How to Answer "Why Do You Want to Be a Police Officer?"

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 December 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A police officer protects and serves their communities, fighting crime and helping individuals in times of need. They investigate crimes, gather pieces of evidence and secure crime scenes. During an interview for a police officer position, a hiring manager may ask you questions to better understand your intentions in applying for the role. In this article, we discuss how to answer the common interview question, "Why do you want to be a police officer?" and provide some example answers.

Why do hiring managers ask "Why do you want to be a police officer?"

Hiring managers might ask the interview question, "Why do you want to be a police officer?" to determine why you want to get into such a challenging career. As a police officer, you work in stressful situations daily. While this work can be very rewarding, it comes with some risks. It often takes a passionate and motivated person to be a reliable and effective police officer.

A police department often wants to make sure that its officers are passionate about their role as protectors and are entering the force for the right reasons. It prefers ethical individuals who want to make their communities safer places to live. A good police officer genuinely wants to help people in need and reduce the rate of crime, so a hiring manager might ask you this interview question to make sure you're committed to these goals.

Related: 4 Situational Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

How to answer "Why do you want to be a police officer?"

It's important to demonstrate to the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) that you're ready for the responsibility of being a police officer. By preparing yourself for the interview and thinking of some good answers to common interview questions, you can prove that you're a qualified candidate. Here are the steps you can take to effectively answer why you want to become a police officer in an interview:

1. Be prepared with research

Before your interview, consider researching the police station you're applying to. Find out what districts they serve and protect, and determine how the community views the police force. It's also important to determine the crime rate of this community and what problems are most prevalent there.

Next, review the job description and find out the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of the job. For example, you might spend much of your workday controlling traffic or crowd, patrolling high-crime areas or doing drug raids. Knowing all of this information can help provide an answer specific to this particular police station.

Related: Interview Question: "Why Are You Interested in This Position?"

2. Consider your intentions

Now that you're familiar with the station or area you might serve, consider what you could do to make this community a better place to live. You can ask yourself the following question:

  • Why are you interested in criminal justice?

  • What part of the job is most challenging?

  • What motivated you to get into this career?

  • What's the most rewarding part of being a police officer?

After answering these questions, think about what your main reasons are for becoming a police officer. In your answer, consider sharing multiple reasons why you want this role. Make sure your answer demonstrates that you're an ethical person who has a dedication to public service and public safety. Here are a few good reasons people usually pursue this profession:

  • to build camaraderie among police officers

  • to do new things every day

  • to help other people make better life choices

  • to make communities safer

  • to save lives

Related: Interview Question: “Why Do You Want to Work Here?”

3. Highlight your applicable skills

A police station often looks for a police officer who has a certain skill set. In your answer, you can discuss some abilities and skills you have that make you a qualified candidate. Here are some essential police officer skills that you can highlight in your answer:

  • ability to think quickly

  • problem-solving skills

  • logic and reasoning

  • in-depth understanding of the law

  • conflict-resolution

  • confidence

  • communication

  • bravery

Related: Transferable Skills to Help You Succeed (With Examples)

4. Discuss what you plan to do in your role

In your response, consider explaining what you strive to do in your role as a police officer. This can help the hiring manager see that you're an ambitious and motivated person who is suitable for the role. Show the hiring manager that you want to make a difference in your community and that you have a plan for how to do so. Provide an answer that demonstrates your commitment to public safety. Here are a few ideas for what you might plan to do on the job to demonstrate that you have good intentions as a police officer:

  • help former prisoners become productive members of society

  • mentor troubled teens and children

  • make people feel secure and safe

  • work to help people understand the law better

  • treat people of all backgrounds fairly

  • help people build respect and trust for the police

  • lower crime rates in the community

Example answers

This interview question can give you the opportunity to show why you're passionate about being a police officer. Here are some examples of quality answers to help you prepare your own:

Example 1: Help people in need

If you want to demonstrate your passion for helping people in need, consider the following example answer:

"When I was six years old, I was in a terrible car accident. At that moment, I felt scared and confused until a police officer picked me up. They assured me that everything was fine and made me feel comfortable and safe. Because of the quick response of their team, my father also made it out of the crash alive. Since then, I've wanted to give back and help people who are in dangerous situations. I want to be the person who they contact when they need help. Whether this means pulling a victim from a crash site or helping someone who broke their arm, I want to be someone they remember for the rest of their lives."

Example 2: Save people's lives

If your reason for applying for the position is to save lives, consider the following example:

"I've always admired and appreciated those people who put their lives in danger to protect our community. Law enforcement really piqued my interest after I witnessed a domestic dispute and watched the responding police officers diffuse the situation. I saw the police officers control the situation and keep one of the parties away from harm. It was then I knew that this job is what I meant to do."

Example 3: Help reduce crime rates in the community

If your reason for applying for the police officer position is to help reduce crime rates in the community, consider the following example answers:

"When applying to this station or area, I immediately discovered the high crime rate. I grew up in an area with a high crime rate, so I understand the emotional distress that individuals in these kinds of communities experience. As an officer, I could use my authority to make people feel safe where they live. I'd like to take part in criminal rehabilitation programmes to help individuals turn their lives around and become active members of our society once again. It's very important for children or young people to feel comfortable walking to and from school, and I'm committed and dedicated to making this possible in this community."

Example 4: Give back to the community

If your primary goal for applying for the role is to give back to the community, you can use the following example as a guide when crafting your own:

"I want to become a police officer, as I feel it's my duty to do something for the local community. With my education and skills, I feel that the role of a police officer is the right role for me in our society. I want to be out there in the streets, helping to fight crime or minimise damage, ensuring that offenders get punished and simply making sure that individuals aren't afraid to walk on the streets. I see a meaningful purpose in the job as a police officer, and it motivates me to apply to this station."

Example 5: Build a relationship with the community

If your reason for applying for this role is to help the police department build a relationship with the community, consider the following example:

"I want to be a police officer to help strengthen the relationship between the community and the police force. I've always viewed the police as someone always ready to help others, which is very important to me. While living in this community, I've noticed that the public could trust and respect the police more. As a police officer, I plan to give my best to restore or strengthen this important relationship. I believe that with a more positive police presence, the police force can gain the trust of the people again and help them live better lives."

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Explore more articles