Learning the US constitution is imperative.
After all, you are seeking to become a qualified law enforcement officer – and many of the laws you uphold are based on this constitution. You may already be familiar with some of the 27 amendments to the US constitution. If you are not, we have tabled all 27 below (note 33 amendments were adopted by Congress, but only 27 of these ratified).
The first 10 of these amendments are part of what is known as the Bill of Rights.
The Fifth Amendment, for example, prohibits self-incrimination. In practice, this refers to the Miranda Rights that are read out to suspects before they are arrested – for instance, “the right to remain silent” and right not to provide information to police officers.
The First Amendment, too, is important because it enshrines freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion – all of which are protected and upheld by law enforcement. As you work as a police officer, these amendments will crop up time and time again, perhaps even daily.
US constitutional amendments and law enforcement are therefore intertwined.
It is no surprise, then, that these amendments – if learned correctly – can really boost your performance during the oral board exam. If, when answering a question, you can quote or reference the US constitution in defense of your position or argument, this will really impress the police interview panel.
It demonstrates to the panel:
Understanding Miranda rights, for instance, inform the oral board panel that you have done considerable research about how arrests should be conducted. It informs their judgment that, if an issue were to arise, you are likely to be the applicant who makes that extra effort to learn about the right course of action. It shows you are willing to learn in ways that other candidates have not shown.
So, whilst learning US constitutional amendments and law enforcement may not be the most exciting part of police exam preparation, it is a critical part if you want to impress the oral board panel.
There are only 27 amendments to the US constitution, and, with time, you will commit these to memory in no time. Below, we quickly review these amendments and list the key features of each.
|1st||Freedom of religion; freedom of speech; freedom of the press; right of assembly; right to petition US government.|
|2nd||Right to bear arms.|
|3rd||Restricting gatherings of soldiers in private homes.|
|4th||Prohibits unreasonable searches; including establishing the parameters for conducting search warrants.|
|5th||Criminal procedure – including Miranda rights; indictment rules by a jury; and rights to due process for suspects.|
|6th||Criminal prosecutions – permitting defendants the right to a speedy public trial with an impartial jury. Suspects must be given notice of the crimes to which they are accused.|
|7th||Protects right to a jury trial in civil lawsuits.|
|8th||Prohibits cruel and unusual punishment; and limits the ability to force excessive fines and bail on suspects.|
|9th||Rights not enumerated in the Constitution are retained by the US citizenry.|
|10th||Federal government is limited in power by the powers given to it by the Constitution.|
|11th||States are immune from lawsuits against out-of-state citizens or foreigners not living within state borders.|
|12th||Holds that the president and vice president are elected together rather than considering the vice president the “runner up” in the presidential election.|
|14th||Defines citizenship. Established “equal protection of the law” to all citizens.|
|15th||Prohibits refusal to allow citizens to vote based on race or color.|
|16th||Allows Congress to levy income tax.|
|17th||Established direct election of US Senators by popular vote.|
|18th||Banned manufacture or sale of alcohol (this was repealed on 5 December, 1933 via the 21st Amendment).|
|19th||Prohibits refusal to allow citizens to vote based on sex.|
|20th||If President-elect dies before taking office, the Vice President is to be inaugurated as President. It also states the dates at which a president is inaugurated (20 January) and when members of Congress are assembled (3 January).|
|21st||Repealed the 18th Amendment on the ban on the sale or manufacture of alcohol.|
|22nd||Limits the number of times a President can be elected.|
|23rd||Granted District of Columbia (DC) electors in the Electoral College to decide who becomes US president.|
|24th||Prevents voting rights being taken away from citizens if they do not pay a tax.|
|25th||Manages presidential succession; and what were to happen if a president were to become incapacitated, for example, or who was unfit to remain as president.|
|26th||Prohibits the denial of the right to vote for anyone over the age of 18 years based on age alone.|
|27th||Delays laws that affect Congressional salary until after the next election of representatives.|
Found this helpful? Master the police officer exam with our complete, online self-paced course – all you need to master the police test and make it through to the academy to become a qualified law enforcement officer in the United States.
Our course is tailored for the needs and demands of the 2023 police exam;
the complete online test preparation product tailored for police officer, sheriff deputy, correctional officer, and state trooper applicants.