So You Want to Be a Police Officer?

Becoming a police officer sounds like a glamorous and prestigious job. A fancy uniform, a patrol car, and a gun; you have the power to dramatically change somebody’s life, for the good or for the bad. As an emergency dispatcher, I saw the new and the old on a daily basis. The new usually had a spring in their step and something to prove. The old were just doing their job and couldn’t wait to get back home to their families. I saw a lot of turnover with officers that couldn’t cut it, were tired, were worn out, and had lost sight of why they had chosen this profession in the first place. It can be hard work getting into this field, but with a lot of hard work and determination, you can do it.

If you want to become a police officer, you should take a few steps throughout your life to reach this admirable goal. The first step is to follow all of the laws; drive the speed limit, manage your money well, and treat other people with respect and kindness. Most police departments have several hoops to jump through to have a chance at being chosen to join this elite group of people. Usually, you will start out by filling out an application that will dig deeply into your background, financial history, and the professional relationships in your life. Then you will sit for a written test. The written test can have anything from basic common sense situations to math equations.

If you pass the written, you will be invited to take the physical test. These tests vary by department, so check ahead of time for what you must be capable of achieving; running a mile and a half in fifteen minutes, for instance. The physical test is usually pass or fail. Next you will be invited to interview, some departments have several interview steps; an interview with the actual patrol officers, an interview with city council and community members, and then a final interview with the Chief. If you do well enough in your interviews, the next step will be a medical evaluation followed by a psychological evaluation.

Police Officer Arresting Drug DealerAfter you are offered a position, you will be hauled off to The Academy, which typically lasts 3-5 months. The Academy is where you learn the basics of law enforcement, firearms, tactics, officer safety; basically the groundwork for becoming a successful police officer.  The next phase after The Academy, is being paired up with a Field Training Officer. Each department is different, but this is the typical route. You will ride with this certified officer and learn about the different policies and procedures of the department; each one will vary. Radio communication will vary by department, so you will become familiar with your department’s ten code system.

You will learn more investigative skills in regards to anything from domestic crimes to sexual assault crimes, theft, vandalism, and more. A lot of people underestimate how much time an officer spends patrolling and enforcing traffic laws, and keeping the general public safe in this regard, so you will become very familiar with running traffic and working traffic accidents. You will learn all levels of the law enforcement system from federal to local laws so that you can start policing the community in which you live.

The job of a police officer isn’t all high-speed chases and gun fights; there is a lot of paperwork involved in every single thing that you do each day. A police officer deals with a lot of negativity on a daily basis from the law-breaking general public, so finding outlets outside of work that bring you joy, as well as holding on to your purpose (helping people), are important to maintaining a healthy mind. A police officer can protect people from abusers and violence, they can help get criminals off of the streets, and they can allow people to feel comfort when lying down at night that the men and women in blue will always be just a phone call away.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Sam Milam

Sam Milam

Sam Milam has been writing and running her own businesses for several years. She was a police and fire emergency 911 dispatcher for four years. She has received training for handling responses to active shooters, suicides, kidnappings, structure fires, motor vehicle accidents, tactical incidents, natural disaster emergencies and so on. Knowledge is power, and by passing on that knowledge she hopes to provide tools for others to avoid and protect themselves and those around them.
Sam Milam
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