police officer duties

What Are the Duties of a Law Enforcement Officer

Law enforcement officers, also known as patrol, peace, police, and public safety officers, protect people and property by enforcing local, tribal, state, or federal laws and regulations.

Law officers maintain order, are committed to solving crimes, and establish trust and respect between communities, institutions, and the individuals they serve.

The typical day-to-day activities of a law enforcement officer often include:

  • Apprehending criminal suspects
  • Escorting prisoners
  • Informing the public about policies, services, or procedures
  • Investigating illegal or suspicious activities
  • Monitoring access or flow of people and vehicles
  • Patrolling properties to maintain the asset protection
  • Preparing incident or investigation reports
  • Responding to emergencies
  • Serving court-ordered documents, and
  • Testifying during legal proceedings

Studying to Protect and Serve

To prepare for a career in law enforcement, prospective students enroll in higher education criminal justice and public safety and security programs.

Two examples of postsecondary law enforcement education programs are detailed below.

Associate Degree in Criminal Justice

An associate degree in Criminal Justice, like the one offered at Goodwin University, develops students’ interpersonal and investigative skillsets.

The specialized Criminal Justice curriculum contains coursework in criminal procedures, criminal law, communications, ethical and legal issues, juvenile justice in America, psychology, and more.

Program outcomes for criminal justice majors incorporate a deep understanding of the following themes:

  • Identifying issues in corrections, policing, and the courts in America and the major theories explaining criminal behavior
  • The Corrections system in the United States — including community supervision, parole, and probation systems
  • The development of criminal law and procedure
  • The ethical and legal issues of criminal justice professionals
  • The structure and function of the American Criminal Justice System, and
  • The structure and function of the Federal and State court systems


Download our Get Start Guide and discover if Goodwin’s Criminal Justice program is the right fit for your future!


Bachelor’s Degree in Public Safety and Security

A bachelor’s degree in Public Safety and Security covers the causes and effects of public safety threats, criminal investigation, criminal procedure, emergency management, personal and physical security, risk assessment, and research methodology.

A Public Safety and Security curriculum includes advanced law enforcement courses like cross-cultural psychology, multiculturalism in public safety and security, public policy analysis, Capstone seminars, and practical internships.

Program outcomes for public safety and security majors include comprehensive knowledge in the following categories:

  • Ethical issues and risk management
  • Data analysis
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Policy analysis and development
  • Public speaking and concise written communication
  • Research — reviewing the literature, collecting data, applying analytical skills, and
  • Strategic planning and use of theories and practices

Workforce-readiness institutions like Goodwin prepare tomorrow’s leaders for their profession and provide learners access to an affordable education. As a result, students enrolled in Goodwin’s associate degree in Criminal Justice or bachelor’s degree in Public Safety and Security programs may be eligible to receive 30% off of their tuition through the institution’s Public Service Scholarship.

Flexible, career-focused postsecondary programs, like Goodwin University, offer convenient classes during the day and evening so that students can earn their law enforcement degree on their schedule.

Goodwin students also learn from essential criminal justice experts like attorneys, detectives, military veterans, police commanders, state troopers, and additional law enforcement professionals with extensive experience in the field.

National and State Pay Scales for Police and Sheriff’s Patrol

Besides the fulfillment of making a positive change in your community, law enforcement officers earn higher-than-average compensation.

As of May 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that police and sheriff’s patrol officers earned a national average annual wage of $71,380.

During the same year in Connecticut, the average annual wage for police and sheriff’s patrol officers was identified as $77,280.

Law Enforcement Careers and Compensation

Beyond police patrol, three alternative career options for law enforcement graduates include the following rewarding positions:

  • Corrections Officer
    • Career Description: Correctional officers guard inmates in rehabilitative institutions and transit between the court, jail, prison, or other locations.
    • Compensation: In 2021, a corrections officer’s national annual average wage was $54,760.
      • In Connecticut, the average yearly salary for a corrections officer is $56,370.


  • Corrections Counselor [otherwise known as a Probation Officer]
        • Career Description: Corrections counselors and probation officers assist in rehabilitating justice-impacted individuals in custody or on probation or parole.
        • Compensation: In 2021, a probation officer’s national annual average wage was $64,920.
          • In Connecticut, the average annual wage for a probation officer in 2021 was $91,690.


Invested in increasing safety, law enforcement occupations serve as essential peacemakers and protectors of the people.

Seeking a career making an everyday difference in your community? Prepare for your future profession. Study your way to success. Explore an education in Criminal Justice or Public Safety and Security today!