How To Become A Police Officer In Washington
Those hoping to work in law enforcement in Washington can look forward to a career with plenty of opportunities for growth. Over 9,600 patrol officers and sheriffs deputies are employed in Washington state, earning an annual average salary of $78,600.1 Known for its varied and beautiful geography including mountains, rainforest, and rugged coastline, as well as the cosmopolitan city of Seattle, Washington is a great place to live. The minimum standards for police officers in Washington are set by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission . Hiring agencies may also set requirements that exceed the state minimums. Continue reading to learn more about becoming a police officer in Washington.
Police Officer Selection Procedures
Aside from passing the physical fitness test standards, you also need to go through the following process. Note that the list only includes the most basic requirements, and in all likelihood the academy may impose additional steps.
- Pass the Civil Service written examination.
- Applicants have to undergo a through physical examination.
- Applicants have to undergo a polygraph screening.
- You will be subjected to a complete psychological assessment.
- If youre applying at the Miami Police Department and other departments in the state, youll need to undergo a background check and provide access to your records.
The toughest part is the physical training, and its here where a lot of the dropout rate surges. During the course of training youll be doing a lot of crawling, running and lifting / pushing heavy objects. The objective of course, is to determine your agility, flexibility and endurance and if you have what it takes to be a cop.
One of the best ways to learn how to prepare for the police academy is to use a guide like . Unlike other tutorials on the subject, this guide provides comprehensive coverage of pre and post academy workouts and explains laws and procedures that aspiring police officers need to know.
Do States Require A Degree To Become A Police Officer
There isnt a national standard for educational requirements for police officers. Its up to each individual law enforcement agency to set hiring qualifications.
Most local and state police departments require only a high school diploma to start out as a police officer but will offer incentives such as pay increases or tuition reimbursements for officers to earn an associate or bachelors degree. You can easily check the requirements of each police organization youre interested in on its website.
Some departments require a certain number of college credit hours, military service, or previous experience as a police officer.
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Do I Need A License To Carry A Firearm
One of the following courses of action must be taken prior to the firearms segment of the Basic Curriculum:
- The Student Officer must have a Class A License to Carry
- A person with a Class A License to Carry must transport the firearms to and from the range
- The department must make arrangements for the transportation of their firearms to and from the range and place in the safekeeping of an instructor
Police Officer Hiring Process
The police officer hiring process is much different than that of any other job. It is not simply attending an interview and then being approved for the position. In order to become a police officer, you need to undergo a series of tests and each of them can disqualify you. The entire process is quite competitive and each police department can put more importance on a single element of the process rather than on the other. Nevertheless, the hiring process consists of several elements that are common for each agency no matter if we talk about local, state or federal law enforcement.
Once your application is accepted, you need to be tested in order to prove that you have what it takes to do the job. This includes checking both your general knowledge, writing skills, physical abilities, and your background. Here are the steps that you need to successfully pass through, in order to become a police officer:
- Physical ability test
The physical ability test checks the fitness of the candidate and their readiness to face the physical challenges of the police officer job. Basically, there are two approaches adopted by the agencies into performing the PAT: the job simulation method and the fitness-based method. In both cases, it is a pass/fail test and the applicant must meet certain criteria in order to pass. Check with the department which of the two approaches they use and train for the test.
- Background check
- Psychological screening
- Oral board interview
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How Important Is Accreditation
Accreditation refers to an outside organization reviewing a particular school or program to ensure it meets certain standards of quality. Accreditation is important for police training programs because it serves as a mark of quality graduates who complete their education and training can be confident that what they have earned will be accepted by future employers and peers. The specific entities that offer accreditation will vary depending on the program. For instance, many associate or bachelors degree programs will not be accredited at the program level, but the school offering the degree will be accredited. This will usually be a regional or national accrediting organization recognized by the US Department of Education.
As for the accreditation of police training academies, the most prominent is the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA.
