There’s never been a better time to begin a career as a law enforcement transcriptionist. More and more people are searching for remote opportunities to work from home. Starting a career as a transcriptionist today is a smart move.
Besides developing excellent typing and listening skills, the barrier to entry for transcriptionists is relatively low. More importantly, experienced law enforcement transcriptionists can earn $60,000 or more working remotely.
Law Enforcement Transcription Is Growing
The need for transcriptionists that specialize in working with law enforcement audio files is growing.
Think about it; law enforcement agencies across the country become overwhelmed chasing criminals and investigating cases. The last thing any trained police officer wants to do is spend valuable time transcribing an audio file.
Then there’s the increased usage of portable cameras, commonly referred to as “body cams.” Most police officers who work a beat or patrol wear body cameras that capture both audio and video.
For example, individuals stopped by officers may want to review or challenge their cases. Body cams provide police departments and the public a way to see if proper procedures are used and followed. That reason alone is why the need for law enforcement transcription should remain vital for the foreseeable future.
How Much Do Law Enforcement Transcriptionists Earn?
The amount a law enforcement transcriptionist can earn depends on your time and effort. Experienced transcriptionist that specializes in law enforcement work can earn $60,000 a year or more.
Law enforcement transcriptionists are paid either by the audio minute, line or page. Here’s an example. Let’s say you are transcribing a 30-minute audio file. It might take an inexperienced transcriptionist around three hours to complete their work. Someone with experience and a higher skill level might complete the same assignment in half the time. Of course, there are several variables that impact how quickly files can be transcribed. See what are the best transcription jobs to do here.
Our law enforcement transcriptionists earn anywhere from $0.80 to $1.10 per minute of audio.
That’s why starting a new career as a law enforcement transcriber today is important. The sooner you begin, the quicker you will increase your transcription earnings.
Is Law Enforcement Transcription Different From Legal Transcription?
Although there are similarities between transcribing legal and law enforcement audio files, a few differences exist.
Transcribing audio files of courtroom proceedings and depositions are the most common types of work for legal transcriptionists. A law enforcement transcriptionist’s most familiar work involves transcribing audio recordings of criminal investigations, including suspect interviews and body-cam recordings from field officers.
Both law enforcement and legal transcriptionists are privy to sensitive information. That’s why transcriptionists are required to undergo criminal background checks.
Confidentiality is essential when transcribing law enforcement audio files. Cases involving crimes against minors, murder, and other violent offenses are often discussed in vivid detail. A transcriptionist can never reveal such information to anyone, including family or close friends. Premature disclosure of such sensitive information could deter a criminal investigation and violate numerous local, state, and federal laws.
Law Enforcement Transcriptionist Requirements
Today law enforcement transcriptionists come from many different backgrounds. Those with knowledge or previous law enforcement experience are excellent candidates for this type of remote transcription work.
There are a handful of online courses that offer some instruction in law enforcement transcription. However, real-life experience, combined with advanced typing and listening skills, is the best law enforcement transcriptionist’s characteristics.
Typing, followed by listening skills, are the two most crucial skills a law enforcement transcriptionist can possess. Law enforcement transcriptionists with low to moderate experience usually type at least 65 words per minute (wpm) with a 99 percent accuracy rate. Transcriptionists with years of experience can type 75-95 wpm with very few if any mistakes.
Excellent listening skills are essential when transcribing law enforcement audio files. Often, audio files recorded by law enforcement agencies in the field are difficult to hear or when multiple people speak over one another.
One key to law enforcement transcription is understanding and accurately recording words and phrases unique to the profession. That’s why transcriptionists with law enforcement experience or knowledge are in demand.
Best Equipment For Law Enforcement Transcription
There are several tools that transcriptionists use to produce work easier and faster. A late-model desktop or laptop computer with sufficient RAM and storage is vital.
- Desktop or laptop with at least 8 MB of RAM (16 MB recommended)
- Quality headphones
- Foot Pedal
- Mechanical & ergonomic keyboard
- Access to a high-speed and a private internet connection (at least 100 Mbps of download speed is recommended)
An ergonomic, high-quality keyboard is an essential tool in law enforcement transcription. Your hands should rest comfortably on the keyboard, and your arms must be properly positioned for extended use.
Experienced transcribers use both high-quality headphones and a foot pedal. A foot pedal allows you to control actions without having to use a mouse.
That’s why we recommend the Infinity USB Digital Foot Pedal and the best closed-back headphones you can afford.
The Spectra USB Transcription Headset is an excellent choice. High-quality headphones are crucial when audio quality is low or when multiple people are speaking over each other.
Software designed for transcription makes many computer tasks more efficient. The software most commonly used by transcriptionists typically depends on the company. Microsoft Word is available by subscription and is widely used. As for browsers, Safari or Google Chrome are popular with many transcriptionists. Another transcription software we recommend is Express Scribe by NCH Software.
Having a legal dictionary at your disposal can also help with difficult legal words and phrases. Once you become familiar with law enforcement terminology, your comprehension and typing speed should also increase..
Access to high-speed internet is also essential. Upload speeds of at least 10 Mbps are preferred. I would highly recommend download speeds of 100 Mbps or more if available and affordable.
Although the tools and services referenced are important, you don’t need everything to begin a law enforcement transcription career. Including some or many of these tools should improve your efficiency and earnings.
See our recommendations for the best transcription equipment.
Finding Work As a Law Enforcement Transcriptionist
Beginning transcriptionists typically begin by transcribing general assignments. Once you gain experience and speed, you can seek specialty transcription work. In addition to transcribing law enforcement audio files, others may prefer legal transcription work or even a medical transcription career.
Regardless of which company you transcribe for, we highly recommend you confirm that the company operates and is based in the United States. Foreign companies have infiltrated the transcription industry. Many times their transcriptionists do not understand English at the level necessary to earn top money in law enforcement transcription.
Not having an excellent command of English or not understanding the jargon commonly used in law enforcement transcription industry may negatively impact transcribing audio files’ accuracy and speed.
If you believe you have the experience and skill level to work with a high-quality transcription company like Ditto Transcripts, LLC, then we invite you to complete our online employment form.