Once you have been hired by a law enforcement agency, you will attend a police academy. The length of time you attend depends on the jurisdiction and the law enforcement academy you attend, but it can be anywhere from twelve to twenty weeks. Most will begin obtaining pay while at the police academy. There you will undergo intense and specialized training while learning the laws you’ll be expected to enforce during your career. In addition to classes that involve lectures, while at the police academy you will receive basic training which includes defensive tactics, emergency vehicle operation, firearms and physical training, and practical exercises. Defensive tactics will cover both lethal and non lethal use of force, the legal requirements surrounding it, and proper judgment for making use of force.
Police Academy Training includes:
- Searching methods and how to do it safely
- Officer safety
- Arrest techniques
- Miranda Rights
- Defense Tactics
The final goal of teaching defensive tactics is to allow recruits to be able to make correct decisions in using force that they are confident in, especially when they are in stressful situations. To get a real world account of what to expect from the academy, check out our book review and interview with Detective Suzie Ivy, author of Bad Luck Cadet & Bad Luck Officer.
Emergency Vehicle Operation
Emergency vehicle operation will teach students advanced techniques and skills for driving in an array of situations and terrains, how to trailer or tow another vehicle, how to operate specialized vehicles such as vans or wagons, and the basics of operating a motorcycle. Firearms training will teach students how to properly draw their weapon, move to cover, and be able to decide when use of force is necessary.
Police Academy Firearm Training
A few weeks into the session, recruits will fire weapons. You will learn how to use your weapons safely, how to care for your weapon, and marksmanship. Tactical firing is also covered, including working in a team. In addition, you’ll learn how to identify firearms, even from great distances.
Physical training involves preparing recruits for the physical demand of a law enforcement career while educating you on health and wellness. Physical training is a daily occurrence at the Police Academy and includes running, sit-ups, push ups, and flexibility, to name a few. Practical exercises focus on reality based training where recruits might participate in role playing, firing paint bullets, practicing patrol procedures including arrest and booking, and certifying in first aid and CPR.
Continuing Education for Police Officers
Finally, the Police Academy offers continuing education for police officers and other law enforcement personnel. These courses can be taken at the academy, at satellite locations, or online, when applicable. Courses include tactical training, where you’ll have the opportunity to refresh and build upon existing skills, including specialized tactics, target practice and competitions. May may also want to specialize by taking K-9 courses, counter-terrorism, training to be a firearms instructor, report writing, the list goes on. There are several varying courses available at the police academy to expand and strengthen your career, and they are often structured with work schedules in mind.
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Police Officer Training Facts
United States Border Patrol & Customs departments are charged with protecting and securing our borders. There are over 7,000 miles of borders between the US & our neighbors to the north & south.
Learn more about how to become a Border Patrol Agent.
Did You Know?
Police Officers By the Numbers
There were about 661,500 police officers, sheriffs, and detectives in 2008.
Almost 9 out of 10 worked for local government. The rest worked for state or federal police agencies.