutional Laws Before Applying to be a Cop
Actually, the basic requirements for being a cop are simply reaching age 21, having a high school diploma, and passing background checks and other tests. While background knowledge will certainly not hinder your chances, it’s not required. Police cadets go through extensive training before they are able to work as a full-fledged officer.