Ask a Cop?: Process and Qualifications for becoming an officer


—–Original Message—–
From: Ryan
Sent: Sunday, February 07, 2010 9:16 PM
Subject: Process and Qualifications for becoming an officer

I would like to become a police officer.I live in sioux falls sd.I really want to help people and society and the older and more mature I become the more I desire the position.I am a recovered alcoholic and had DUIs when I was younger,It was and is a difficult disease to overcome but I’ve been doing it for yrs.Is this something that might hold me back from my goal?Will they give me a chance or not being I was in trouble because of my problem.Last but not least,what is the best or correct process to apply and learn the position?Any info would be greatly appreciated.I believe the job you guys do is important and essential to the well being of our country and its citizens and would love nothing more then to be able to keep good honest people safe and help whomever may need it.I realize I broke the law when I was younger and struggling with my addiction but that is half the reason I want to do this.The instances when I was not caught scare me to death,I could have hurt or even ki

lled innocent people as well as myself.Again,thank you and not just for help with my question but also for what you do every day.



Usually a persons past of minor offenses or DUI’s shouldn’t affect their chances at becoming a police officer as long as some time has passed. If there were recent incidents, that would probably make your chances pretty slim. Police work is a stressful job and you’d have to make sure the stress didn’t cause you to fall off the wagon. Most departments understand that people make mistakes when they are younger and that’s actually part of life’s experience. Minor misdemeanors shouldn’t hurt your chance but a felony conviction would keep you out of law enforcement. A pattern of abuse with recent incident could also keep you out. If you’ve been clean for years, have nothing serious on your record, then you have a chance of achieving your goal.

As for applying or learning the position, there are several ways. You could put yourself through a police academy at your own expense. Many departments go in and hire students from the academy classes when graduation is near. But the academy is full time, 5 days a week, so it’s difficult to do if you are older and have a full time job.

You can apply at departments for an "entry level" position. If you are hired, the department will put you through the academy, pay your way, and pay you a salary while you are in the academy. Usually the best way to get in if you can.

Or you can do like I did. While working a full time job, I took a few law enforcement classes at night at a local community college. I became a reserve officer with a local department riding shifts with sworn officers after I got off work and or weekends. Most departments do not pay reserve officers (some do) but the training you get is invaluable. I learned everything about the department and got to do a lot of hands on police work. The department also saw how motivated I was to be hired by them. I worked as a part time reserve officer for 2 years until I locked in a pension with my regular job and then the department hired me full time and put me through the police academy. If you become a reserve officer with a department, and they like you, it’s almost a guaranteed job for you when they hire as long as you pass all the test and graduate the academy.

Going through the process isn’t easy and very few applicants make it all the way through but if that is your goal, it is a very rewarding job. Hope some of this helps and good luck.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here