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Career profile Patrol Officer

Also known as Law Enforcement Officer, Patrol Man, Patrol Officer, Patrolman, Police Captain, Police Patrol Officer, Police Specialist, Railroad Police, Railroad Police Officer, Transit Police Officer

Patrol Officer

Also known as Law Enforcement Officer, Patrol Man, Patrol Officer

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$44,520 - $99,050 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Customer and Personal Service
Core tasks
  • Prepare reports documenting investigation activities and results.
  • Monitor transit areas and conduct security checks to protect railroad properties, patrons, and employees.
  • Apprehend or remove trespassers or thieves from railroad property or coordinate with law enforcement agencies in apprehensions and removals.
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What does a Patrol Officer do?

Patrol Officers protect and police railroad and transit property, employees, or passengers.

What kind of tasks does a Patrol Officer perform regularly?

Patrol Officers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Prepare reports documenting investigation activities and results.
  • Monitor transit areas and conduct security checks to protect railroad properties, patrons, and employees.
  • Apprehend or remove trespassers or thieves from railroad property or coordinate with law enforcement agencies in apprehensions and removals.
  • Direct security activities at derailments, fires, floods, or strikes involving railroad property.
  • Patrol railroad yards, cars, stations, or other facilities to protect company property or shipments and to maintain order.
  • Investigate or direct investigations of freight theft, suspicious damage or loss of passengers' valuables, or other crimes on railroad property.
  • Examine credentials of unauthorized persons attempting to enter secured areas.
  • Enforce traffic laws regarding the transit system and reprimand individuals who violate them.
  • Provide training to the public or law enforcement personnel in railroad safety or security.
  • Plan or implement special safety or preventive programs, such as fire or accident prevention.

The above responsibilities are specific to Patrol Officers. More generally, Patrol Officers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

What is a Patrol Officer salary?

The median salary for a Patrol Officer is $72,580, and the average salary is $71,000. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Patrol Officer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Patrol Officers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Patrol Officers earn less than $44,520 per year, 25% earn less than $54,080, 75% earn less than $83,360, and 90% earn less than $99,050.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Patrol Officers is expected to change by 7.9%, and there should be roughly 300 open positions for Patrol Officers every year.

Median annual salary
$72,580
Typical salary range
$44,520 - $99,050
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
7.9%

What personality traits are common among Patrol Officers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Patrol Officer are usually higher in their Realistic, Enterprising, and Conventional interests.

Patrol Officers typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Patrol Officers typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Lastly, Patrol Officers typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Patrol Officer tend to value Relationships, Support, and Independence.

Most importantly, Patrol Officers strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Patrol Officers strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Patrol Officers strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Patrol Officers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as self-control, stress tolerance, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Patrol Officers, ranked by importance:

Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Leadership
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

What education and training do Patrol Officers need?

Patrol Officers often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Patrol Officers usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Patrol Officers

  • 0.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 12.4% completed high school or secondary school
  • 30.3% completed some college coursework
  • 17.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 32.1% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 6.5% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.8% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Patrol Officers

Patrol Officers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as public safety and security, law and government, or customer and personal service knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Patrol Officers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Transportation
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Patrol Officers

Patrol Officers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Patrol Officers need abilities such as problem sensitivity, oral comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Patrol Officers, ranked by their relative importance.

Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

Critical Skills needed by Patrol Officers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Patrol Officers frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Patrol Officers, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.