Law Enforcement Training

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Becoming a law enforcement officer requires a combination of classroom college level education, training, and on-the-job experience. Training for law enforcement officers is often tailored for the specific role you are pursuing; however, there are many common elements due to the nature of the line of work. Most law enforcement training programs will focus on firearms, psychological, tactical training, as well as using technology. A major part of that preparation involves attending a police academy or other approved training facility. Most police departments now require that applicants have a minimum of an associate’s degree from a college or university. Obtaining your degree in a relevant field such as criminal justice or law enforcement provides a strong theoretical knowledge base and will make the practical portion of your training a richer experience.

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Law Enforcement Training Requirements

Police academies and law enforcement training programs offer a wide range of courses that will complement your university education. These programs will help you respond quickly and appropriately to the variety of scenarios you’ll be responding to in the field. Firearm, psychological, tactical, and technology training are often at the heart of any effective law enforcement training program.

firearm training is a core skill for law enforcement

Firearm Training

Firearm training is a core skill for law enforcement officers. Firearm training, target practice, and following protocol will be major components of your police training. Trainees will learn marksmanship, tactics, working with a team, identifying weapon types, and diffusing intense situations. Firearm training facilities also offer classes on federal firearm laws and firearm trafficking. Being able to easily identify firearms is another important skill to have during a bust as well as in court.

Psychological Training & Education

Psychological training for law enforcement helps equip officers with the ability to better judge and handle situations, motives, and volatility especially when dealing with suspects who may be mentally ill or unstable, and has been proven to decrease incidents of unnecessary and unwarranted violence. Police work can present complex psychological situations, and having the necessary psychological training is an indispensable tool when dealing with the difficult situations law enforcement encounter. Pursing someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol calls for a significantly different approach from a white collar criminal. Will the situation call for a calm dialogue of questioning or is physical force in order? Psychological training will help you make the call.

Tactical Training

Tactical training will be indispensable for conducting searches, pursuits, vehicle stops, and handling a variety of crimes in progress. Law enforcement personnel encounter a myriad of situations in their jobs, and they need to know how to act quickly and decisively. Tactical training is a central part of the curriculum and training in police academy and a great deal of emphasis is placed upon it in order to maintain optimal safety out in the field for yourself and others. From the angle at which you position your vehicle, the manner in which you approach a suspect in a car versus on foot, or the strategy for a team effort during a drug bust all require specialized knowledge and skill.

Law Enforcement Technology Training

Utilizing data from a variety of sources and databases has become a key part of any law enforcement training program. Information on suspects and suspicious individuals at your fingertips will help you make informed decisions and allow you to respond appropriately to situations. Prior to the internet and technology sharing, you may not have known that an amber alert had just been announced or that a compromise had occurred at a border. Technology allows local, federal, and state agencies to better interact and more efficiently seek out suspects.

Education for Law Enforcement Officers

The more classroom education you have to complement your training, the more competitive your edge in the job market. To illustrate, if there are only a few positions available, those with more education will be considered before those with less unless you have significant previous experience. It is recommended that you have an associates degree at a minimum to be competitive. Those who have a degree in criminal justice, law enforcement, criminal investigations, or a highly relevant subject will have even greater chances of success. Law enforcement departments are increasingly making mandatory requirements that their applicants have some college level education.

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There are several accredited campus and online schools to choose from that offer law enforcement degree’s programs and criminal justice degree programs. Not only will an Associates or bachelor’s degree put you at the top of the list, it will make you a more confident candidate and will raise your chances of moving up through the ranks at a faster pace than your less educated peers. Taking the initiative to obtain more education will be seen as a positive point in your character and show that you are able to meet goals and that you are a self-motivated and driven individual. For younger law enforcement aspirants, the Cadet Program is a smart option, which will allow you to gain the experience and knowledge you will need and an ability to get a head start on your resume and experience. For those interested in the evidence examination or crime scene investigation a forensic science degree or crime scene investigation degree may be a good fit.

Recommended Degree’s to Compliment your Law Enforcement Training

Law Enforcement Prerequisites

About Background Checks for Law Enforcement Officers

During the background check, investigators will check personal references including previous employers, friends, and family. Educational transcripts and driving records will also be reviewed, in addition to a check for criminal history and arrest records. In most cases you will undergo a polygraph exam. Ensuring a clean record is vital for meeting the basic prerequisites for law enforcement work.

How to Prepare for the Police Exam

Exploring department websites will help you get a feel for the application process and preparation pointers for the exam. You should also request information from the department to which you are applying, and ask what recommendations they have to assist you in your preparation. Most exams are 75 to 150 multiple choice questions and vary depending upon the role you will be in. Some exams also consist of watching videos and answering questions about how you would handle specific scenarios. The exam consists of written, verbal, and physical components and will provide employers with a picture of your general education level, your psychological character, and your physical fitness.

Fitness Requirements For Law Enforcement Positions

Law enforcement is rigorous work. Physical fitness and strong bodily health are important to the job for obvious reasons. During your law enforcement training at a police academy or training facility, you will undergo intense physical activity, and you will be expected to continue a fitness regime once in your new role. A fitness regime will help you to not only be healthy mentally and physically, but will keep you prepared for circumstances in which you might have to pursue and apprehend a suspect under challenging circumstances. Vision requirements are 20/20 binocular vision with uncorrected vision being no worse than 20/100 in either eye for those who wear eyeglasses and 20/200 for those who wear contact lenses. You should also be able to speak and hear clearly.