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Becoming a New York City Police Officer
Throughout my life, one job has always stuck out to me as the coolest, and fulfilling job out there. This would be being a New York City Police officer. In 2013, there was an estimated 8,405,837 people living inside of the 5 boroughs of New York City (Department of City Planning City of New York, 2013). The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is home to over 35,000 brave men and women that put their life on the line every day to protect each and every citizen to the best of their abilities. It is my goal to become part of this fraternal family, and proudly protect and serve the citizens of New York City.
I can’t tell you how many times I have had bad run-ins with law enforcement. Many officers are seen to be rude and ostentatious. No matter what city, or town you go to, there always seems to be a big difference between you, the normal citizen, and the police officers that are supposed to “serve” you. I often travel down to the city, and I cannot remember a time where I was not happy to see a police officer. New York City is not the safest place in the world, but these amazing men and women take pride in how they protect and help each and every person. This is what first turned me on to becoming a New York City police officer.
So what exactly does being a New York City police officer include? Well I am here to tell you that on becoming a New York City police officer, you will be placed in one of nearly one hundred precincts. In addition, many police officers become specialists in one of three hundred different units. Some of these units include, K-9, Counter Terrorism, Emergency Services, the Organized Crime Control Bureau, and many more. When you graduate from the academy, you are now what is considered a beat cop. These cops usually walk, or drive, around a certain block radius that becomes known as their beat ("What is a Beat Cop? (with pictures)," 2003). This is a great way of deterring criminals, because many citizens will see that police officers in the area, and hopefully that will deter them. One of the biggest things that the New York City Police Department stresses on is there relationship with the community. Being a beat cop is one of the biggest ways to keep up the relationship between the police department, and the community. This is also known as community policing. As a beat cop, you may be entitled to help out with traffic when it gets busy, help out with the elderly, arrest someone who is said to have committed a crime, and many others (Masters, Way, Muscat, & Hooper, 2012, p. 175).
Describing a typical day on the job is pretty difficult for the New York City Police Department. The precincts are split up into what is known as “houses”. There are three houses that the precincts are placed into, A, B, and C houses. The A house is considered the busiest house in terms of crime, the B house is fairly medium, and the C house is the slowest (Willis, 2002, p.5-6). A houses are considered to be in the “ghetto”. This is where most of the crime and calls come from. The C houses are considered to be the “uptown” sections of the cities. This is where many of the rich people reside and work, and here police officers are more judged upon their appearance than the actual work they do (Willis, 2002, p. 7). The B house is everything in the middle including statin island, mid to lower Manhattan, and more. These are the houses where some days, officers will not be able to eat a meal, and others where the day seems to drag on because of lack of calls (Willis, 2002, p.7).
There are a few requirements before you can even think about putting in the application towards the NYPD. The main thing is that, on the day of the appointment, where you are called in for an interview, you have to be a resident of the 5 boroughs, or the residing counties around there. The next requirement is that you have 60 college credits completed, with a 2.0 or higher (New York City Police Department, 2014). It does not matter what 60 credits you have taken, but since you are going in for a life of criminal justice, it just makes sense to take those classes. If you have finished 60 college credits, you can become a New York City Police Officer. However, if you are smart, you will go on and finish your 4 years at college, and get your Bachelor’s degree. There is a program that the NYPD has with St. Johns University called, NYPD Cadet. This is a program for third and 4th year students to go work for the NYPD and get their foot in the door showing what exactly is needed through real life training and experience in the field with the New York City Police Department. This program helps the cadets gain better promotions faster because of the experience they are learning before everyone else (City of New York Police Cadet Corps, 2014). Being part of the NYPD Cadet program also helps you meet more influential people, which in-turn, will help you get farther up the ladder working inside the NYPD.
The New York City Police Department has always been known for having mediocre salaries for their officers. When you are accepted and in the Police Academy, you start with a salary of just below 45,000 a year, not including overtime (New York City Police Department, 2014). This is a low number when you think about where these officers have to live. Everything in New York City is so expensive, yet these officers are being paid so little. By the time you are 5 ½ years into being a police officer, however, you will be making just over 90,000 dollars a year, not including overtime (New York City Police Department, 2014). This is double the pay in just 5 years’ time. Not many jobs out there can offer you something like that. Keep in mind that this is for being a beat cop. If you pass the detectives exam, and get your gold shield (become a detective), your pay grade increases even more to almost 100,000 dollars a year (New York City Police Department, 2014).
