Transit and Railroad Police Overview
Many transit and railroad police find themselves working in dangerous and stressful situations. Transit and railroad police can have anywhere from a high school diploma to a college degree or higher. Transit and railroad police who are the most qualified will have the best job opportunities in most local police departments. Those wishing to work at State or Federal agencies should be aware of competition. Transit and railroad police who are bilingual as well as have college training in police science or have military police experience will have the best job opportunities.
Nature of the Work for Transit and Railroad Police
Transit and railroad police can issue citations and warnings to those who break the law. They can spend a majority of their time writing reports as well as maintaining records. Transit and railroad police will patrol their areas and investigate any suspicious activity they may come across as well as respond to any calls from individuals.
All transit and railroad police maintain records and write reports that will be necessary if they are to ever testify in court.
Uniformed police offers will respond to calls for service as well as maintain regular patrols. They may also direct traffic during an accident, give first aid, investigate a burglary as well as other paperwork that needs to be completed. Uniformed officers are usually assigned to patrol a specific area since most police agencies are organized into geographic districts.
Transit and railroad police working in large agencies will usually patrol with a partner. If suspicious activity or hazards are reported that can affect public safety, officers will be dispatched to individual calls for assistance. When they are working their shift, transit and railroad police may pursue, identify or arrest suspected criminals as well as enforce traffic laws and resolve any problems within the community.
Agencies serving transportation systems and facilities have special geographic jurisdictions and enforcement responsibilities. Other agencies include public college and university police forces and public school district police.
Some police offers will specialize in a specific field while others will work with special units.
Police offers who patrol highways to enforce vehicle law and regulations as well as those who arrest criminals statewide are known as State police officers. Also known as State troopers or highway patrol officers, they may give first aid, call for emergency equipment or direct traffic at the scene of an accident. State police officers may also render assistance to other law enforcement agencies as well as write reports that will be used to determine who or what caused an accident.
Operating in every state except Hawaii, state highway patrols will patrol and respond to calls for service while others can work as investigators or perform court-related duties.
The work of transit and railroad police can be dangerous and stressful. On-the-job injury and illness is prevalent since many transit and railroad police officers will confront criminals and be put in threatening situations. The private lives of transit and railroad police can also be affected since many witness suffering or death from accidents or criminal behavior.
The typical workweek for transit and railroad police is 40 hours, with frequent paid overtime. Transit and railroad police must also be able to work whenever they are needed in addition to their regular shifts since protection must be provided twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. Junior officers will most likely work holidays, nights, and weekends. Whether on duty or off duty, transit and railroad police must always be armed and ready to exercise their authority if necessary.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Transit and Railroad Police
Education requirements for transit and railroad police can vary from a high school diploma to a college degree or higher. Transit and railroad police can also learn a lot on the job as well as in their agency’s training academy. Transit and railroad police candidates, regulated by civil service, are usually required to be atleast 21 years old, a U.S. citizen and to meet physical and personal qualifications. Examinations can include a vision test, hearing test or agility test.
A high school education is required for transit and railroad police applicants, some departments requiring 1 or 2 years of college coursework or a college degree. With the help of physical education classes and participation in sports, transit and railroad police can develop stamina, agility and competitiveness that is beneficial to such a career. For federal agencies and urban departments, knowing a foreign language is beneficial.
Transit and railroad police applicants looking to work at State and local agencies are encouraged to take courses or training in law enforcement subjects after high school. Many junior colleges, and four year colleges and universities offer programs for transit and railroad police in law enforcement, police science or administration of justice. Many entry-level transit and railroad police applicants have completed formal postsecondary education.
A training period usually provided by an agency’s police academy lasting 12 to 14 weeks is given to transit and railroad police before their first assignment. For those in small agencies, training can take place at a regional or State academy.
Transit and railroad police working in Federal agencies are required to have a bachelor’s degree and/or related work experience.
Qualifications for transit and railroad police are responsibility, honesty, integrity, and sound judgment. Meeting with the public and working with people is also a qualification. Some transit and railroad police applicants will also be interviewed by a psychologist or psychiatrist and given a personality test.
Transit and railroad police can usually advance after a probationary period of 6 months to 3 years. They can advance to a detective or specialize in one type of police work. They can also advance to positions such as lieutenant, captain, corporal, or sergeant.
Continuing training can help transit and railroad police improve their performance on the job. Training can include firearms, use-of-force policies, sensitivity and communication skills, and crowd-control techniques.
Top 10 Most Popular Criminal Justice/Police Science Schools
1. East Los Angeles College (Monterey Park, California)
2. Santa Rosa Junior College (Santa Rosa, California)
3. Rio Salado College (Tempe, Arizona)
4. Rio Hondo College (Whittier, California)
5. Victor Valley Community College (Victorville, California)
6. Monroe College, Bronx (Bronx, New York)
7. Ferris State University (Big Rapids, Michigan)
8. Fresno City College (Fresno, California)
9. Alexandria Technical & Community College (Alexandria, Minnesota)
10. Minneapolis Community and Technical College (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Top 10 Most Popular Online Criminal Justice/Police Science Schools
1. Purdue University Global
2. Ashworth College - Online School
3. South University’s Online programs
4. Saint Leo University Online
5. Colorado Technical University - Online School
6. Strayer University - Online School
7. Walden University - Online School
8. Everest University Online
9. Keiser University - Online School
10. Berkeley College Online
Employment and Job Outlook for Transit and Railroad Police
Number of People in Profession
Changing Employment (2008-2018)
Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average (increase 7 - 13%).
Transit and railroad police who meet the psychological, physical and personal qualifications will have the best job prospects. Employment growth as well as those who retire and leave local agencies for private-sector security jobs or Federal jobs will also create job opportunities.
Government spending can also affect employment for transit and railroad police which can change year to year and place to place.
Earnings and Salary for Transit and Railroad Police
Median annual wages of transit and railroad police are $50,940. The middle 50 percent earn between $40,600 and $63,800. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $34,330, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $75,180.
Annual Salary for Transit and Railroad Police
On average, Transit and Railroad Police earn $50,940 per year.
Hourly Wage for Transit and Railroad Police
On average, Transit and Railroad Police earn $24.49 per hour.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook