Many young men and women consider law enforcement as a career. Because of this, they must ask themselves “what to do to become a cop” or “what are the requirements I have to meet to become a cop”. Before a candidate can become part of local law enforcement, they must meet several criteria and other requirements.
The very first thing a candidate must have is a high school education or a GED. This is required for all law enforcement positions. Candidates should also consider college courses in criminal justice. These are not required by all law enforcement branches, but many prefer candidates to have some knowledge about criminal justice or to even have a Bachelor or Associates degree. These qualifications can perhaps place a candidate above others if the degrees are not required by the agency.
Another very important requirement when considering what to do to become a cop is physical fitness. Participating in organized sporting events can aid in conditioning the body. If you are accepted into the police force they will test your body’s ability to do exercises such as pushups, sit-ups, running, and other endurance exercises and activities. These are done to make sure that you can handle situations while out in the field. Keeping fit can also aid in a longer and healthier life.
Candidates must also have a clean background. Background checks are run on all candidates, so you should refrain from having any contact with illegal substances or situations if you are considering becoming a part of law enforcement. If the candidate does not have a clean background, it is quite likely that they will be rejected.
Depending on where the candidate is considering what to do to become a cop, they must be twenty-one years old and a U.S. citizen. If the candidate is not a natural born U.S. citizen, then they must have naturalization papers available.
It is suggested for teenagers and children who want to join law enforcement to go on a police ride-along several times. This will allow them to see what it would really be like to be a police officer and what all they would be required to do. Becoming a Boy Scout or Girl Scout can also be helpful.
Candidates must also pass a written exam, as well as an oral exam. The civil service exam is given through the police department that the candidate is applying to. Some law enforcement agencies may also have the candidate pass a psychological exam. These exams ensure that the candidate knows what he is required to do in the field, and also that he or she can respond to situations well.
A few other things that candidates must consider about what to do to become a cop are the physical exam that is required and the vision and hearing tests. When a candidate successfully passes these tests they will then have to pass a lie detector test and a drug test. After the candidate has passed these final tests they will then begin interviews with the police department that they have chosen to become a part of. Candidates who are accepted through these interviews, scores, and tests are then sent on to the police academy. The police academy program can be as short as three months or as long as a year. This training provides the candidates with the full knowledge that is needed for the job of a police officer.
After candidates have become police officers they are expected to continue their education. Attending seminars yearly and workshops are part of this continuous education. These workshops and seminars allow police officers to stay up to date on legal procedures, cultural needs and sensitivities, and the changing needs of the community in which they work and protect. Advanced training allows the officers the opportunity to better serve their community and stay sharp as law enforcement officials.
People who want to know what to do to become a cop should consider these things. Some states allow people who are considering a job in law enforcement to attend a police academy without being affiliated with a police department. This may be a good decision for those who have not quite made up their minds or who are still considering the requirements to becoming a police officer.