Police Training

Everything you need to know about police officer training

Becoming a police officer is a rewarding and exciting career choice, but it's not for everyone. Police officer training is challenging, and the work afterward can often be stressful and difficult. However, knowing that they can do some good in the world by keeping others safe is enough incentive for many people who choose policing as their career path.

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Police Officer Training

Police training starts long before you enroll in police school, also called a police college or academy. You must have a high-school diploma or GED, a valid driver's license, a fingerprint check and a medical exam. Some police academies also favor specific academic achievements, though these will vary by institution.

Once you are accepted into a police academy, training will include (but isn't limited to):

  • Physical techniques and weapons handling. Police officers undergo physical and tactical training, and learn a variety of techniques for controlling situations where they are dealing with individuals who are intoxicated, aggressive, or engaged in violence or other illegal activity. Simulated situations and reenactments are an important part of the curriculum.
  • Administrative duties. Report writing is a big component of police work, so students will be trained on how to correctly create and file a report. Arrest and booking procedures are also taught.
  • Academic studies. Police students will learn about the law and ethics, and also be trained to administer awareness programs, such as drug, gang or AIDS awareness, to adults or youths.
  • Driving. A driver-training component will be part of the curriculum, preparing students to drive an emergency vehicle.

Ongoing physical training is also emphasized in police programs, to ensure students meet and maintain the level of physical fitness required for effective police work.

After Police Academy

Once you have completed police officer training, your academy will assess your skills through written and practical testing. If you are deemed fit, you will either begin taking on assignments through the police station associated with your academy or be required to apply for jobs elsewhere. You can also apply for further training through a CSI school or other institution if you want a more highly specialized profession.

Job prospects for police officers are good, particularly in rural and "high-crime" areas. Salary depends on the particular branch and geographical area you work in. While entry-level salaries for police officers are low, they increase quickly with experience.