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Becoming a Police Officer

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1 Becoming a Police Officer
Administration of Justice Chapter 4 Don Hall

2 Becoming a police officer is very different from obtaining most other jobs in the United States.

3 Today’s officer is better educated, better trained, and more representative of the entire community than ever before. Educational levels have risen; training programs have improved; and department personnel are more diverse.

Each police department sets standards, or necessary qualifications, that it requires in selecting its prospective police officers.

5 Physical Requirements
Over the years, we have come to realize that brains are more important than brawn in police work.

Height and weight requirements for police department applicants have changed dramatically in recent years. Only a few decades ago, most departments required officers to be 5’8”

7 Smoking In an effort to respond to rising medical costs and to keep officers healthy and productive for a longer time, many departments have implemented no-smoking policies.

8 Age Requirements The percentage of departments with maximum age limits has dropped significantly in recent years, largely due to age discrimination issues.

9 Education Requirements
2000 15% some type of college requirement 1% required a 4 year degree 2003 17% some type of college requirement The percentage of officers employed by a department with some type of college requirement was 32 percent in 2000, which was three times as many as in 1990.

10 Criminal Record Restrictions
The lack of a significant criminal record is a requirement to become a police officer. However, many police departments recognize that people may make mistakes, especially when young, that might result in an arrest.

11 FIELD TRAINING Field Training
Training is provided by specially selected officers Length of time can vary The average number of hours is 326

12 The police selection process is lengthy, difficult, and competitive.
The Selection Process The police selection process is lengthy, difficult, and competitive.

13 According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, municipal police agencies utilized the following screening procedures:

14 Written aptitude testing (43 percent)
Personal interview (98 percent) Physical agility (50 percent) Polygraph exam (25 percent) Voice stress analyzer (4 percent) Psychological evaluation (67 percent) Drug testing (73 percent) Medical exam (85 percent) Background investigation (98 percent)

15 Written Entrance Examination
With large numbers of individuals needing to be screened at this first step of the selection process, written test are generally used to minimize the time and cost to the agency.

16 Physical Agility Test Police departments are interested in police candidates who are physically fit. 1.5 mile run 300 meter run Bench press Push-ups Sit-ups Vertical jump Agility Run

17 Polygraph Examination
The polygraph, often called the lie detector, is a mechanical device designed to ascertain whether a person is telling the truth. Some departments have switched to the voice stress analyzer, as they find it to be easier to administer and less intrusive to the candidate.

18 Oral Interview Oral boards can be used to examine a candidate’s characteristics that might be otherwise difficult to assess, including poise, presence, and communication skills.

19 Background Investigation
In an effective background investigation, a candidate’s past life, past employment, school records, medical records, relationships with neighbors and others, and military record are placed under a microscope.

20 Psychological Appraisal
The psychological appraisal can assist in identifying individuals who may not adjust well to the law enforcement profession.

21 Medical Examination Police departments generally want candidates who are in excellent health, without medical problems that could affect their ability to perform the police job. Short-range reasons? Long-range reasons?

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