How to Become a Police Officer
A career in law enforcement offers a vast variety of professional opportunities, and some of those opportunities are even available to candidates without college degrees.
Many people however are confused about the process to pursue a career in fighting crime in America.
Here are the necessary steps to potentially attain a career in law enforcement.
In high school you should take U.S. government & politics (civics or poli-sci), psychology and U.S. history AP classes to prepare for your continued education. Special dedication to the behavior sciences, business math and computer applications courses may also prove helpful.
Holding a professional degree in political science or criminal justice will likely expedite the process of employment.
- Make a commitment to living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a competitive physical fitness level to contribute to your athletic development typically required by the police academy.
- Consider a commitment to military service as two to three years in America’s armed forces will mentally and physically prepare you for law enforcement.
- Understand that you will have to submit to a background check; youthful indiscretions could prohibit you from attaining a career in law enforcement so be mindful of your choices and your participation in even questionable activities.
- Pass the written civil service exam for police officers; distributed information and materials can be found at your local police department.
- Pass the physical exam, this normally includes a standard vision, hearing, endurance, strength and agility test.
- Pass the lie detector test, and drug test. Many local governments require officers to continuously submit to random drug testing during employment.
- After having an interview with a senior officer, many precincts will also require you to take a personality test that assesses judgment, integrity, responsibility and other personally traits to determine job appropriate placement.
Once accepted, you will then be sent to the police academy and academy programs may last anywhere from three to twelve months.
Following assignment, police officers normally also attend annual seminars and workshops to ensure that they constantly adapt to changing community needs, cultural expansion and sensitivity, and ever-changing legal procedures.
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