So you want to learn how to become a cop?
Well, it’s a highly competitive process. Agencies get so many applications that they have designed the hiring system to screen out many qualified applicants. Learning as much as you can about the police hiring process, and demonstrating that you have the qualities agencies are looking for, is your key to success.
The process to becoming a police officer starts with finding out which agencies are hiring and submitting an application. Most applications these days are done entirely online using a web-based system.
When filling out your application, be sure to review the job announcement and include information showing how you meet or exceed each of the qualifications and requirements. Many applicants don’t survive the initial screening process simply because they do not correctly and completely fill out the application.
This test is designed to measure your physical fitness level using a variety of simulated job-related tasks. This commonly includes some type of obstacle course.
One of the major obstacles you’ll encounter is getting over the six foot wall, which can be made easier using one of several techniques. This can be a major challenge to candidates who lack upper body strength. Just remember that technique is more important than physical strength when getting over the wall.
Another obstacle challenging to some is the “dummy drag”, which simulates rescuing a victim weighing about 150 pounds. The candidate must drag the dummy anywhere from 10 to 30 yards in a safe manner.
The key to passing this step is practice and preparation.
A large part of your job as a police officer is writing reports. So it stands to reason that agencies want you to write well.
Some agencies use standardized multiple choice tests, and others will have you write an essay on a topic of their choice. Often you’ll have to do both.
Find out if a sample test is available to help you determine how you will score in this phase. You might want to consider taking an English or writing class if this part of the process is a concern.
Perhaps the most important step in how to become a cop is the law enforcement oral board. This is where many candidates are eliminated.
The oral board usually consists of 4 or 5 standard interview questions along with one or two scenario-based questions. Preparation is the key here. Interviewing is not something that comes naturally to most people and it does take practice.
During this phase, you’ll be asked to submit a number of documents and answer a number of questions about your past.
Agencies are not looking for perfection. Instead what they are evaluating is your character, integrity, and a number of other qualities.
Often times a polygraph or computer voice stress analyzer is included in this phase. Attention to detail is critical and it’s very important to not leave anything out.