With the help of the NYPD Cadet program, and a little elbow grease, becoming a detective should not be as difficult as someone who becomes an officer with random 60 credits. This is one of my greatest aspirations is to become a homicide, or major crimes detective. There is good pay, however, the biggest down side is that the hours are terrible. Some people don’t even apply to take the detectives exam, they would rather stay a police officer for 20 years then to deal with all the hassle that detectives put up with.
Being a police officer is harder than it is made out to be. Over 70 percent of police officers marriages end in divorce. This is a horrible statistic. An even bigger eye opener is that 35 percent of police officers have stated that they were involved in a domestic abuse case, and most weren’t even filed (Khan, 2013). What doesn’t seem to set in on people is that, these officers are putting their lives on the line protecting us, every single day. Times have gotten even tougher for a police officer, because now they are forced to wear these big, ugly, bulky Kevlar vests that always seem to get in the way. Many police officers are trained not to show emotion during the work day. It is very hard for them to turn that off when the day is done. This is what leads to the marital problems.
With these problems just building up inside, and with no one to talk to about them, many police officers get depressed. Suicides are more common with police officers that are dealing with depression. In his writing, Miller (2006) states, “Twice as many officers die by their own hand as are killed in the line of duty” (para. 10). Another statistic that will blow your mind is that, “Every 22 hours, a police officer in America takes his or her own life” (Torres, Maggard Jr., & To, 2003). With these statistics right here, it proves that these challenges faced by police officers, on an everyday basis, cannot be dealt with alone. They need groups of peers, and even family that will lend an ear once and awhile to help these officers out after work.
The more time I spend researching about becoming a New York City Police Officer, the more exited it get. There is nothing that will deter me from becoming one. I have always admired how high of a standard these men and women hold themselves. New York City is the most vibrant city in the world, so you need the best trained, the best equipped, and the most sound minded officers to do this job correctly. I’m sure there will be times when I hate doing something, but that will be because, in the criminal justice system, justice doesn’t always prevail. The police officers will spend their hard earned blood, sweat and tears, grinding to get criminals off the street, all to have some of them cop a plea or have a lesser charge because they know information that will help apprehend a “bigger fish.”
This job was made for me, but more importantly, I was made for this job. When I give my word, it is set in stone. I do not go back on my promises, at all. Many people have always said that I carry myself to not be a good person, but a great one. I make sure that everything I do, I put forth 110 percent of my effort, and I expect greatness. Failure is not an option to me, and seeing criminals walk away because of an officer’s lack of understanding the laws makes me sick. I believe that this is not just a paycheck. This is a job where you have the responsibility to make sure that the citizens of your town/city are safer than the day before. How can they be safe you ask? Well there is only one way to do that, and that is to make sure that you apprehend the people that need to be locked up. Make sure that on the end of your watch, you did everything in your power to make your city that much safer than it was at the beginning of your shift. If you do that every day, then you should never feel bad about anything that happens.
City of New York Police Cadet Corps. (2014). NYPD Cadet Program | Welcome. RetrievedNovember19, 2014, from http://www.nypdcadets.com/
Department of City Planning City of New York. (2013). Population - New York City Department of City Planning. RetrievedNovember19, 2014, from http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/census/popcur.shtml
Khan,F. (2013, November 3). Law Enforcement Marriages | Law Enforcement Today. Retrieved from http://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/2013/11/03/law-enforcement-marriages/
Masters,R., Way,L., Muscat,B., & Hooper,M. (2012).Cj (Criminal Justice): Realities and Challenges(2nded.). McGraw-Hill Humanities Social.
Miller,L. (2006). Law Enforcement Traumatic Stress: Clinical Syndromes and Intervention Strategies. RetrievedJuly20, 2014, from http://www.aaets.org/article87.htm
New York City Police Department. (2014). NYPDRECRUIT.COM |. RetrievedNovember19, 2014, from http://www.nypdrecruit.com/
Torres,S., Maggard Jr.,D., & To,C. (2003, October). Preparing families for the hazards of police work. RetrievedJuly20, 2014, from http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=120&issue_id=102003
What is a Beat Cop? (with pictures). (2013). Retrieved from http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-a-beat-cop.htm
Willis,C. (2002).NYPD: Stories of survival from the world's toughest beat. New York, NY: Thunder Mouth Press.