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Railway Police Officer


Few occupations are as highly profiled in our society as that of the police. Unlike many jobs out there, we learn about the police at about the same time as we are learning how to walk. Police officers come visit us at school when we are children, we see them patrolling our cities as adults. Their cars, clothes, and sirens are recognizable to us, no matter what city or country we're visiting. We watch TV shows about them, we read books about them, we know of countless movies which tell police stories. But what do we really know about the everyday life of a police officer?

For one, not many of us are aware that along with police forces in cities, railway stations have their own police forces. Trained as regular officers, these police officers work for the railway companies to ensure that safety and respect is shown to trains, train tracks, and train personnel. These officers work at railway stations, patrolling the buildings and the platforms. They monitor the traffic around the stations, as well as, look into derailments and other train-related accidents. The major focus of this job is on community services projects. The officers focus on developing programs aimed at preventing railway sabotage and educating adults about the dangers at railway crossings, as well as educating children about the dangers of playing around or on railway tracks and trains. The railway police officers provide presentations to railway staff, school groups, recreation centers (including presentations to snowmobile clubs and cross-country skiers), and other community groups free of charge. These police officers work closely with other law enforcement and emergency workers, as they strive towards a common goal of creating a safe, crime-free nation.

Along with community-based activities, there is also a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Quite a lot of time is spent in the office, completing paperwork. Railway police officers need to document each action they take in an investigation, or any routine outreach they are involved in. This is important because other officers may deal with the same situation later, and want to know what action was taken previously. In a criminal investigation, detectives, lawyers, and judges will need to know details for court proceedings, and an officer may be required to testify months or even years later therefore, accurate notes are crucial.
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  Interests and Skills  
Interested in a job as a railway police officer? These individuals must be keen observers who notice details, good communicators who are able to speak with and listen to children, panicked victims, and suspects and calm, and able to ask questions without frightening or alienating the person they are interviewing. A good understanding of law and a desire to see justice done properly are important qualities. They should be interested in problem-solving, conflict resolution, and negotiation and have an interest in working with the community to stop criminal cycles. Honesty, maturity, integrity, and a non-sexist, culturally open attitude are tremendous assets to a successful police officer. Computer skills are also required.

Individuals wanting to work as a railway police officer should also have an interest in railways, trains, and train safety. This job deals less with crime investigating and more with community education.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Monitor railway crossings and stations
  • Make recommendations to railway staff and police supervisors regarding safety and security
  • Plan and present information sessions to schools and community groups
  • Communicate with other safety and health care officials
  • Investigate derailments and other train-related accidents
  • Perform first aid and CPR when necessary
  • Iinvestigate and arrest criminal suspects
  • Write reports documenting actions
  • Give evidence in trials
  • A typical day for a railway police officer will involve traveling to various community groups and organizations, presenting information regarding health and safety when it come to trains. They might be called to investigate a car crash or train derailment on the tracks, working with paramedics and/or firefighters in an effort to save lives. They will also spend some time investigating any vandalism or sabotage to the trains and train track system. A lot of their day will be spent in meetings, writing recommendations, summaries of duties, or planning upcoming talks.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Railway police officers work in teams. Along with the police team, they also work with firefighters and paramedics, as all three answer emergency calls. They also work alongside railway staff. They work both indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions. Railway police officers also spend much of their time traveling throughout the community, especially throughout rural parts of the country where train tracks are more likely to be played on and vandalized. They will visit schools and community groups in these areas, educating people about the dangers of trains.
  • These police officers are employed by railway companies, as well as by governments. A smaller community might have railway police officers on staff at the local police department.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Anyone trained as a railway police officer has quite a few options. There is always the possiblity of progressing in rank to supervisory positions. Railway police officers may also choose to join a local force, specialize in detective work, or move into highway police work and harbor police work. There is also the option of leaving the police force altogether and moving on to law school, to work on the other side of the spectrum as a defense lawyer, or with the government as a prosecutor. Former police officers can also become security guards, private investigators, paramedics or firefighters.

  Educational Paths  
Along with having good eyesight and good physical condition, a secure, healthy mind is needed. It is also recommended, but not required, to attend a community college to get a diploma in law enforcement. It is also a good idea to get a university degree in law, security, or social sciences. There are police training programs offered at colleges.

Once they have obtained a job as a railway police officer, new recruits will go through a three- to six-month training program.

Aspiring railway police officers will need CPR and first aid certification, along with a high school diploma.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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