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Types of police jobs

Updated March 20, 2017

The primary function of police officers is to patrol the streets of a community and protect the safety of its citizens. When most visualise a police officer, they see a uniformed officer, with a badge and a police car. Although the majority of policing jobs are uniformed officers, there are other divisions of a police force.

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Uniformed Officer

A uniformed officer performs the outside duties of a police department. They come from many types of departments such as local police officer, deputy sheriff, state trooper, and border patrol agent. Their jobs are to maintain the peace and protect the public. They respond to crime scenes, reports, and complaints. They also work as part of speciality units such as SWAT team, drug enforcement, and K-9.

Jail/Prison Guard

A jail/prison guard is responsible for maintaining the safety, order, and security of inmates in jails, prisons, and detention faculties. Their duties include processing new inmates, cell and inmate searches, transporting inmates to court and new facilities, and monitoring inmates' activity at all times.


A detective is a plain-clothed officer that investigates crimes. They search or "process" crime scenes, collect evidence, conduct surveillance, and interview suspects and witnesses. Detectives typically specialise in investigating a specific type of crime such as murder, rape, fraud, or arson.

Chief of Police

The chief of police is responsible for managing the activities of a local police department. They ensure that police officers are complying with local, state, and federal regulations. It is the job of the chief of police to answer to any agency for the conduct of his officers.

School Liaison Officer

A school liaison officer works with children in state schools to ensure the safety of the students and teachers. They reduce the number of crimes in the school, investigate any crimes that include the students, and educate children and their parents on the criminal justice system. Hiring a school liaison officer is an effort by the schools as a preventive method against crime.

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About the Author

Angela M. Wheeland specializes in topics related to taxation, technology, gaming and criminal law. She has contributed to several websites and serves as the lead content editor for a construction-related website. Wheeland holds an Associate of Arts in accounting and criminal justice. She has owned and operated her own income tax-preparation business since 2006.

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