Preparing For A Police Officer Career: Find The Right Environment
When an aspiring police officer chooses to go to school to obtain formal education, a world of possibilities opens up. Here are some of the potential places where the certificate or degree can be earned.
Some vocational or trade schools have certificate programs that may count towards college credit, such as for a future associate or bachelors degree. Some might offer associate degrees. Vocational or trade schools can provide a way to save money on college costs while receiving necessary college course instruction.
Military experience is well regarded by law enforcement agencies and police departments. Familiarity with firearms, mental toughness, physical conditioning, discipline and an understanding of command structure and culture are all benefits that come with hiring a recruit with military experience.
Community colleges provide multiple options for students who want to become police officers. Students can complete their associate degree in two years or a certificate in a few months. As an added bonus, many community colleges allow credits earned in a certificate program to go towards an associate degree.
Law Enforcement School
Departments that require a bachelors degree are often found at the federal level. However, even if a four-year degree isnt required, getting a bachelors degree can be a prudent decision: it can increase the chances of getting hired and promoted.
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Do You Get To Go Home During Police Academy
Depending on where you train to be a police officer, you may or may not get to go home during police academy. For RCMP, your training troop of 32 cadets live at an on-site facility called The Depot for the full duration of training.
While a few municipal training academies have recruits live on the grounds during training, most academies have recruits go home at night. If you are training at an academy where you live on the grounds, going home during the training can be very difficult to balance as it is quite exhausting, both mentally and physically.
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The Physical Fitness Qualifier And Candidate Advancement Program
In order to better prepare for the exam and the physical demands of the academy, you are required to attend the Candidate Advancement Program and complete the Physical Fitness Qualifier . You must complete the PFQ at least once prior to appointment. Your goal is to score 50 or higher on the PFQ and you are encouraged to take it as many times as you like. If you are struggling to reach the goal of 50 you must attend CAP to get tips and training from our recruitment officers.
The PFQ consists of four events: 1) maximum sit-ups in one minute, 2) 300-meter sprint, 3) maximum push-ups in one minute, and 4) 1.5 mile-run. This is the same physical fitness test that recruit officers take the third day of the Police Academy.
The Academy Physical Training Program is intense and demanding, the first physical fitness test occurs during the first week of the Academy. It is critical that candidates dont wait until they are in the Academy to get into good physical shape. It is recommended to begin a physical conditioning program as soon as you apply.
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Pennsylvania Trooper Or Highway Patrol Requirements
The Pennsylvania State Police are responsible for traffic control and enforcement on state highways as well as crime scene response and investigation on state property or in cooperation with local law enforcement. Anyone looking to become a Pennsylvania state trooper must meet MPOETC standards and:
- Be between 21 and 40 years of age
- Be a registered resident of Pennsylvania
- Have a valid drivers license
- Have at least 60 college credit hours OR four years of full-time law enforcement experience OR two years of law enforcement experience with powers of arrest plus 30 college credit hours
- Satisfy the PSPs personal appearance policies regarding hygiene, body art, and hairstyle
Once admitted to the recruitment program, all candidates must complete a training period of approximately 27 weeks, during which trainees will train in an intense paramilitary-style environment. The starting salary for Pennsylvania state troopers is $61,820 per year.2
Does The Police Academy Cost Anything
For many police recruits, attending the academy is not only free, but it will also earn them a salary. That’s because they have already been hired as police officers, and the academy, generally run by the hiring agency or the state in which they will be working, is considered part of the new job. These officers can expect to earn either their starting salary in full or a fraction of it, with the remainder kicking in upon graduation.
While many states, including Washington and Oregon, require recruits to be offered a jobbefore completing the academy, others allow aspiring officers to attend stand-alone academies, generally offered by community colleges and local tech schools. These programs do require students to pay tuition, which again will vary depending on the location and institution. The Basic Law Enforcement Training program at Wayne County Community College in North Carolina, for example, costs around $2,000 to attend. Some programs may also charge extra fees for things like the required background check, fingerprinting, application for state certification, physical evaluation and uniforms.
