10 careers you'll need to have before becoming a cop

I would advise against trying any shortcuts


By Motorcop

I often get questions about how to become a police officer:

“What traits do I need?”

Can’t go a full three-minute round against a bar full of drunk pricks? Better go hit up the UFC gym and throw in some Krav Maga classes to boot.
Can’t go a full three-minute round against a bar full of drunk pricks? Better go hit up the UFC gym and throw in some Krav Maga classes to boot.

“What skills are required?”

“How do you get your hair to look so incredible even though you wear a helmet all day?”

That last one is a trade secret. With regard to the others, though, I would suggest you spend a little time in each of the following careers before becoming a cop...because you’ll be expected to use them all.

1. Therapist

If you can’t enter a home or place of business and ascertain what the lifelong issues are with every involved party inside of five minutes, you’ll be behind the curve. Not only are you expected to define the issues, solutions are a must. So, crack open that Psych 101 textbook collecting dust on your bookshelf. Maybe brush up on your Freud and/or Dr. Phil.

2. MMA Fighter

Can’t go a full three-minute round against a bar full of drunk pricks? Better go hit up the UFC gym and throw in some Krav Maga classes to boot. Everybody and their brother (who’s probably on parole) think you’re the next [insert current MMA champion’s name].

3. Secretary

You better learn how to type, Johnny. If the TV show COPS were at all accurate, 13 seconds of that show would be action. The other 29 minutes and 47 seconds would show cops sitting in front of a computer typing reports. Learn how to listen, take shorthand notes, and remember what people tell you...because documenting shit is your job, Beatrice. (I assume Beatrice is a stereotypical secretary’s name...but I’m from the generation that referred to them as such as opposed to executive assistants.)

4. Marriage Counselor

“But, MC, you already mentioned therapist!” Stick with me, my young padawan. Marriage counseling is a distinct subset of therapy and deserving of its very own category. See, one of the most frequent calls in law enforcement are domestic violence. When you arrive on scene, you not only may have to access your inner-MMA fighter, but you’ll certainly be expected to solve their marriage problems...after likely carting one of them off to the hoosegow, that is.

5. Negotiator

With hostages, suicidal subjects, and baristas who forget about the “cop discount,” your negotiation skills are mandatory. Whether you get that skill refined by getting your kid to eat zucchini or brokering a hostile takeover in a business setting, knowing how to get both sides to perceive they won is a crucial skill and one you will be called on to utilized with frequency.

6. Cartographer/Navigator

“Officer, where is [insert business/freeway/main thoroughfare here]?” Anticipate that question on every contact and car stop. You’ll be amazed at how lost people get driving around the very town they’ve spent their entire damn lives in.

7. Public Relations Specialist

For some stupid reason, the public expects you to have all the answers when it comes to the whys/wherefores of every move every officer in every department the world over makes. Get ready to explain/spin whatever perceived bonehead move that cop made on the interwebs. Similar questions abound about tactics used when dealing with any given police situation. Regardless of how far away they may be, you should know every nuanced detail of the 27 second internet video currently going viral.

8. Comedian

Nobody likes an asshole cop. So make it amusing...but don’t be too funny. Nobody likes a snarky cop.

9. Attorney

You’ll have to know every law ever written. Criminal, civil, real estate, entertainment. For some weird reason, the public assumes cops are schooled in all legal aspects and possibly certified by every BAR association the world over. This is always humorous because invariably, you’ll arrest someone whose college roommate’s cousin is a “lawyer” and “will have your badge.”

10. Stunt Driver

You may think I’m referring to all the chases you’ll get in. I am not. I’m referring to the slack-jawed yokels who won’t pay any attention to you and try to kill you while you’re simply driving for coffee. It’s even worse for those of us on motors. We may as well have targets on our backs for all the times people try to run us off the road. Practice your evasive maneuvers as often as possible. It’ll come in handy when Billy is watching Netflix on his cell phone whilst operating his ‘79 Buick Skylark.

There you have it. The ten careers you’ll need at least a bit of experience in prior to carrying a badge and a gun. I would advise against trying any shortcuts. So, you’ll probably need to start on this when you’re about 11-years-old. Odds are you’re behind the curve. Time to get to work.

About the author

Uniform Stories features a variety of contributors. These sources are experts and educators within their profession. Uniform Stories covers an array of subjects like field stories, entertaining anecdotes, and expert opinions.

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