What You Need to Know About Joining a Police Force

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Joining a law enforcement agency is a physically and mentally demanding process. Agencies are in need of competent officers with a keen mind to ensure that citizens are safe and laws are enforced. The law enforcement hiring process may vary between departments and locations, however there are many common steps in this process. Hiring is competitive and you will be evaluated through a scoring process to determine the best possible candidate(s).

Hiring Process

1. Application

When there is an opening in a law enforcement agency, the recruitment team is looking to hire the most qualified person(s). Read the announcement carefully, taking note of the minimum qualifications and restrictions. Complete the applications and gather all documents needed to complete the hiring process. Be honest and answer all questions completely.

You will need to include a cover letter and resume in your application packet. The cover letter shows employers your written communication skills and your accomplishments. Your resume shall list any experience you have in the field, including relevant coursework, jobs, and volunteering. You will likely have to complete a authorization sheet verifying your personal records and character references. These forms are legal documents and will typically require a public notary.

2. Written Test

Candidates typically begin the hiring process by completing a written test which may also contain a multiple-choice questions. The exam generally measures reading comprehension, basic math skills, vocabulary, grammar and summarization abilities.

3. Oral Board

A multiple person recruitment team panel usually conducts an oral board interview. You will be asked a series of questions by the panel to measure your communication and cognitive skills. This interview further tests how well your personality will match with department goals and co-workers.

4. Fitness Test

Agencies generally list their physical fitness tests online so candidates can prepare themselves well before the application process. This test is minimally pass or fail, making it an important part of the hiring process for all candidates. Keep in mind that achieving the highest scores are optimal for the candidate to be moved up higher in the ranking process.

5. Polygraph Test

Many agencies require applicants to take a polygraph test to see if anything in their past would disqualify them from service. Other requirements along with this process include drug testing and background checks.

6. Medical and Psychological Evaluation

Agencies most typically require full medical and psychological examinations to ensure physical and mental well-being. This ensures each candidate will perform well under pressure and will not pose any danger to themselves or others.

7. Job Offers

Agencies offer their highest-performing candidates a contingent job offer along with an academy start date. Please keep in mind that this entire hiring process may take months to complete.

The Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies at Grand Canyon University prepares students to work in criminal and civil law, including law enforcement. Learn more about this and other programs offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences by visiting our website or clicking on the Request More Information button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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