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What can I Expect from Police Officer Training?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 April 2017
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Police officer training is designed to prepare you for the different roles and assignment available as a police officer. A police officer is employed by government law enforcement agencies to protect the citizens from crime, meet the needs of their community in times of disaster or emergency and to solve crimes. The role of police officer is an interesting one and it opens up a range of career options and advancement opportunities.

There are three types of police officer training: post-secondary education, police academy training, and continuing education. In order to qualify to attend this training, you must be a United States citizen, at least 20 years old, no criminal convictions and have a high school diploma. In addition to these basic requirements, all candidates must be able to complete a written and physical fitness examination.

Post-secondary education is mandatory for all federal and state law enforcement positions. There are two educational options: diploma or degree. A two-year associate diploma in law enforcement is available from a wide range of community and career colleges. The four-year bachelor program in criminal justice is offered by selected universities. These programs are very popular and often have both physical and academic aptitude and performance requirements to gain acceptance.

Once you have secured a position in law enforcement, you will attend police academy. This program offers a 12 to 14 week specialized police officer training program. This is a combination of theoretical and practical training. Theoretical training includes constitutional law, state and federal laws, local ordinances and bylaws and the basics of accident investigations. The practical training includes traffic control, firearms, self-defense, and first aid.

Police academy is a very tightly compressed program that demands a high degree of mental and physical skill. The wide range of responsibilities of a police officer demands a higher level of physical fitness, mental acuity, and critical thinking. To prepare for the police officer training program, it is best to maintain peak physical conditioning, follow a healthy diet, and learn stress reduction and management techniques. If this is your career choice, participate in active sports to improve your strength, conditioning and self control.

After working as a police officer for several years, many officers take advantage of continuing education opportunities. Courses are often funded by the local department and cover specialized certification and advanced degrees. Further education is often a requirement of promotional job opportunities. Police officer training is the most challenging part of becoming a police officer.

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pastanaga
Post 3

@Iluviaporos - And the thing I think is sad is that it's not an easy job to love either. While you are doing a lot of good, you aren't always going to get credit for it.

And I'm sure it can be horribly frustrating, seeing the same kids offend over and over again, seeing criminals that you know committed the crime being let back onto the streets and so forth.

Plus the media is always present.

It's a tough job, for sure, and I have the highest respect for anyone who does it and gives it their best.

lluviaporos
Post 2

@umbra21 - There might be exciting times when you are a police officer but it's important to realize that there are also very boring times. And it depends on what kind of job you're doing as well. The police have plenty of people working behind desks, as well as patrolling the streets.

And those exciting jobs come with a lot of danger. I don't think police get killed all that often, but it does happen and they can also end up injured, or psychologically traumatized.

I wanted to be a firefighter for a while and my mother told me she would support me, of course, but I had to make sure I was going to be able to cope with the things I might see.

Police are the same, they see people who have been abused, people who do ugly things, violence, neglect and so forth. It's not an easy job.

umbra21
Post 1

It might be because I was raised on the police academy movies, but I've always thought of being a police officer as one of the few jobs available to an ordinary person now which are really exciting.

I mean, most really exciting jobs, like being in the marine corps or hunting down new species or whatever, are the kind of thing you need to study and train for years in order to do properly.

And even then, usually you have to be extraordinarily bright or strong in order to even be considered.

Which is not to imply that police aren't wonderful people. But they are ordinary folk, like you or me who train in school and hopefully try to act with honor.

And they must experience all kinds of interesting situations. I guess being a paramedic might be similar, but even that wouldn't quite be at the same level.

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