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Career and Education Opportunities for Police Officers in Chattanooga, Tennessee

If you want to be a police officer, the Chattanooga, Tennessee area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 2,320 jobs for police officers in Tennessee and this is projected to grow 30% to about 3,000 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for police officers, which sees this job pool growing by about 16.6% over the next eight years. In general, police officers conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

Police officers earn about $23 per hour or $48,250 per year on average in Tennessee and about $29 hourly or $60,910 yearly on average nationally. Incomes for police officers are better than in the overall category of Police and Security in Tennessee, and better than the overall Police and Security category nationally. Jobs in this field include: criminal investigator, agent, and law enforcement officer.

The Chattanooga area is home to twenty schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Chattanooga where you can get a degree as a police officer. Police officers usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a police officer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Police Officer

In general, police officers conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.

Police officers furnish testimony as a witness in court. They also examine records and governmental agency files to discover identifying data about suspects. Equally important, police officers have to participate or help in raids and arrests. They are often called upon to record progress of investigation, maintain informational files on suspects, and submit reports to commanding officer or magistrate to authorize warrants. They are expected to obtain evidence from suspects. Finally, police officers furnish data to lab staff concerning the source of an item of evidence and tests to be performed.

Every day, police officers are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they think through problems and come up with general rules.

It is important for police officers to obtain summary of incident from officer in charge at crime scene, taking care to avoid disturbing evidence. They are often called upon to examine crime scenes to obtain clues and evidence, such as loose hairs or weapons. They also organize scene search, assigning specific tasks and areas of search to individual officers and obtaining adequate lighting as needed. They are sometimes expected to secure persons at scene, keeping witnesses from conversing or leaving the scene before investigators arrive. Somewhat less frequently, police officers are also expected to secure deceased body and obtain evidence from it, preventing bystanders from tampering with it before medical examiner's arrival.

Police officers sometimes are asked to summon medical help for injured individuals and alert medical staff to take statements from them. They also have to be able to check victims for signs of life And finally, they sometimes have to analyze completed police reports to establish what additional data and investigative work is needed.

Like many other jobs, police officers must have exceptional integrity and be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chattanooga include:

  • Chief of Police. Supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.
  • Criminal Investigator. Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
  • Customs Inspector. Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Inspector. Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
  • Police Records Officer. Collect evidence at crime scenes, classify and identify fingerprints, and photograph evidence for use in criminal and civil cases.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Private Investigator. Detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.
  • Transportation Security Officer. Inspect baggage or cargo and screen passengers to detect and prevent potentially dangerous objects from being transported into secure areas or onto aircraft.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Police Officer Training

Northwestern Technical College - Rock Spring, GA

Northwestern Technical College, 265 Bicentennial Trail, Rock Spring, GA 30739. Northwestern Technical College is a small college located in Rock Spring, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,335 students. Northwestern Technical College has a less than one year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated six students in 2008.

Cleveland State Community College - Cleveland, TN

Cleveland State Community College, 3535 Adkisson Drive, Cleveland, TN 37320-3570. Cleveland State Community College is a small college located in Cleveland, Tennessee. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 3,335 students and an admission rate of 56%. Cleveland State Community College has a less than one year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated six students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Medical Investigator: The spectrum of professions involved in forensic investigation has broadened dramatically over the past 20 years.

For more information, see the American College of Forensic Examiners website.

Certified Corrections Manager - Security Threat Groups: Individuals who head a Security Threat Group (STG) program in an adult or juvenile corrections facility, contribute to the development of agency policies/procedures pertaining to STGs, and are involved in the implementation of these policies/procedures.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Fraud Examiner: The ACFE established and administers the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation.

For more information, see the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners website.

Computer Forensics: The primary goals we have for our certification programs are to both assist law enforcement and organizations requiring highly skilled investigators in the identification of highly skilled individuals, and to promote the training and education efforts within the computer investigation, computer forensic and computer security industries.

For more information, see the Cyber Enforcement Resources Incorporated website.

Certified Cyber-Crime Expert: High-profile cases of corporate malfeasance and increased attention paid to cybercrime and cyberterrorism have elevated electronic evidence discovery to an indispensable component of any organization's security plan.

For more information, see the E-Business Process Solutions website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee photo by Avala

Chattanooga is situated in Hamilton County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 170,880, which has grown by 9.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chattanooga, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Chattanooga are priced at $141,100 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-two new homes were built in Chattanooga, down from four hundred forty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Chattanooga are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 21.5% of Chattanooga residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chattanooga is 9.5%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Chattanooga residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.2%, is more than both the national and state average. Stuart Heights Baptist Church, Kings Point Church and Stanley United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Chattanooga. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Non-Charismatic Churches Independent.

Chattanooga is home to the Creeks Bend Golf Club and the Concord Golf Course as well as Warner Park and Ross Landing City Park. Shopping malls in the area include Northgate Mall, Northgate Crossing Shopping Center and Lee Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Chattanooga can choose from Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Crystal Air Sport Motel and Hampton Inn Chattanooga I-75 North for temporary stays in the area.