Education as a Police Officer

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Police officers have strong educational credentials both physically and mentally to prepare them for duties in the field. This demanding career requires continual learning to stay ahead of the crimes in the streets.

There are many requirements that must be met to become a police officer including strong academics, physical conditioning and testing, drug testing, a background check and a medical examination.

Educational Requirements

Earning a GED or high school diploma is the minimum requirement accepted by any police academy; but, there are different educational requirements depending on the state of employment. Many states require some college education before being able to apply to an academy. After meeting the requirements and receiving acceptance as either a recruit or new hire, an educational training camp through a police academy is administered.

Police Academy Education

Police academy training is usually 12 to 14 weeks in length.This training includes some classroom-based instruction teaching state and constitutional laws, civil rights, first aid and CPR. Some other hands-on training taught within the academies are traffic control, emergency response, self-defence, use of firearms, gun control, legal policies, wall climbing and fitness.

On-the-Job Learning

The jobs of police officers entail many different duties. With the vast amount of duties, police officers are always learning. More education is taught through hands-on experiences than could ever be taught in a classroom. Police officers have to stay on their toes and make split-second decisions on a daily basis. These decisions help them grow as officers.

As an officer, many agencies will pay for education to help their fellow officers earn a higher degree. Some agencies will do a credit reimbursement program that reimburses the officer the costs associated with the courses as long as a particular grade is earned and the course relates to the field of law. Other agencies will pay partial and full scholarships to help police officers further their education.

Promotional Trainings

Many police officers strive to get promotions. These promotions can be leadership positions, such as lieutenants, detectives, SWAT team members or captains. Other promotions can be more specialised positions, such as juvenile law enforcement or narcotics. Regardless of the exact promotion, the officers get specialised educational trainings to make them better prepared for their new roles.

Training Centers and Associations

There are several educational trainings available for police officers that desire to increase their knowledge and abilities in the field of law. Some of these activities are led by federal and state organisations while others are held by associations. Some of the trainings are : Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) for training on domestic violence, drug laws and antiterrorism; Counterdrug Training; free online training, such as Free Smith & Wesson Armorer School or Classroom Success for the School Resource Officer by the Online Police Academy; and the Police Officers Safety Association trainings.