A Career in Law Enforcement: Becoming a Police Officer
A police officer arresting an individual

Requirements for Becoming a Police Officer

Policing may seem like a glamorous career, but it is a lot of work and a lot of behind-the-scenes discipline. Becoming a police officer requires advanced training and a long admission process that starts with an application and ends with completion of vigorous police academy training.

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If you're interested in a career as a police officer, you'll want to look closely at the requirements and curriculum offered at a police academy.

What to Expect from Police Academy Training

Ask any police officer, and they'll tell you that police academy training is anything but fun and games. It's a combination of intensive theoretical and physical training that will challenge even the most dedicated individuals.

Police officer training will cover the following topics:

  • Academic studies. Police officers in training are required to study material on arresting and booking, investigation, radio communications, report writing, basic criminology and much more.
  • Police tactical training. Students will learn policies, procedures and techniques for dealing with dangerous or combative situations, such as crimes in progress, search and seizures, vehicle stops, discharging a weapon and more.
  • Firearms training. Emphasis will be placed on care, maintenance, marksmanship and safety of firearms, as well as use of other weapons, such as chemical agents.
  • Defensive driving. An Emergency Vehicle Operations Course is a critical part of police training, preparing students to handle high speed pursuits and other high-stress driving situations.
  • Human Relations. Because police work involves interaction with the community, officers must be trained on cultural sensitivity, disability awareness and sexual harassment guidelines, as well as media relations for when they will be in front of the press.

Along with these areas, police officers will be expected to meet physical fitness requirements. Physical training will include strength and endurance exercises as well as arrest techniques, controls and unarmed defensive manoeuvres.

What Do Police Officers Do on a Daily Basis?

Once you've made it through the police academy, you'll spend some time working with a field training officer to get the feel for responding to calls and other police duties. Once you're comfortable with the process, you'll be ready to work in either a general beat, or to continue to work toward specialized training in a specific police unit.

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