Requirements to become a police officer
Police officers are in charge of keeping law and order in the community. They are responsible for enforcing laws and maintaining peace. Individuals who break the law are pursued and apprehended by the police. They arrest criminals who are suspects, they resolve community issues, quickly respond to any emergency, and they investigate crimes.
Police officers are given assignments to patrol specific areas in a district and are made to become familiar with their patrol areas when they investigate suspicious circumstances. Training to become a police officer is a smart career move if you are looking for a challenging job that will expose you to new situations every day. Police recruits have to go through a series of examinations that are determined by their academy.
The steps involved in becoming a police officer:
Formal education is not typically required to work as a police officer; nowadays, more departments are looking for recruits who have earned a degree and are ready to tackle the higher levels of management. Here’s how you can become a Police officer:
1. Basic pre-requisite
The Police department requires their recruits to have a high school diploma or GED. It is the minimum formal education requirement for most police officers. Some departments hire graduates as soon as they are out of high school. Potential officers need to be at least 21 years old. Other essential prerequisites for police officers include being a U.S. citizen and having a valid driver's license and a clean record. Felonies will disqualify someone from this profession.
It is not required to become a police officer, but a bachelor’s degree is needed for more advanced law enforcement positions, like the FBI, federal departments and so on. It involves completing a bachelor's degree program in criminal justice, law enforcement or a related discipline. Potential candidates who are Degree-holders may advance their careers faster than recruits who do not have a relevant degree. Some departments are known to provide tuition assistance to officers who seek degrees in related fields.
3. Attend the Police Academy
Large police departments send their potential recruits to their police academies. Smaller precincts send their recruits to attend larger academies. Academy programs last for 3-4 months and combine classroom and hands-on, physical training.
Recruits learn about Civil rights, State and Local laws, Incident reporting, Crime investigation, Constitutional law, and Criminal Psych. The training prospective police officers for active duty. A police academy teaches recruits Patrol, risk assessment, accident, and emergency response, First-aid and cardiopulmonary, resuscitation, use of firearms, Self-defense and Traffic command.
4. Pass the Exams and Tests
Applicants must pass on an entrance exam to gain a position on the police force, Passing various examinations ensures the applicants' competence. Most departments administer tests that are physical, like vision, hearing, and agility. Some departments conduct psychiatric or background interviews to assess a recruit's personality and to judge whether they are suitable for a career in the field of law enforcement. Most candidates will also need to pass a drug and lie detector tests.
5. Finding a Job
There is a report stating that the state and federal police and detective jobs are very competitive. Once a police officer is hired, however, there is generally minimal turnover.
6. Get promoted
Depending on the department, getting promoted depends on the experience level, reviews on your performance, scoring well on a written exam and attaining additional skills and training. There is an increase in pay with a promotion, the level of responsibility and potential bureaucracy increases along with it. You will be facing challenges and potentially dangerous situations on a regular basis if you are recruited as a police officer.