POLICE ACADEMY 101

law enforcement advice, police academy, police blog post -

POLICE ACADEMY 101

 

BASIC POLICE ACADEMY REQUIREMENTS

police officer at protest

Starting the police academy isn’t as easy as you think, but not to worry its also not rocket science. Most law enforcement jobs, or government jobs have a long and systematic hiring process. Before starting the police academy there are a few basic requirements almost all states require.

  • Minimum 21 years of age
  • Clean record (No felonies and specific misdemeanor convictions)
  • Ability to pass a background, psychological and medical test
  • Ability to possess a firearm
  • High school diploma and college units (some agencies require no college)

Check with the specific agency or department for the more detailed list of requirements. If you answered yes to the requirements above, then you’re already ahead of the game.

 

APPLYING TO THE POLICE ACADEMY

 

Before applying to a police academy, you need to know the difference between sponsoring yourself through the academy or have a department sponsor you. Sponsoring yourself through a police academy means you pick up the costs of the tuition, equipment, and other fees associated with training. If a department sponsors you through, they pick up the costs and usually pay you a salary. There are a few pros and cons to doing this.

SELF SPONSORING THROUGH AN ACADEMY

PROS

CONS

No commitment to a specific department

Out of pocket expense

Unable to be hired during the police academy

No job security

 

Job hunting while in the academy

 

DEPARTMENT PAID ACADEMY

PROS

CONS

Guaranteed job after graduation

Committed to an agency or department

Paid to attend the academy (monthly salary)

 

All expenses paid

 

 

The easiest and most expensive route is self-sponsoring yourself through an academy. If you are thinking about having a department pay your way you must first go through their hiring process which includes a physical test, written test, oral board(s), medical tests, psychological tests, background tests, polygraph tests and more. While this might sound overwhelming it really isn’t since it is usually taken once step at a time.

 

I would recommend having a department sponsor you during the police academy if you have the opportunity. Having a stable paycheck and a job during the police academy allows you to focus on graduating and preparing for field training.

 

HOW MUCH DOES THE POLICE ACADEMY COST?

 

The average cost of most police academies with gear included is approximately $6700. While calling your local police academy will give you the most accurate answer, they can also usually provide a breakdown of each individual course. Luckily, if you are a veteran most academies accept the GI Bill to cover the costs.

If you hired by a department in most cases the academy doesn’t cost you a dime.

police officers at work

WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE POLICE ACADEMY?

 

Depending on which academy you go to will depend on your overall experience. Some academies are designed to be high stress, meaning you have a drill instructor or RTO (regional training officer) yelling at you 24/7. Some police academies are not like this and focus more on other areas of education.

police recruit during physical training

With most police academies you can expect to do a lot of running, pushups, and boot shining. You will spend most of your time doing the following:

  • Learning codes, policy & procedure, and case law
  • Basic field operations (traffic stops, field contacts, and responding to calls)
  • Force options (gun range, less lethal options, etc.)
  • Critical thinking scenarios

Don’t over think all the requirements and take each assignment day by day. This allows you to succeed and maybe even have fun.

police recruit learning law and cases

 

WHEN TO APPLY FOR THE POLICE ACADEMY?

Time to get the ball rolling and pursue your dreams. Now is a great time to start applying to police departments and agencies you are interested in. The sooner you apply and follow through the hiring process, the sooner you can start the academy. Due to the need for qualified police officers, departments have created police recruiters to assist you with this process and answer all of your questions. Good luck and keep an eye out for future articles!