Police and detectives held about 806,400 jobs in 2014. Most police and detectives work for local governments and some work for state governments or the federal government.
Police and detective work can be physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous. Officers must be alert and ready to react throughout their entire shift. Officers regularly work at crime and accident scenes and deal with the death and suffering that they encounter there. Although a career in law enforcement may be stressful, many officers find it rewarding to help members of their communities.
The jobs of some federal agents, such as U.S. Secret Service and DEA special agents, require extensive travel, often on short notice. These agents may relocate a number of times over the course of their careers. Some special agents, such as U.S. Border Patrol agents, may work outdoors in rugged terrain and in all kinds of weather.
Injuries and Illnesses
Police and sheriff's patrol officers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. They may face physical injuries during conflicts with criminals and motor-vehicle pursuits or when exposed to other high-risk situations or diseases. Transit and railroad police also have a high rate of injuries and illnesses.
Uniformed officers, detectives, agents, and wardens usually work full time. Paid overtime is common. Shift work is necessary because the public must be protected at all times.