Why would anyone want to become a law enforcement officer?

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In 1962, President John F. Kennedy designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day to remember fallen officers who were killed in the line of duty and to support their survivors. About 20 years ago, I recall listening to a eulogy for a fallen officer. Sheriff Johnny Mac Brown asked a question to the congregation; Why would anyone want to be a cop? Why, knowing that the public requires perfection but can only get imperfect human beings, why would anyone want to become a law enforcement officer? The student response will be used as an opportunity to reflect on course materials and policing as a profession.

This discussion is an opportunity to reflect on what we have learned over the corse, and consider entering law enforcement as a profession. The assignment is also an opportunity to do actual employment research of a law enforcement agency to learn the requirements of the position. For those of you who may be considering this as a profession, as well as those of you who may be involved in the profession, I believe this discussion/reflection is critically important.


In this assignment, students will attempt to answer the question posed by Sheriff Johnny Mac Brown.

  • Why would anyone want to become a law enforcement officer?

However, prior to answering the question, students should research and reflect on criteria outlined in the what to do section of this assignment:

What to do:

  • Reflect on the image of police depicted in the media and social media over the last 5 years
  • Research current media coverage of the profession
  • Conduct outside research on actual entry level law enforcement jobs to include; salary, application processes and state certifications requirements for the state of South Carolina
  • Reflect on the demands and dangers of the profession
  • Use your text, reflections and outside research to construct a 500-word (minimum) essay

Grading Rubric:

Twenty (20) possible points will be awarded for each category below (100 points total). This assignment is also worth 5% of your final grade.

Generally, each category attempt is scored as: 0 = No attempt, 8 – 11.5 = Unacceptable, 12 – 13.8 = Approaching Acceptable, 14 – 15.8 = Meeting Expectations, 16 – 19 = Exceeding Expectations, and 19 – 20 = Outstanding.



(100 Points)

  • Assignment is complete, on time and in accordance with instructions.
  • The student demonstrated a conceptual understanding of the demands of the profession and what is required to enter the profession from the text and discussions
  • The student conducted local law enforcement employment research and included information in their response.
  • The student provided a thoughtful response to other students using an evidence-based approach
  • Assignment is well written: concise, grammatically correct, cogent and readable, properly documented & in accordance to APA Style.






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