Officer Selection Process
Officer selection is a very detailed process. Every police department wants to recruit, select, train, and maintain the best and brightest officers possible. The job of a police officer requires an individual that can deal with stressful situations and the ability to interact with the community. The job requires quick decision making and good judgment. Police duties vary from writing reports to maintaining order to responding to criminal situations, all of which require critical thinking skills. Officers should possess certain traits due to the range of duties they will have to perform. These traits include physically agility, the ability to cope with difficult situations, well-developed writing skills, good communication skills, sound judgment, compassion, strong powers of observation, and the ability to both exert and respect commands of authority (Grant & Terry, 2008). Every department sets its own standards therefore there is not a set standard for officer selection. The minimum requirements that most departments require that the officer be at least 21 years of age, have a driver’s license in the state or be eligible for one, have no prior felony convictions, and be able to pass a written exam, a medical exam, an interview, a physical agility test, and psychological screening. Individuals must be able to obtain a driver’s license because their primary duty will be patrol and must be twenty one years of age as they will have to qualify for a firearm. A police officer will not have full police powers until at least the age of twenty one, for that reason some departments will not even allow recruits to enter the police academy until they reach that age. A convicted felony is prohibited from possessing a firearm, which thereby bars them from becoming police officers. Most police departments now have educational requirements for recruits. Nearly all departments require officers to have a minimum of a high school diploma, and...
References: Grant, H. B., & Terry, K. J. (2008). Law Enforcement in the 21st Century (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice hall.
Walker, S., & Katz, C. M. (2008). The Police in America. An Introduction (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
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