ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Going Beyond the Classroom: Law Enforcement

Updated on December 31, 2013
Some police training like marksmanship is done on the job.
Some police training like marksmanship is done on the job.

If you ask police officers, lawyers and other criminal justice officials what makes new candidates stand out in the hiring process, they aren’t likely to mention degree majors, GPA or anything else classically learned in the college classroom. The same as any profession, transferring from academia to the real world of criminal justice involves a shifting of skills. Learning new things that cannot be taught by any professor is essential to success. A criminal justice degree is the basic qualification for many diverse fields, including FBI agents, police officers, private investigators, lawyers and others. Many of these fields require dramatically different skill-sets on the job, and the skills candidates need will vary depending on what they choose.

1. Physical Conditioning and Marksmanship

While many officers and agents rarely discharge their weapons, they are still expected to know how to use them on demand. Marksmanship training and expertise is an essential skill in many law enforcement positions. It is usually done entirely on the job using standard issue firearms. Passing a periodic marksmanship examination is an important part of fulfilling the job requirements.

Physical condition and the ability to meet physical fitness benchmarks are also important for many positions, especially those involving police work. While being a star athlete is not required, candidates must have and maintain certain health and fitness standards considered necessary to safely perform their duties. This may mean developing a physical fitness routine or spending a few hours each week at the gym.

2. Empathy and Compassion

Most criminal justice careers are very people oriented. This involves meeting with suspects and victims. Such people will be have just experienced an emotional trauma or be in the middle of one. Law enforcement officers must be able to relate to victims, encourage them to talk about their situation to collect evidence and help them feel safe and at ease. Since many people, even those usually law abiding, may be fearful or distrustful of law enforcement, the ability to help them feel comfortable is imperative to a successful case.

3. Sound Reasoning and Judgment

Out in the field, most officers are operating alone or with a single partner. They will not have the time or ability to run decisions past a higher-ranking official. They will not simply be able to “go ask their manager” if something unexpected comes up. On top of this, they will often find themselves in fast-paced, high-stress and possibly life-threatening situations. Their decisions may directly and permanently impact the life and future of many individuals. This demands the ability to make quick and appropriate decisions. They must also be consistently mindful of following the law and procedures. Being prepared for the unexpected takes practice and experience that can only be gained on the job.

4. Knowledge of Current Events

Lawyers tend to do a lot of talking, and they are expected to be readily knowledgeable about current events and activities that may affect the legal landscape. Highly successful lawyers also have the reputation for being able to talk to anyone about just about anything. Being diligent about current events isn’t just practical from a legal standpoint, it is essential for fitting into the legal world. While professors may hint at this, developing the discipline to constantly keep up-to-date is something that takes constant practice.

5. Client Service

Lawyers aren't just people who practice law. They are also business professionals. Unless they are state employed, they will only make money if they attract a steady stream of clients to their firm. Developing the business sense, marketing savvy and ideals of service that will get these clients and keep them is something that many lawyers pick up after they graduate.

6. Accuracy and Diligence

There are few professions where mistakes are more costly than in criminal justice. Carelessness with attire, punctuality and even grammar can mean the difference between success and failure in a case. Lawyers must strive to be exacting people even into the realm of perfectionism. Every detail and every word is important, and no task or part of a project, no matter how small, is meaningless or beneath notice. Perfecting this level of precision and attention is a life-long goal for anyone in the legal profession.

7. Time Management

A good rule of thumb in the criminal justice world is to remember that everything takes longer than expected. Lawyers are often held to strict, court-appointed deadlines for work and appearance. They are expected to deliver written material on time, or they risk losing the case or delaying the court. During court proceedings, lawyers are held to strict limits on presenting various arguments and statements. If they do not plan and manage their time accordingly, they may be cut off before providing all of the details of their case. This could mean losing the case in the court. Time management is a practiced skill, and it is one that is developed over the whole course of a lawyer’s career.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)