Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How To Become a Police Officer in the USA

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How to Become a Police Officer in the United States of America
Philip J Reed, on behalf of Westwood College

The requirements to become a police officer vary from country to country, and though there may be many similarities, it’s important to understand how to become a police officer and the steps necessary to do so based on your specific country’s required standards.

There are some differences state to state, but generally the minimum requirements to become a police officer in the United States include:
A high school diploma
Successful completion of a physical exam
Successful completion of a written exam
Minimum of 20 years old
Must be a citizen of the USA

In most states prospective officers also need to pass a psychological evaluation, as well as a drug test and possible lie detector test. Given the responsibilities of police officers and the power that comes with the badge, these do not seem to be unreasonable requirements by any stretch of the imagination.

As stated, these are the minimum requirements. Most law enforcement agencies will require additional education which may include a criminal justice degree or other certification. There are many specialties within law enforcement and multiple educational programs geared to those specialties, so it’s important to have a clear idea of what position within the agency you wish to hold.

Once you actually become a police officer in the United States, your training and education don’t end. You can expect rigorous ongoing training and throughout your entire law enforcement career.

In your quest of learning how to become a police officer you will also need to understand the different agencies that currently work within the United States.

Some of these agencies include:
Sheriffs Department
United States Marshal Service
Federal Police
State Police
Regional/Municipal Police
Corrections Officers
US Customs and Border Protection
DEA (Drug enforcement agency)
ATF (Bureau of alcohol, firearms & tobacco)

The educational requirements will depend on the agency of choice though they will still require at least the above-listed minimum requirements.

The above article is meant to serve as a guide; depending upon your state of residency, specific requirements may vary. Be sure to do your research!

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