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A police clerk simultaneously performs clerical, customer service and departmental liaison duties. She is the person who assists people who come into the police station seeking help and information and answers telephone inquiries. Her job requires her to fill out forms, compose both internal and external communications and maintain accurate and orderly files and records.
Types of Police Clerk Jobs
Depending on the size of the department for which she works, a police clerk can be required to perform jobs in multiple areas of the operation. If the department is small, she frequently serves as a police matron and helps in processing incoming female inmates. She may also have cashier duties that entail collecting fines, issuing receipts and balancing the books at the end of her shift.
Collecting information and efficiently filing it for easy access is the main job of a police clerk. She needs to be well versed in a wide range of forms used for incident reporting, arrests, prisoner information and other departmental operations. Good communication skills are necessary to provide accurate and clear information to the public and assist outside agencies that require data from the department. Collecting and safeguarding personal items from inmates is often part of her job description.
Police clerks are required to work nights and weekends and be amenable to shift work. Physical requirements include being able to stand or sit for extended periods of time and being flexible enough to bend and reach to access files. In some jurisdictions, a police clerk must wear a department-issued uniform. Most police clerks must pass a background check prior to being considered for employment. General knowledge of computer and office equipment operation is expected from a police clerk.
Police clerk applicants are normally required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Higher education classes in administrative assistance, office operations or criminal justice are considered assets for aspiring police clerks. Knowledge gained from prior office or clerical jobs is helpful to job applicants.
Salary and Advancement Opportunities
In 2009, the annual average salary for a police clerk in the United States was $33,558. In large, metropolitan police departments, police clerks can advance through two or three stages of clerk positions to earn more money and seniority. A considerable number of police clerks aspire to becoming police officers and augment their police clerk experience with related education to qualify for admission to a police academy.
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Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.