Peace Officer

A peace officer generally refers to any employee of a state, county, or a municipality, a sheriff or other public law enforcement agency, whose duties include arrests, searches and seizures, execution of criminal and civil warrants, and is responsible for the prevention or detection of crime or for the enforcement of the penal, traffic or highway laws. The Peace Officer definition may also include those deputy sheriffs whose duties include the care, custody and control of inmates in a jail setting.

The everyday duties of a peace officer can be similar to those of a police officer, but there are some restrictions placed on peace officers, usually owing to the jurisdiction in which they work.

Alumnus Constantinos Katergaris (2014) is a New York State Peace Officer.

Constantinos Katergaris, Peace Officer

What is your job? I am currently a New York State Peace Officer holding the rank of Specialist Level 2. I work for CUNY in it’s Public Safety Department. My home command is actually John Jay.

What is the broader field of industry in which this work exists?
I would say the best category to put it in would be community based law enforcement.
What, in general, do you do as part of this job?
I often handle investigations that need to be done on a college level. I also supervise special events where a dignitary will be visiting a CUNY event. For example I met Mayor DiBlasio during the CUNY citizenship now event and coordinated with his protection detail. Also I take care of any other general law enforcement duties and or calls for service the college community may need.
What are the pros and cons of this kind of job?
The pros are the fact that I can be law enforcement officer who focuses on helping at a community level. There are also the typical pension and city benefits that come along with this kind of work. The cons are the long hours and uncertain schedule.  That can be difficult on one’s social life and keeping disciplined  in regards to balancing priorities.
What skills did you learn as an English major that you use in this job?
When writing reports and other formal documents my background in writing has gone a long way. The research skills i developed in being a  English major also help when trying to find information during an investigation or setting new policies.
How did you get this job?
I took a civil service exam to become a Peace Officer and through another exam I was promoted to Sergeant then Specialist Level Two.
For current students interested in this line of work, do you have any recommendations on what they can do now to start directing their career path?
If looking for a path into civil service I would say take every exam possible.  The only thing to lose is the filling fee and time used when going to the exam.

I would also like to impart  that a major doesn’t automatically mean a person is stuck doing a specific career. Criminal Justice doesn’t mean that a person will be a cop; he or she can be a writer as well. English doesn’t mean that a person has to be a teacher or editor but they can also be law enforcement professional.  A CUNY education can take someone anywhere they might want to be.