A narcotics officer is a type of specialized police officer who works with other officers and law enforcement to stop the spread of illegal drugs. When working as one of these officers, you might spend some of your time working in the local station, but you may also work undercover. Though some officers work for a local police department, others work for federal agencies that patrol the borders and work on sting operations. It’s important you know more about the duties of the job, how to become one and some of the dangers of the job.
Becoming an Officer
Before you can work as a narcotics officer, you need a college degree. Most police departments require that officers have a minimum of an associate’s degree, but some will only accept those who have a bachelor’s degree. You should study a subject like police science, criminal justice, Homeland Security or emergency management. Many departments also require that you go through the police training academy, which provides you with police training. Officers must also pass a psychological test and a criminal background check.
Duties of the Job
Films and television shows like “Training Day” and “Law & Order” often make it seem like police officers lead exciting lives filled with action. The truth is that officers specializing in drug enforcement often spend a lot of time in the station or in their departments. They do background research to find out more about drug trends and to locate the suppliers of those narcotics. Officers also file reports and work with officers currently in the field. If you do undercover work, you might spend weeks or even months away from your friends and find yourself in the line of danger every day.
Where You Can Work
Also known as narcs, these police officers can work in a range of departments and offices. Your local police department or deputy sheriff’s office may need officers willing to work on stings and drug busts. The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigations also need undercover officers. To work for the FBI, you must pass a long series of tests and exams. Those who make it through those tests spend several months training at Quantico, which is the headquarters of the FBI. Even if you make it though the training period, there is no guarantee that the FBI will offer you a job.
Dangers of the Job
Before you enroll in a police science program with dreams of becoming a narcotics officer, you should look at some of the potential dangers of the job. According to a former NO with more than a decade of experience, those dangers can include others finding out your true identity, the perception that your family and friends have about you and the ethical line that you must walk. That former officer also points out that the job involves a lot of waiting and is not nearly as exciting as some think.
Police officers put their lives in jeopardy every day, but those officers help stop the spread of drugs, keep drugs from coming into the country and take drug dealers off the streets. A narcotics officer is a police officer who specializes in working around narcotics and can include those who work in administrative or office jobs and those who go undercover.