Peace Officers have been recognized in the United States for their work in law enforcement from early colonial times to the present. Their first recorded appearance was in 1619 when a group of men were hired by the Virginia Colony to preserve order and suppress rioting during Bacon's Rebellion.
Peace officers enforce and maintain public order by combating the violation of laws and minimizing the disorder that sometimes occurs at events of diverse character – their duties range from maintaining a safe environment for citizens to working on drug enforcement efforts in their community.
Table of Contents:
- Who are Peace Officers?
- Peace Officer vs. Police Officer
- How to become a licensed peace officer?
- What is Peace Officer Memorial Day?
- Top 3 Drug Tests used by Peace Officers
- Frequently Asked Questions
Who are Peace Officers?
Peace officers may include police officers, Sheriff's deputies, and State troopers. A peace officer has the power to enforce laws. In remote areas of the country and metropolitan locations, peace officers are often granted limited executive powers.
A peace officer is usually afforded a great deal of latitude in determining what actions to maintain for public safety. In addition, some codified and legislated powers, such as arrest authority for certain offenses, are prescribed by law or regulation.
The powers of peace officers are different depending on where they work. Peace officers must adhere to specific regulations and procedures when performing their duties. These regulations include required training, accreditation, and ethical standards.
Additionally, some jurisdictions have established laws that require peace officers to be licensed. In most jurisdictions, peace officers must complete an extensive training process and meet specific requirements before being certified.
In the United States, the state legislature is responsible for creating the laws necessary to give peace officers their powers. By law, they must be accountable for their actions in performing their duties.
Peace officers have a wide variety of duties. Some duties can be classified as traditional, and some are unique to peace officers.
There are numerous examples of traditional peace officer duties, such as responding to a police emergency call, investigating, enforcing laws, arresting an offender when necessary, and preparing reports. In addition to traditional duties, peace officers must perform some other unique responsibilities.
Some unique peace officer functions include serving a jury, carrying out arrests for other law enforcement agencies, and investigating crimes within a jurisdiction.
Peace officers generally work in four main areas: community policing, investigative duties, public safety services, and arrest enforcement. Peace officers are involved in a variety of different activities. Although they may not be involved in every activity, they must be prepared to respond to these duties.
Some of the typical duties are:
- Assisting victims and the community in emergencies
- Providing direct management and staff supervision of police officers
- Investigating and collecting evidence in criminal cases
- Arresting offenders, either for felonies or misdemeanors, depending on the jurisdiction.
Peace Officer vs. Police Officer
What is the difference?
A peace officer is a term used to describe a person who has an official responsibility in maintaining peace within a specific area or jurisdiction. However, when an individual holds the title of a police officer, they are often given specific power and authority to enforce laws within certain areas.
A Peace Officer is employed by a government agency, such as a city, county, or state. A police officer is employed by one of the many federal agencies.
Peace officers are also in charge of overseeing officers' conduct and may have an essential role in promoting events and enforcing rules that promote public safety. They are not permitted to carry firearms unless they serve as a military member or serve as an elected official, such as a mayor.
Police officers are legally permitted to carry a gun and may use it in their duty. Most police officers are armed with at least one firearm. A peace officer is someone who holds a specified office within a municipal police force. They are involved in the administration of these governmental offices.
The job of a peace officer is considered an administrative office and is not involved in the execution of laws. For example, a police chief can be referred to as a peace officer, but they will never be referred to as a police officer.
The difference between peace officers and police officers depends on authority and employment where an individual holds a position. A peace officer generally has less power than a police officer. A police officer will have more authority than a peace officer if they are in charge of enforcing laws and can make arrests.
How to become a licensed Peace Officer?
Peace officers may be required to complete some training or certification before being allowed to perform certain functions. The following includes the necessary training to become a licensed peace officer:
- To become a peace officer, you need to be a United States citizen and at least 21 years of age. You should also have a high school diploma or GED. Most employers require that candidates possess a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice or Criminology, although some do accept degrees in other fields of study such as Sociology.
- Have proof that you have undergone physical, drug, and background screening through the state where you are applying for an appointment
- Before exploring the career of a peace officer, a person should have an interest in public safety and a desire to help others.
- They must be physically fit as the duties can be physically demanding.
- A peace officer is an individual who receives initial training at the state training school located in the county of the person's residence or has been certified by some other agency as meeting minimum training standards.
- Peace officers may be required to complete additional training on the job and further training at the state training school.
- Peace officers are trained in defensive tactics, and firearms use to reduce injuries to themselves and others in an incident.
- A peace officer may also be trained in first aid and CPR to be prepared for an emergency.
- Peace officers are also trained in the legal aspects of their job. They learn the laws applying to peace officers to enforce them better.
- In some instances, a peace officer may be required to complete an internship at a law enforcement agency before being certified as a peace officer.
- The peace officer must pass a state certification exam before being certified by law.
- On-the-job training is often supplemented with additional subject matter training and performance evaluations.
- Peace officers receive extensive training in the laws applicable to their job. They also learn about policies, procedures, and techniques related to their duties.
- When peace officers perform their duties, they are expected to adhere to the state's standards for the conduct of peace officers.
What is Peace Officer Memorial Day?
United States Peace Officers Memorial Day honors federal, state, and local law enforcement officials who have died on duty. May 15 is the national holiday for peace officers.
The event commemorates all peace officers who have lost their lives in the past year. As of 2015, 153 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty this year, according to data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
The event also recognizes all peace officers who currently serve our communities. Peace Officers Memorial Day is an important reminder that we are responsible to those who serve our communities to demonstrate appreciation for their service and sacrifice.
How to observe peace officer memorial day?
Many organizations host local events to pay tribute to peace officers in their area, use #PeaceOfficerMemorialDay to post on social media. Many North American cities host events each year that honor peace officers. Local communities may also have a separate memorial day.
Peace Officers Memorial Day was established in 1961 by an act of Congress. It was initially known as National Police Week and later changed to National Police and Peace Officers Week. Over time, the name became shortened, and it is now known simply as Peace Officers Memorial Day.
In honor of peace officers, the U.S. Postal Service has issued special commemorative stamp sheets that feature ink impressions of an officer's badge in a patrol car. The stamp sheet also includes instructions to "Look for the blue line on the face of the printed stamp."
Top 3 Drug Tests used by Peace Officers
Peace officers in the United States, including state and federal law enforcement officials, often use urine drug tests to detect whether a person has used drugs or alcohol. A wide variety of drug tests are available.
To help you understand, we have compiled a list of the three most frequently used drug test types.
Peace officers have reported that the most common drug test they administer is the 5-panel urine drug test. A 5-panel urine dip drug test includes testing for MMJ, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and PCP.
Because this is a screening test and not an absolute identification of a substance or drug, it can only detect the use of drugs within several days before the urine sample was taken. The time amount of drug exposure depends on the frequency and quantity.
The most popular and widely used urine drug test in the United States is the 10-panel urine drug test. The 10-panel kit includes testing for MMJ, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, PCP, and phencyclidine (PCP).
It can detect whether substances were taken on up to a few days before the sample was collected. A 10-panel test for peace officers consists of a dip card dipped in a urine sample for approximately a few seconds. A positive/negative result can be read from the dip card if its lines are colored.
A 12-panel drug test can screen for a wider variety of drugs. The 12-panel urine drug test kit includes testing for all substances on a 10-panel drug test and adds testing for barbiturates and benzodiazepines. It is a complete test that can detect the use of almost all controlled substances.
A 12-panel drug test for peace officers (i.e., law enforcement officials) can be administered in two ways. The test is highly regarded as one of the best tests to detect drug use.
Note: The benefits and disadvantages of different tests are often dependent on testing needed for a specific discipline or industry and the individual organization's needs. The drug test should ensure the safety of the individual undergoing the examination and prevent impairment of the employee or job performance.
What is the minimum requirement to become a peace officer?
Peace officers are people employed by police forces for keeping the public order or safety in the jurisdiction where they work. To become a peace officer, you must:
- Be at least 21 years of age.
- Complete an application and pass the written test required by your jurisdiction.
- Have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
- Be a U.S citizen and be able to obtain a valid state driver's license.
- Be a resident of the state in which you work.
What are the daily responsibilities of a peace officer?
A peace officer is a type of police officer who enforces laws and ordinances and who investigates crimes. Most peace officers' duties include:
- Making arrests, conducting investigations, and issuing citations for traffic violations
- Responding to emergency calls, such as domestic violence incidents or fires
- Observing and patrolling known trouble spots to prevent crime from occurring in the future
- Writing police reports about their activities and testifying in court when necessary
What are the types of peace officers?
While there is no one 'type' of a peace officer, various occupations can be classified into five general categories: traffic enforcement, police work, protective services, undercover law enforcement, and armed forces.
What are the special skills required to be a peace officer?
These abilities differ by jurisdiction according to how the position is defined. Requirements typically include:
- Awareness and understanding of criminal activity in your community and ability to recognize it.
- Operational efficiency on the street, in a vehicle, and carrying out investigations with efficiency and effectiveness.
- Ability to resolve conflicts in a calm, non-confrontational manner
- An ability to handle firearms effectively for situations where they are required.
When do peace officers have to carry identification?
The law requires that a peace officer must present identification at any time. A peace officer also has to identify themselves upon request, such as responding to a verbal command by another person delivered with reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. However, if a peace officer acts in an official capacity, they do not have to identify themselves.
A peace officer is responsible for maintaining law and order in the particular jurisdiction where they work. It is a very responsible job, as it involves keeping order during times of crises, investigating criminal activity, and preventing crime.
There are many requirements to become a peace officer, such as being at least 21 years old, having good moral character, and passing an entrance exam. Some jurisdictions require additional certification or training to qualify for a position.
We hope this article has helped you learn about the requirements to become a peace officer and equipped you with all of the information you need to become a peace officer.