Step 1: Are You Qualified?
• Being 18 or older (some states only accept candidates over 21)
• Being a U.S. citizen
• Having a high school diploma or its GED equivalent
• Passing both reading and writing entrance exams
• Passing all background checks
• Having a clean criminal record
• Having a valid driver’s license
• Meeting physical standards and passing a physical fitness test
Step 2: Choosing a Police Academy
You can choose one of the several police departments that specialize in fighting various types of crimes, for example, drug trafficking, terrorism, homicide, road patrol, etc. In case you have some particular goal, you should contact the department you want to work for in the future and find out whether they have any specific requirements for applicants. You may need to enroll in their specialized training facility instead of an academy if they do.
Step 3: Exam Preparation
• Phase one is studying the theory. There are some guidebooks you can find online or order in your nearest bookshop. Studying them will not only help you pass the exams, but will assist with your future studies as well. Many people drop out of the academy because they cannot keep up with the theoretical courses taught there.
• Phase two is physical training, as physical fitness is very important for a police officer.The exam you will need to pass won’t have any fancy exercises involved, but you won’t be able to succeed if your speed and stamina are lacking. You can find information about police academy workouts online and use it to design your personal training plan. Starting this portion of your training as soon as possible will help you condition your body in a way that will make it easier for you to handle the workouts you will go through once you get accepted.
• Phase three is preparation for an interview. You should research the most common questions asked during interviews such as this. This will help you feel more confident and calm during the meeting itself.
Step 4: Becoming a Real Officer
During your time in the academy you learn:
• Law and how to implement it in real life situations
• Using different weapons and tools available to a police officer (baton, handcuffs, etc.)
• Psychology and the art of negotiations
You will also improve your physical condition greatly. Otherwise, you won’t be able to pass the exams and graduate.
After you finish your studies and pass the necessary exams, you will be able to jaw the police force. In case you don’t have an ambition of joining some specific division, you will be assigned to a department. You’ll have to work your way from the very bottom as you will be the lowest ranking officer in the station. However, hard work and initiative will allow you progress in your law enforcement career.