Becoming a police officer in the United States is a tough and challenging career. It requires dedication, hard work, and determination. However, it also has a lot of perks and benefits that make it worth it.
Given the high amount of responsibility and trust bestowed upon law enforcement, the qualifications for becoming a police officer are likely to be greater than in many other jobs. The specific criteria and process will vary
slightly based on the state, county, or town you’re applying to work in. However, you should be aware of a few common prerequisites for becoming a police officer.
You've come to the correct place if you're wondering how to become a police officer. Continue reading for a high-level overview of the road to a career in law enforcement.
4 Steps to becoming a police officer
How long does it take to become a police officer, and what are the requirements? The information provided below will help you better understand the road ahead.
1. Successfully navigate the application process:
You may anticipate every law enforcement agency you apply to will have an application process. These processes may involve a basic job application and testing requirements. Each agency is reportable to its specific states, Police Officer Standards and Training certifications, (POST). Each state will have specific POST standards that the agencies must adhere to. Traditionally, this will include an application, physical fitness test, basic background requirements and psychological standards.
As part of the application process, you will take part in
run various background checks on you, including criminal history and even credit history . If you are concerned about how your past may affect your eligibility, you should speak with a police academy admissions representative or recruiters, I would also encourage you to review your states POST standards. In this book, I explain in detail how to successfully navigate this process.
2. Academy training:
The qualifications for this phase can vary greatly depending on the state where you intend to work as a police officer. Some states do not require officers to have a college education, even if they would prefer it. In some places, such as Minnesota, becoming a police officer requires an Associate's degree or similar training. I explain in my book the issues with requiring college as a prerequisite. It is not as obvious as one may think. Regardless of what is required your educational history will be evaluated as part of the application process, and then compared to the job announcement you are applying for.Once you successfully navigate the application process and pass the background examinations you will have to complete a police academy. Your states POST will determine how many hours of certification you will need. For example, a police officer, will require more training than a certified probation officer.
Regardless of your chosen course, your training will involve classroom teaching in state and municipal legislation and topics such as constitutional law, civil rights, and police ethics. Recruits are additionally trained and given supervised practice in areas like as patrol, traffic control, handgun usage, self-defense, first aid, and emergency response.
Most large agencies will facilitate their own academies, while smaller agencies will either send you to a State Academy or they may require you to obtain this certification on your own. Large portion of this book is dedicated to teaching you how to graduate from a training academy.
3. Field Training
Once you graduate your academy training, you will enter field training. Field Training is a structured process that applies what you learned in the academy to a real world. It goes far beyond a simple on the job training program as you will be evaluated daily. There is also a relatively high attrition rate in Field Training. I explain in this book how to successfully apply your academy training to have a successful Filed Training. My goal is to give you the tools you need to become a graduate of the program.
4. Continuing education and career advancement
Even after you've finished all the procedures to become a police officer, you'll still have much to learn. Nothing beats on-the-job training to teach you all of the particular areas in which police officers may desire or need to learn more. The finest cops are always learning.
Like those in other occupations, officers must complete continuing education requirements to renew their license. For example, Minnesota police officers must complete 48 hours of continuing education to keep their license over their three-year licensing period. However, some states are very behind and require no annual educational requirements. There is no federal training standard for police officers. Thus, some states are decades behind in their annual training and it shows.
Most active officers must also undergo yearly training in the use of force and once every five years in emergency vehicle operations/pursuit driving. The amount of annual training you will undertake is dictated by your states POST certifications.Departments may also offer various educational opportunities to encourage their officers to advance. Climbing the police ranks may need further training or qualifications.
In this book, I explain the stages of development you will go through as a police officer and how these stages will allow you to develop yourself into a detective, sergeant, or a more well-rounded patrol officer. I explain how develop a successful career path based on your interests. You will also learn which agencies lead the county in training certifications and how you can get hired by those agencies. Finally, you will learn exactly where law enforcement in the United States can improve and better serve its citizens.
"Policing Las Vegas" by Joseph Sobrio is a great guidebook for young people who want to serve as police officers. The book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or authorhouse.com.