Police officers are law enforcement officials who are tasked with upholding law and order in society, apprehending criminals, and preventing crimes. As such, their job duties are varied and wide ranging. During the course of duty, a police officer can be tasked with anything from carrying out patrols, filing reports, and even undertaking investigations.This is a profession which is both physically and mentally challenging. The harrowing situations that police officers find themselves in require quick thinking and decisive action. In order to become a police officer, individuals must undergo strenuous training and testing.
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If you’re interested in becoming a police officer in the state of Alabama, here’s what you need to know.
How competitive is becoming a police officer in Alabama?
Becoming a police officer in Alabama or any US state is quite competitive since the number of available jobs is limited. On top of that, you have to meet certain requirements and pass a strict hiring process to join the field.
According to the latest statistics provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alabama was the fifth state in the US with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotient in 2020. The graph below shows five US states with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotient.
|State||Employment||Employment per thousand jobs||Location quotient|
|District of Columbia||5,490||7.99||1.70|
Requirements for becoming a police officer in Alabama
In Alabama, the requirements which need to be satisfied for entry into law enforcement are determined by the Alabama Peace Officers’ Standards and Training Commission (APOSTC).In order to be eligible to become a police officer in Alabama, candidates must meet the following minimum requirements:
- Hold U.S. Citizenship
- Be at least 19 years of age
- Have a High School Diploma or G.E.D.
- Possess a valid Alabama driver’s license
- Have a clear criminal record
- Have sound moral character and reputation
- Must not have been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces
Steps for becoming a police officer in Alabama
Once you’re sure you meet all of the minimum requirements for becoming a police officer in Alabama, the following steps need to be undertaken:
- Submit to a thorough medical examination
- Pass a vision screening test
- Undergo a full background check including a polygraph test
- Undergo testing for illegal substances
In addition to completing the following steps, candidates must pass a series of rigorous exams and skills training. These include:
- Physical agility tests Candidates must be able to do 22 pushups in one minute, 25 sit-ups in one minute, run 1.5 miles in less than 15 minutes and 28 seconds, scale a 6ft fence, walk 5 yards on a balance beam, push a car 15ft, drag a dummy weighing 165lbs 5 feet, and be able to crawl through a 2’ x 2’ window opening.
- First aid exam Written exam, the score for which cannot be less than 70%.
- Legal issues exam Written exam, the score for which cannot be less than 70%.
- Firearms training Candidates must go through 43 hours of training in the use of handguns, shotguns, and patrol rifles. You must qualify in two out of three attempts at the firearms course.
All in all, candidates must log 480 hours of basic academy training in order to be sworn in as police officers.
Once candidates have completed their basic training they are sworn in as police officers and must complete a field training program under the supervision of a Field Training Officer in the Patrol Division. During this phase of their training, trainee police officers get to make the crucial link between what they have learned during their academy training with the actual performance requirements in the line of duty as a field officer.
After a minimum of 16 weeks in field training, police officers may transfer to a specific career specialty within the police force. These include:
- Motor Scout
- Freeway Patrol
- Task Force Officer
- Tactical Officer
- Mounted Patrol Officer
- Academy Instructor
- Crime Scene Technician
- Polygraph Examiner
- Canine Handler
- Explosive Ordinance Technician
Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salaries in Alabama
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers in Alabama made an annual mean salary of $47,550 in 2020. Below are the five highest paying states in the US for this category.
As per the latest data provided by O*Net Online, Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers in Alabama will enjoy job growth of 4% between 2018 and 2028.
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