Life is jam-packed with responsibilities for all parents—but it’s particularly true for those playing the roles of mom and dad all in one. If it’s not doctor’s appointments or missed school buses, it’s endless math worksheets and bedtime stories. The idea of going to school, learning a new skill set, and taking time away from your children can feel daunting.
But what you may not realize is that a job in law enforcement could be right up your alley.
In fact, you already perform several basic police officer skills on a daily basis. Becoming a law enforcement officer will allow you to capitalize on many of the things at which you excel. You’ll continue being a great role model for your children and you’ll get the added benefit of providing safety to your surrounding community.
We used real-time market intelligence from BurningGlass.com to identify the top five skills required for police officers.* It might surprise you to find out that you’ve already got a good head start on these particular skills through all of those years of dedicated parenting.
1. Protective services
The primary duty of police officers is to protect lives and property, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Insuring the safety of the general public is an absolute must in this career, and we all sleep easier at night because of it. People rely on police officers to provide the necessary protection not only for their own lives, but for the lives of their family and friends.
How parenting helps: The moment your child was born, you started your new full-time job as unofficial security guard. During every walk to the park or trip the grocery store, you’re on high alert, ensuring your little one stays out of harm’s way. You’re constantly scanning the streets for hooligans and bullies and you have a seemingly innate ability to sense danger from a mile away. The fact that you would do whatever it takes to keep your neighborhood safe makes you the perfect police officer candidate.
2. Communication & coordination
Police officers are individual components of a greater unit. In order to work as a team with those behind the scenes and on the front lines, clear communication and coordination are crucial. This skill set is never more apparent as when officers respond to calls for assistance, interview potential witnesses, gather facts and information and write reports. In fact, many new police officers are lacking these essential skills … don’t be one of them!
How parenting helps: Despite your daughter’s lack of coordination in pairing an old soccer jersey with leopard print leggings and glitter-coated ballet flats, you still manage to get her to school fully clothed, with freshly brushed teeth, hauling a folder filled with completed homework assignments. It’s no easy feat, but you’ve got it down to a science. You’ve learned to pay attention to the facts, prioritize and get things done promptly, which will prove helpful as a police officer on the line of duty.
3. General physical abilities
Although physical fitness tests will vary depending on state guidelines and individual departments, no one can dispute that physical fitness is a necessary component to perform police duties safely and effectively, according to Police Chief Magazine. If a suspect flees a scene or resists arrest, the acting officer must be prepared to respond with the appropriate amount of force to subdue the situation.
How parenting helps: Anyone who’s ever felt the biceps of a parent with young children will consider this one a no-brainer. As a parent you are accustomed to popping your son or daughter on your hip, back or shoulders when little legs grow too tired to walk.
You’re probably also used to schlepping your body weight in backpacks filled with snacks, diaper bags, first-aid kits and changes of clothes at every family outing. Coupled with miles of walking behind a stroller, endless crouching during hide-and-seek and hours of bench presses playing “airplane,” your body is accustomed to a basic level of physical fitness. All of this will serve as a great starting point for the physical aspect of police training.
4. Basic patient care
Police officers are often the first responders to emergency situations, whether it’s an at-home accident or a car-crumpling crash. Although they’re not always trained to be EMTs, officers are expected to provide initial aid to victims who’ve suffered physical injury.
How parenting helps: You may not be able to perform emergency surgery, but when your daughter crashes her bike into a fence after swerving to avoid the neighbor’s cat, you can patch up that skinned knee without a hitch. Your son’s penchant for pandemonium has probably made you quite familiar with the importance of direct pressure on an open wound and stabilization of a broken appendage. You’ve already started building your first aid repertoire, which will help tremendously in your police officer training.
5. Problem solving
As a police officer, it’s up to you to determine the best course of action for any situation—no matter how dire it may seem. Officers are expected to be resourceful on the job, to show initiative and to be assertive. It is important for police officers to keep their heads on straight and act quickly in response to often chaotic circumstances.
How parenting helps: Children are unpredictable. Sometimes kids crash into bookshelves after jumping from top bunks. Sometimes you’re already at work when the news comes in that your youngest forgot his lunch on the kitchen counter. And often—whether it’s a nightmare, boogie man or a chart-topping fever—kids start crying in the middle of the night. Regardless of the circumstance, you’ve become a master at thinking on your feet. Remedying the situation might mean making a finger splint out of a Popsicle stick, getting someone to cover the afternoon shift for you last-minute or running to the nearest 24 hour drug store in your pajamas, but you’ll do what’s necessary to get the job done.
Take the next step …
If you can identify with these five important police officer skills through your parenting experience, take the next step to leverage your instincts in an exciting career as a police officer. Learn how a criminal justice degree can supply you with the other necessary skills you’ll need to succeed.
*Source: BurningGlass.com (analysis of 15,866 police officer job postings, Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2013)