Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security

Interested in the law enforcement field? The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Explorer Program will be offered at Jefferson-Lewis BOCES beginning December 4, 2018. Learn More.

About This Cluster

A career in Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security is a good match for someone that is up for a physical and mental challenge. It’s a career field that is looking for people that possess a wide range of skills. The industry of Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security can be tough and exhausting at times. The opportunity for growth for an individual in this field is good compared to other industries.

Careers in Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security are in a variety of different working conditions; from “overseeing individuals who have been arrested and are awaiting trial or who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to serve time in a jail, reformatory, or penitentiary, “to “help protect the public against fires and other emergencies by rapidly responding to a variety of emergencies,” to “controlling traffic to preventing and investigating crimes.” These are just three of the 5 areas in this field. You need to be willing to work in heat, cold, rain, and just about everything else Mother Nature can throw at you. In return, you get a rewarding career that offers incredible variety, provides plenty of opportunities to pursue the specialties that interest you.

Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2016, from

Skills and Interests

  • Emergency and Fire Management Services 
    • Helpful Traits:
      • Physically fit, Strong reading and writing skills.
    • Skills and Studies:
      • Firefighters typically need a high school diploma and training in emergency medical services. Most firefighters receive training at a fire academy, must pass written and physical tests, complete a series of interviews, and hold an emergency medical technician (EMT) certification.
    • Example: 911 Dispatchers 
      • Must have the ability to sit for 8 hours
      • Must be able to communicate well on the Phone & Radio
      • Handle stress as it is a high stress job
  • Corrections
    • Helpful Traits:
      • Working in a correctional facility can be stressful and dangerous.  Correctional officers and jailers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses, often resulting from confrontations with inmates.  Security must be provided 24 hours a day in a correctional facility, so officers work in shifts that cover all hours of the day and night, weekends and holidays. Bailiffs work with prisoners, who may become violent.
    • Skills and Studies:
      • Physically fit, strong reading and writing skills, critical thinking skills.
  • Security and Protective Services 
    • Helpful Traits 
      • Reading and Writing skills
      • Critical Thinking Skills
      • Clean record
    • Skills and Studies 
      • Reading and Writing skills
      • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Law Enforcement
    • Helpful Traits
      • Physically fit, height and weight in proportion, good eyesight and hearing, must be outgoing, ability to interface with the public.
      • Clean Record
      • Watch what you put on Facebook or other social media sites.  These are checked during the background investigation.
      • The most success comes from being organized and accessible.  Further, success only comes from having a supportive team that is driven by like interests.
      • If you take care of your people, your people will take care of you, and productivity will be maximized.
      • One of the most important parts is the institutional courage to make a decision.  Even a bad decision has some chance of success, but no decision has no chance of success.
      • Make a decision that you can justify, support it with logical fact, and sell it to your subordinates… and success will follow.
    • Skills and Studies 
      • Reading, writing, math
        • Ability to read and comprehend reports, recognize leads that need to be developed to prepare cases for court, sometimes “thinking outside the box” using investigative techniques that have a probability for success.
      • Civil service only requires a high school diploma or GED.  Most of those entering the profession have at least a two year degree.
      • Some larger city agencies require college.
        • Example: NYPD Yes, on or before the date of hire, a candidate must have successfully completed:
          • 60 college credits with a 2.0 G.P.A. from an accredited college or university
            • OR
          • 2 years of full-time active military service in the United States Armed Forces with an honorable discharge and have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
          • Most agencies require time on the job prior to moving into specialized units. (Detectives, SWAT, Crime Scene Unit)
          • Individuals who work in crime labs have degrees in a hard science, (Bio or Chemistry)
          • Federal agencies (FBI, DEA, ATF) require a bachelor degree.
      • Ability to think under pressure and stressful situations, making decisions that often impact the lives of others sometimes under very bad condition for those that you are “serving”.
  • Legal Services
    • Helpful Traits
      • Organized, Good time management skills, Being a self-starter
      • Being a good public speaker
      • Ethical, Empathy
      • Be able to read testimony back to a jury in a courtroom full of people
      • Knowledge of medical terminology, legal terminology and Latin terms
    • Skills and Studies
      • Writing
      • Public Speaking
      • Critical Thinking
      • Able to Think on the Fly
    • Example: Paralegals
      • Paralegals must be able to document and present their research and related information to their supervising attorney.
      • Paralegals need to be familiar with using computers for legal research and litigation support.  They also use computer programs for organizing and maintaining important documents.
      • Paralegals spend most of their time working with clients and other professionals and must be able to develop good relationships.  They must make clients feel comfortable sharing personal information related to their cases.
      • Paralegals may be responsible for many cases at one time.  They must adapt quickly to changing deadlines.
      • Paralegals need good research and investigative skills to conduct legal research.
    • Example: Court Reporter 
      • It is important that a Court Reporter be professional, dress professional.
      • Have the ability to have confidentiality regarding the contents of the testimony and be able to focus for hours at a time.
      • A Court Reporter must be very detail-oriented, and have a vast knowledge of the English Language- covering numerous topics, as well as use of proper punctuation.