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Police Academy Required Criminal Background Check
The goal of the background check is to evaluate whether or not you have the moral, ethical and legal character essential to someone with the honor of carrying a weapon and badge. This means that the background checks given to applicants are extremely thorough. From the time the application is sent in, applicants are being judged. Academies are looking for those who are thorough and responsible therefore applications should be filled out accurately, completely, and in a timely fashion. Preliminary investigations will look into criminal history as well as: education, residential history, employment history, driving record, credit score. There is a chance that the police academy will question the applicants friends, family, past employers, and former teachers to gather information on work ethic and overall character.
Pass The Licensing Exam
The next step to becoming a police officer is to earn a passing score on your states police licensing board exam. Your education and training will prepare you to take the Peace Officer Standards and Training exam.
Each state has its own licensing board, so the tests will also vary. But generally speaking, most POST exams cover topics like: practical application and techniques, civil and criminal law, community policing, victims rights and management and communication. By passing this capstone exam, you are licensed to become a police officer and enforce the law in your jurisdiction. You are now free to seek employment with a police department.
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Pennsylvania Police Officer Requirements
As in most states, there are a number of requirements candidates must meet before being eligible for active duty in Pennsylvania. The Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission oversees the process of becoming a Pennsylvania cop or sheriffs deputy and sets minimum standards. However, local departments may stipulate their own requirements on top of the state requirements. For example, although the MPOETC requires a high school diploma or GED equivalent, local departments may require an associates degree or higher. Even if a college degree isnt mandatory for employment, most departments look favorably upon college experience.
The MPOETC minimum standards state that to become a Pennsylvania police officer candidates must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be a US citizen
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When Will I Know If I Have Been Accepted To Attend
30 days prior to a MPTC operated academy start date the MPTC will notify departments and candidates the status of their application however, academy registrations may close sooner if sufficient completed application packets are received to fill the class with full-time officers. Reserve and/or sponsored applications are not reflected in this number. Reserve/sponsored applications are only filled on the deadline date if there is room. Priority is give to all full-time applications.
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Training Institutions For Police Officers
Now that you know what options there are for becoming a police officer, its important to know where they are offered. There are many schools that exist to help you move into the law enforcement career of your choice. Here are the options:
These post-high school institutions focus their programs and curriculums on skill-oriented or hands-on training. This training can come in the form of what effectively amounts to an in-house police academy. Vocational and trade schools can provide the fastest way to obtain the training necessary to become a police officer and allow students to receive police academy training without attending the official police academy. Its also fairly affordable compared to earning a college degree. Keep in mind that graduation doesnt guarantee a job in law enforcement and may not result in an academic credential that provides opportunities for professional advancement.
Best for? Those confident in obtaining a job offer after graduation and want to serve as a police officer as quickly as possible.
Best for? Students who would like to earn a college degree along with their law enforcement training.
Best for? Those who love serving their country or community will benefit from the rewarding experience that can come from military service.
Best for? Aspiring police officers who want an extra way to stand out from the pack of applicants, as well as those looking for federal work.
Step : Minimum Qualifications
First, you must determine if you are eligible to become a Peace Officer in Georgia. According to Georgia Law you must meet or be willing to meet all of the criteria below to become employed or certified as a peace officer:
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Step : Interview With The Academy Manager
After completing the above steps, your chosen academy will contact you to schedule an appointment for an interview with the Academy Manager. This should be considered a formal interview, so please dress accordingly. The Academy Manager will determine the candidates demeanor and suitability to become a certified Peace Officer in the State of Georgia.
What Is A Police Academy
A police academy is an education center that trains recruits to become police officers. These institutions focus on both the physical and academic aspects of police work. Police academies put recruits through physically exhausting and mentally taxing schedules to build disciplined officers who can handle the responsibilities of the police force, similar to a military basic training program.
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