Recruitment and Training: Becoming a Police Officer

Recruitment and Training: Becoming a Police Officer

Learning Objective 3: Identify the differences between the police academy and field training as learning tools for recruits.

A. Basic Requirements

i. U.S. citizenship

ii. No previous felony convictions

iii. Eligibility for driving license

iv. 21 years of age

v. Meeting weight and sight requirements

vi. Background Checks and Tests

a. Drug tests

b. Review of education, military, and driving records

c. Credit checks

d. Interviews with spouses, acquaintances, and previous employers

e. Physical agility or fitness test

vii. Educational Requirements

a. 82% of all local police departments requires at least high school diploma

b. Recruits with college or university experience are generally thought to have an advantage in hiring and promotion

B. Training

i. Probationary period six to eighteen months, that includes

a. Academy Training

1. Controlled, militarized environment

2. Laws of search and seizure

3. Arrest and Interrogation

4. Use of weapons

5. Procedures of securing crime scene

6. Procedures of interviewing witnesses

7. First aid

8. Self-defense

9. Terrorism related training

Media Tool

“Discover Policing”


· A website that provides information about policing and recruitment


b. In the Field

1. A recruit is paired with an experienced police officer FTO – field training officer

IV. Women and Minorities in Policing Today

Learning Objective 4: Describe some of the benefits that female police officers bring to law enforcement.

Learning Objective 5: Identify the main advantage of a racially and ethnically diverse police force.

A. Antidiscrimination Law and Affirmative Action

i. The 1964 Civil Rights Act and its 1972 amendment guaranteed members of minority groups and woman equal access to jobs in law enforcement

ii. Establishing of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

iii. Affirmative action programs were developed to increase the diversity of law enforcement employees

a. By giving certain advantages to woman and members of minority groups in the hiring process

B. Working Women: Gender and Law Enforcement

i. Added Scrutiny

a. Women hold relatively few leadership positions in American policing

b. Women must deal with the assumption that they are physically weak, mentally soft, and generally unsuited for the rigors of the job

c. Male officers try to protect female officers by keeping them out of hazardous situation, thereby denying them the opportunity to prove themselves

ii. Tokenism

a. The belief that they have been hired or promoted to fulfill their diversity requirements and have not earned their position

C. Minority Report: Race and Ethnicity in Law Enforcement

i. Double Marginality

a. Suspicion that minority police officers face from their colleagues and from the minority community

ii. The Benefits of a Diverse Police Force

a. An integrated police force could develop a better relationship with the community and therefore do a more effective job maintaining law and order

Media Tool

“Minorities in the Police Force”


· A short clip about the challenges that police officers face and how Maryland attempts to diversify the police.


V. Public and Private Law Enforcement

Learning Objective 6: Indicate some of the most important law enforcement agencies under the control of the Department of Homeland Security.

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