Criminal Justice
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How to Become a Campus Police Officer: Career & Salary Information

How to Become a Campus Police Officer: Career & Salary Information

Law enforcement is required in every facet of society. From school security to the police force, and from mall policing services to campus police officers, each plays an enormous role in the safety and protection of society. With a whole field dedicated to campus police, you may wonder how you can become a police officer.

There are many streams that lead into a campus police officer's role. Having worked in a role as a security guard, or in law enforcement as a police officer, or as a sheriff's deputy would prove to be extremely beneficial. It is also recommended that you have a bachelor's or associate degree.

Let us take an in-depth look at what it means to be a campus police officer, how to know if you should pursue such a career path, and what steps you can take towards this career.

What Is A Campus Police Officer?

Holding the title of police officer, campus police are qualified and trained officers that are employed by a college or university to protect all those on the campus site. From students, staff, and visitors to contractors and part time workers, it is the responsibility of the campus police to keep all who live and work on site safe at all times.

But even over and above providing security for those on the campus site, they also provide safety and security to those in the areas surrounding the university or college. This is because the surrounding communities are often occupied by university employees or students who have chosen to reside off the university campus.

From preventing crime and intervening should a criminal act occur, to escorting campus staff and students on the campus grounds for ensured safety, a campus police officer holds a great responsibility.

What Does A Campus Police Officer Do?

In a diverse educational environment, campus police officers are required to uphold and enforce the law. They work either with or without the assistance of local police, and they carry a large weight on their back.

From preventing underage drinking, to ensuring the safety of all persons at all times, the responsibility may seem overwhelming. While the jurisdiction may seem smaller than that of local police officers, there is extreme stress that is faced in ensuring the safety of college students.

We have all seen the dramatic and sometimes exaggerated portrayal of campus parties. As a campus police officer, it is your duty to monitor such occurrences, and investigate any crimes that may occur on the campus property.

Campus police officers are also legally allowed to carry weapons.

Steps To Become A Campus Police Officer

There are many ways to pursue a career in the field of campus police or campus security. The amount of experience, qualifications, and training will depend on the specific role you are seeking to fulfil.

As with other police stations, a campus police station is a well-oiled machine and requires different parts to make the machine work smoothly. While it is not a requirement to have previous experience working as a police officer, and it is not required, in some instances, to be sworn in as a police officer, training from a police academy is a must.

As with other positions in the law enforcement field, although not explicitly required, having a qualification in law enforcement or criminal justice, is a sure way to boost your chances of landing a job as a campus police officer, and it will boost your chances of growing in the field and moving up the ranks.

The Process Of Becoming A Campus Police Officer

The process of becoming a campus police officer looks a lot like that of general law enforcement and it follows similar steps as when you are hoping to join your local police station.

If you are hoping to become a campus police officer, you would need to undergo tests and assessments, including rigorous background checks, psychological and physical testing, as well as undergoing a polygraph test.

Once you have successfully completed the abovementioned tests, you can then begin applying for vacant positions on the university or college campuses at which you would like to work. Once you have been successful in your application, you then move on to the fun part…

You will be required to complete extensive and in-depth training that comprise of both physical and knowledge-based applications. This training can take up to six months to complete. Once you have met all requirements successfully, you may then begin reporting for duty.

What Degree Do You Need To Be Campus Police Officer?

Although only training from a police academy is required for candidates to be considered for the role of campus police officers, it is highly recommended that candidates have a degree in law enforcement for them to succeed in this role.

Additionally, background knowledge and experience will prove to be beneficial.

What Is The Average Salary For A Campus Police Officer?

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not explicitly provide details on the expected compensation for campus police officers, local police officer's generally receive and average annual salary of $66,020. Other sources state that campus police officers may receive an average annual salary of between $85,732 and $133,588 in the California area.

While entry level roles may begin on the lower end of the salary scale, there is usually extensive room for growth within the campus police departments.

What Makes A Good Campus Police Officer?

As with all police officers, campus police officers will need to have certain innate and acquired qualities that will assist them in excelling in their role. At the forefront of these qualities are honesty and integrity.

Upholding the law comes with great responsibility. Throw in a bunch of almost-legal or just-legal adults, and any law enforcement agent is bound to have their hands full. In order to successfully enforce the law in a demographic that requires sensitivity and a high level of strictness, campus police officers need to strike just the right balance.

Additionally, communication, critical thinking, and investigative skills will go a long way in guaranteeing their success, but they are also required to have extensive physical agility and high levels of self-control.

FAQs

Are Campus Police Real Police Officers?

Yes. Not to be confused with campus security, which is a facet of the policing service on university and college campus sites, campus police officers are sworn in officers who have completed police academy training and who are licensed to carry weapons.

How Much Does A Campus Police Officer Make?

As with all roles, the more niche and the more specialized a job is, the chances are that you will receive a higher compensation. Campus police officers can receive an average annual salary of between $85,732 and $133,588 depending on their experience, if the role is entry level, and the level of education they possess.

Do Campus Police Officers Go To Police Academy?

Yes, they do. It is one of the basic minimum requirements to pursue a career as a campus police officer.

Do College Campus Police Officers Need To Be Certified?

Campus police officers would need to successfully obtain certification from a police academy, as well as receive clearance certifications on their psych evaluations, background checks, drug tests, and credit records.

Is There An Age Limit For Campus Police Officers?

To be an eligible candidate for a role as a campus police officer, you would need to be over the age of 18, or 21 for some specified departments. While there is no cap on the age limit, you would need to harness some level of respect among the campus community, and this is usually found in older officers, usually in the age range of between 40 to 55 years old.

Conclusion

Just as exciting as it is becoming a police officer, a campus police officer plays an extremely important role in upholding a smaller jurisdiction. You are contributing to molding future generations, and with fear among youngsters attending educational facilities, campus police officers play a paramount role in easing the fear.

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