Northern New York Community Foundation Scholarships

Since 1980, the Foundation has awarded more than $14.5 million dollars in scholarships to students of Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. The Northern New York Community Foundation annually awards scholarships to

  • high school seniors for their freshman year in college or technical school (Full-time enrollment required – this is a one year award.)
  • and non-traditional students for any year in college or technical school. (Part-time and full-time enrollment available) Applicants must reside in Jefferson, Lewis or St. Lawrence counties – applicants may re-apply each year.
  • High school juniors who will be studying STEM related careers (available ONLY to high school juniors in St. Lawrence County – this is a one year award.)

Application packets are available in February each year, and can be downloaded at that time as a PDF (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader ). Application packets will also be available through high school guidance counselors or at the Community Foundation office. Completed packets must be returned to the Foundation by April 1, by mail or hand delivered. They may not be submitted by e-mail.

  • A complete listing of all scholarships offered by the Foundation is available here. Applications can be found here.
  • All applications must be returned to NNYCF, or postmarked by April 15,2018
  • Applications are to be submitted to the NNYCF office as a packet. Please refer to the cover page of the application for "packet" requirements.
  • NNYCF offer non-traditional scholarships to students in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties. However, non-traditional students are individuals who have had a break in their academic studies, or are forced to change careers and are returning to college to pursue and additional degree. High school seniors should NOT be completing a non-traditional application. The application deadline for non-traditional students is June 1, 2018


Local High School Programs/Classes:A excellent way to gain experience while in High School is through Participation in Government Class. After High School, while in Law School, participate in Moot Court. Also any Job Shadowing opportunities are a wonderful opportunity as well.  As for Law Enforcement, student internships are available and also ride along with Road Troopers are a good way to gain experience during high school. Take Typing and Shorthand if your school offers it, and medical terminology, legal terminology or Latin when it comes to Court Reporters.

BOCES Programs:

Jefferson-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida BOCES:

St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES:

Emblem-Color  SUNY Canton Degree Programs:  State University of New York at Canton Northern New York’s two and four-year college for technology, health, management and public service.

Criminal Investigation (B. Tech)                                                         Homeland Security (B. Tech)

Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement Leadership (B.Tech)             Legal Studies (B. Tech) Criminal Justice (A.A.S.)

 Local College / University Majors:



Can’t find what you’re looking for? Search colleges by location and interest here.


  • $45,970 – Firefighters
  • $35,000 – 911 Dispatchers (Starting Rate)
  • $39,700 – Correctional Officers and Bailiffs
  • $25,140 – Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers
  • $37,410 – Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers
  • $58,630 – Police and Detectives
  • Source: National Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Court Reporting 
    • A Freelane Reporter: $40,000 – $60,000 Annually
    • Courthouse Reporter: $50,000 – $100,000 Annually
    • Closed Captioning Reporter: $40,000 – $70,000 Annually
    • C.A.R.T. Reporting for Hearing Impaired: $40,000 – $60,000 Annually


Additional Links 

Extended Interviews