Police officers carry out a large variety of tasks in the carrying out of their job. Furthermore, this occupation is often difficult, demanding, and sometimes very dangerous. The training process can also be quite challenging.
How to Become a Police Officer in Indiana
Becoming a police officer in Indiana requires education, skill, and training. As the career can be challenging, police officers must be physically fit. Apart from physical attributes, possessing a sound character and strong personality traits could also help. Before you go on to apply, make sure you are determined and understand what the career demands.
According to O*NET OnLine, police officers in the state of Indiana earned a median annual income of $47,710 in 2015. The job growth in this sector (from 2014 to 2024) is expected to be at 6%, which is 1% more than the job growth expected in this field nationally.
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Requirements to Become a Police Officer in Indiana
The police departments of major cities in Indiana have established a set of initial requirements that all applicants must meet. These requirements typically include:
- Applicants must have a US citizenship
- Applicants must be over the age of 21 and not more than 36 at the time of appointment
- Applicants must have a clean criminal record
- Applicants must have at least a high school diploma or GED
- Applicants should have a valid driver’s license
- Applicants who were in the military should not have been discharged dishonorably
Steps to Become a Police Officer
- Preliminary Application
You can start by filing out an application on the official web page of the police department you are interested in joining. You can also receive an application through mail. Make sure you fill out the application correctly and mail it to the relevant address.
- Pass a Written Examination
The exam is designed to test an applicant’s skill in spelling, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Police departments must ensure that all applicants display a certain level of general knowledge and are familiar with law enforcement principles.
- Pass an Oral Interview
This phase of the screening process is designed to test a candidate’s oral communication skills. Communication is an important part of the job.
- Pass a Physical Agility Test
The physical agility test will require applicants toperform a series of physical activities and tasks such as emergency runs. The test will evaluate the level of physical stress and exertion an applicant can endure. Here are some of the activities one can expect in the test:
- 1.5 mile run
- Push ups
- Sit ups
- Bench press
- Sit and reach test
Alongside the above mentioned physical activities, applicants will also be tested for the following:
- Blood pressure
- Body fat
- Pass a Polygraph Examination
Polygraph tests are used by many police departments and law enforcement agencies. It is also known as a lie detector test and can help screen out undesirable applicants. The test will detect:
- Changes in breathing
- Sweat gland activity
- Cardiovascular activity
- Motion and nervous fidgeting
To pass the test, applicants must answer the questions honestly.
- Background Investigation
Applicants must pass a background check. Investigators will thoroughly examine an applicant’s past financial history, employment, etc.
- Pass a Medical Examination
The medical examination will screen out applicants suffering from medical conditions.
- Pass a Psychological Examination
This exam is geared towards identifying certain psychological traits in candidates. Only applicants with a sound psychological statusmay be selected.
- Pass a Drug Screening Test
Drug screening is an important part of the selection process. The test will screen applicants for drug use and toxicity.
- Board Approval
The board or human resource personnel of the police department will thoroughly review all candidate files before approving them for training.
Join a Training Academy
After applicants meet all the requirements, they will be required to enroll in a police academy for training.The curriculum will include subjects such as the following:
- Criminal justice
- Human behavior
- Use of force
- Physical conditioning
- Patrol procedures
- Traffic services
During the training, trainees will learn how to use fire-arms, apply defensive tactics, and investigation techniques. The training program can last anywhere from 5-8 months, depending upon the police department.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Police Officer?
It can take 8-12 months for becoming a police officer in Indiana. The exact duration will vary from city to city, and will also depend upon the requirements and application process.
Police officers typically work at the state and locallevels in the state. The occupation can be physically demanding where officers may face dangerous situations.
What Police Officers Do
- Enforce laws in the community
- Arrest suspects and criminals
- Respond to emergency calls
- Patrol areas
- Issue citations
- Write reports and testify in courts
The mean annual wage of police officers in Indiana was $47,120 in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10% earned approximately $33,350 whereas the top 10% earned $62,710. As long as there is crime in the society, the demand for police officers will always be steady.
The career also offers many opportunities for growth where officers can seek promotion and apply for detective positions after acquiring sufficient work experience in the field. Alongside the monetary benefits, police officers can also qualify for employee benefits such as health insurance. Individuals looking for a career that is challenging and comes with a sense of achievement can consider joining the police force.