Should policing become a profession, like nursing and social work, where being a university graduate is the norm? Police officers enforce the laws of a community and ensure the safety of citizens and property. The basic qualifications for becoming a police officer are generally similar across states, because most use civil service regulations when hiring officers. The minimum prerequisites for police officers include the following: * Be a United States citizen
* Be at least 21 years of age
* Have a high school diploma or equivalent education
* Possess a valid driver's license
* Have no prior convictions
Many departments go beyond the basic prerequisites by requiring applicants to have completed some college coursework and a psychological profile. Also, prior to being hired and assigned to patrol, qualified individuals must complete a police training academy. Students who want to become police officers must meet certain educational requirements, in addition to completing a training program.
It is common for police officers to complete training through an academy before being placed in a live work setting. In large police departments, new recruits receive a 12-14 week training period through their own in-house academy. Police officers who work for smaller agencies might attend a larger academy within their state or region. Community colleges and universities provide police training academies as well. Typical academy training includes regular physical fitness and stamina exercises. All graduates must pass a written and physical fitness examination in order to be eligible for work. Academy training for new recruits includes coursework in a classroom setting. In some cases, young recruits, under the minimum age requirement of 21, will do simple work for a police department and attend classes for a few years until they meet the minimum age for street duty. Common areas of education during police training academies include: State ordinances...
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