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Officer Selection Process

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Officer Selection Process The initial step is to make the decision to become a police officer. The next step in the process is to satisfy the minimum requirement. Once this has been done, he or she must decide on the level of agency he or she wants to be a part of. The three levels of agencies to choose from are the local, state, and federal agencies. Although parts of the selection process are standardize across the board, there are some differences in reference to the hiring and eligibility process for the agencies at each level. He or she need to decide on which type of agency would be the best fit for him or her.
Standard Requirements in the Selection Process
To become a local, state, or federal agency officer the initial selection process can take many months to complete. First an application has to be filled out. Once the application has been filled out, an entrance examination is administered. This exam is normally a written aptitude test. The written exam can be held in the agencies training room, college, or university campus. It is very important to for the potential officer to take the exam on the assigned. Because of the cost of the exams, they are only given at certain times. It may be a year or two before the next opportunity to take an exam arise. Next a battery of tests is given to the potential officer that he or she has to endure and complete. He or she will be given a medical exam, criminal record check, background check, psychological testing, drug test, a polygraph, physical agility testing, driving record check, and have a personal interview. Once the results of the test come back, a more rigorous selection process begins. Some may be qualified to be an officer at the local level but the state level. In addition, those who qualified for the state may not qualify for a federal agency because of the different requirements of the selection process.

The Differences between Local, State, and Federal Agency Requirements As previously stated, although parts of the selection process are the same for each agency, there are some major differences. At the local and may be even the state level, anyone who has prior marijuana use can still be a prime applicant as long as it was several years prior, and he or she has successfully passed portions of the selection process. Until recently, federal agencies under no circumstances tolerated drug use regardless if it were in the past. If someone had tried it one-time, it was an automatic disqualifier. Federal agencies have since relaxed the zero-tolerance policy; however, still maintain a tight restriction on the issue of drug use. Unlike the local and state agency who only states the drug use must be several years’ prior, federal agencies has a specific period. In reference to drug use, it states an officer will be disqualified if, he or she has been involved with the sale of drugs, used marijuana at least 15 times, or have used cocaine within the last 10 years or at least five time at the time of application. Some agencies still have some restrictions on height and weight; however, most have been removed. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol still have limitations of weight. If a person is underweight, he or she will be placed on a diet to help him or her bulk up. If a person overweight, he or she is placed of a reduced calorie diet. Although each agency may have their own requirements for the selection process, each is similar in training requirements. The Training Process. Now since the requirements have been met and the applicant has been hired for the agency that best suits him or her, the training begins. Before an officer is allowed to obtain his own beat or patrol area, he or she must go through extensive training. An officer has to have classroom training as well as field training. Depending on the academy an officer chooses to attend, will determine the number of classroom and field training hours a cadet must have. In the classroom portion of training covers firearms training, human relations, ethics, self-defense, investigations, cultural diversity, domestic violence, criminal law, constitutional law, and community policing. If he or she is planning to work with the Sheriff’s department, civil law will also be taught. Once an officer has completed the required number of classroom hours, he or she will advance to field training. This type of training gives the officer a change to experience what police work is like. Under the supervision of an FTO or Field Training Officer, he or she will actively perform police duties. After assigned to the FTO for the required number of hours, the office is released to be on his own. Once this takes place, the officer is sworn in and can perform his duties as a full-fledged police officer on probationary status. The probation period normally last from six month to a year. It can be longer, depending on the department. During the probation status, the officer can be fire for any reason. Most of the time they are let go due to misconduct or poor job performance. This is true with the agencies in all levels of the government. Despite the differences between the local, state, and federal agencies, they have the same goal, to produce the most professional officer he or she can.

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