Though the idea of defending oneself physically has been around since nearly the dawn of time, organized law enforcement is a relatively new idea. As self defense evolved, it became defined by several disciplined forms, such as martial arts. Though it is an excellent idea for everyone to be trained in some form of physical self defense, and to carry self defense products like stun guns or pepper spray to defend themselves against any violent or dangerous situation, of course today there are also organized law enforcement agencies which exist to make self defense less necessary. Though it is still imperative to do what you can to protect yourself, various organizations, from a neighborhood watch to a police officer who frequently patrols your neighborhood, can keep your home and your family safe. The first law enforcement agencies existed not so much to protect citizens from criminals but to maintain leadership. Forces to maintain the status quo existed as far back as ancient Egypt, when pharaohs had their own personal staff of soldiers. Nearly any society throughout history with a military hierarchy has had some form of law enforcement agency. The Roman Empire is frequently noted for its effective yet brutal form of law enforcement. In Europe, law enforcement policies can be traced back to more than a millennium ago. London is thought to be the first city to hire paid law enforcement officers, back in 1663. These officers were mainly meant to find and detain criminals after the fact. In 1800, Glasgow, Scotland, established the first professional police department tasked with preventive policing. The first civil (rather than military) police force was established in the United Kingdom by Parliament in 1829. This model is used by numerous countries, including the United States, to the present day. Throughout the mid-1800s, several police departments were founded around the world. Within the United States, the early years can be described as somewhat lawless. Stronger members of the communities were responsible for policing themselves and their neighbors, though there was no police structure in place. Once the colonists were settled in, the task of maintaining order fell to Justices of the Peace, who were responsible for dealing with criminal elements. As the towns and cities of the New World grew, it became clear that this system was simply not organized enough. Organized law enforcement can be traced back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when night watch forces were established throughout the colonies. Philadelphia finally organized an independent police squad in 1833, policing the area 24/7. Another early full-time police force in the United States was the Boston Police Department, established in 1839. New York’s police force was established in 1844. Though these organizations worked well in the relatively well established Eastern cities, in the frontier towns, a sheriff system developed. This system, also inherited from England, placed a sheriff selected by the local population in charge of law enforcement. Relatively unregulated in early times, the sheriff system still exists to this day, though on a much more formal basis. Today, law enforcement agencies worldwide are highly specialized organizations with extensive training to prepare officers for an astounding variety of situations. Still, they can’t be there for all situations, which is why it is important to protect yourself with a stun gun, baton, or pepper spray canister.
These days, when uncertain economic times are putting many careers in doubt, an increasing number of people are looking to work in law enforcement. And there are very good reasons for this. As many industries have shrunk, North American communities have steadily increased their budgets for law enforcement. Police officers now enjoy better pay and often outstanding benefits. Even more important, being a police officer gives you an opportunity to improve life in your community in very direct and concrete ways. Police work can be challenging and even dangerous at times, yet few occupations are as rewarding. With the many positive benefits to working in law enforcement, a growing supply of qualified people are now vying for every opening. I’ve seen cases where 500 people are applying for every one job opening. It’s now increasingly rare for anyone to merely “walk” into a police job. You must not only pass, but do well on the Police Entrance Exam. This is an aptitude test much like exams other industries require applicants to take. Your score on the test will usually determine your chances of getting the job. Score well, and you may be hired immediately. A lower score will probably mean you have to wait, maybe even taking the exam again. Most people wind up doing poorly on the test because they assume since it’s an aptitude test, you can’t prepare for it. But just like studying for the SAT or ACT college entrance exams, successful law enforcement applicants use “score boosting” strategies to get high marks on the police exam. You can actually study the questions typically used on police exams, so you will already know the answers to most of the questions on the test. There are also simple strategies for doing well on the physical exam most police departments require. You can also learn how to answer questions wisely in job interviews, and learn about the pitfalls that doom most applicants. Police work could be exactly what you should be doing. Don’t let the entrance requirements and competition keep you from achieving your dream of being a police offer. Preparing for and doing well on the Police Entrance Exams will greatly improve your chances of speedy success.