An official representative of the government and state, a police officer is responsible for serving and protecting the community, safeguarding lives and properties, keeping peace, and ensuring equal rights for the people. Just like all the other states, in Ohio, OH a police officer is responsible for deterring crimes through high-visibility policing. They are required to investigate crimes and apprehend suspected law violators.
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Should I Become a Police Officer in Ohio?
To become a police officer, you will need to give a lot of sacrifices. If you think you are ready to join the police force in Ohio, then continue reading for more details.
|Educational Requirements||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Experience/Training||Attend Training Academy, Moderate on-the-job training|
|Key Skills||Assertiveness, Quick Thinker, Teamwork, Strong Moral Character, Courage, Attention to detail, Ethics, Negotiation skills.|
|Annual Mean Salary – Ohio, OH (2021)||$67,110 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)|
|Job Outlook – Ohio, OH (2018-2028)||1% (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) and O*Net Online
What Do Police Officers Do?
Police officers are part of the larger law enforcement system; they are the first line of defense in protecting the communities in which they work. The life of a police officer is demanding and can be challenging because they are required to carry out a large number of different tasks.
Some of the many tasks typically carried out by police officers include:
- Patrolling the city
- Arresting offenders
- Hostage negotiations
- Teaching members of the community the importance of safety and how they can go about helping to keep the city safe
- Controlling traffic and issuing speeding tickets
- Preparing administrative reports on crimes and statistics within their region
- Appearing in court to testify in cases which they may have been involved in
Why Become a Police Officer
Although the job comes with a certain amount of risk and can be quite difficult, a career as a law enforcement official can also be very rewarding. Because police officers play such a vital role in protecting people and their cities, they are often very highly respected. There is a certain sense of pride and accomplishment that accompanies a job with such responsibilities.
It also allows you to contribute in a real and tangible way to the protection of your community. Safety is an important consideration for everyone. As a police officer, you can do your bit to ensure your family, friends, loved ones, and fellow community members are safe from potential harm.
The job also comes with a number of benefits: police officers get paid leaves, early retirement opportunities, and uniform allowances.
What Are the Minimum Requirements to Become a Police Officer
- Candidates must be holders of a high school diploma or a GED
- Must be a citizen of the United States
- Must also be a resident of Ohio
- When applying, candidates must be at least 20 years old, and at the time of appointment, they must be at least 21 years old. There is no maximum or cut-off age limit for the age at which a candidate may apply.
- Candidates must have a valid driver’s license from the state of Ohio
How Long Does It Take To Become a Police Officer
Becoming a police officer is a process, and as such, may take a while. Attending the training academy in and of it takes about 6 months, and may take longer depending on whether you need to take more courses. Then, you may be required to get on the field training by a senior cop. Factor in all the time that it takes for submitting an application, all the tests associated with the applications, and the consideration process and you may be looking at anywhere between 9-12 months from the date of applying.
What Steps to Becoming a Police Officer
Given the nature of the job and the level of responsibility it brings, becoming a police officer requires meeting specific standards and processes. While there is no formal education required to become a police officer, most state departments now prefer hiring candidates who have at least an associate’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. Here are the steps to pursue a career in law enforcement.
- Meet Education Requirements
- The minimum requirement to become a police officer in Ohio is high school diploma or GED.
- Some law enforcement agencies prefer candidates to have at least an associate’s degree in criminology or criminal justice.
- Clear Background Investigation
- To be able to enroll in a police training academy, applicants are required to undergo a comprehensive background check.
- It is recommended to consult Professional Screening and Information (PSI) for a thorough check.
- The investigation process includes checking criminal record, drug abuse history, verification from family and friends, credit history, and employment record.
- Acquiring Academy Training
- Before joining a police training academy, candidates are required to pass Law Enforcement Entrance Exam (LEE).
- Police academy training in Ohio takes around six months to complete.
- During this time cadets are given hands-on field training that include firearms, patrolling, and how to respond to dangerous situations.
- Cadets also get training in filing report, investigation, drug/alcohol abuse, and defensive tactics
- Obtaining License
- To start serving as a police officer in Ohio, it is mandatory to be certified by Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA).
Once your application has been cleared and deemed eligible for consideration, you have to pass a series of selection examinations:
|Background Check||Candidates are required to submit to and clear a complete background check. Due to the fact that police officers are public servants, they must necessarily be held up to a very high moral and ethical standard.The Division of Police Background Investigation Unit will collect pictures, fingerprints, and other information from you to get a thorough idea of who you are. This information may also be cross referenced with information from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Any activity of a questionable nature will immediately result in your application being denied.In addition, the background investigator will conduct a complete check of your employment history, references, and criminal record. They will also visit your home and speak with your spouse or significant other, and possibly other members of your family. The interview usually lasts about 2 to 3 hours|
|Polygraph Test||In order to access how truthful you are and determine other characteristics you possess, you will be required to submit to a polygraph test. This is done by asking you a series of questions about information you have provided.|
|Medical Examination||Tests will be conducted on your cardiovascular and respiratory systems to determine the state of your overall health. Good eye sight and hearing are absolutely essential. Candidates cannot be colorblind nor have uncorrectable visual acuity of 20/20.|
|Psychological Examination||A career as a police officer has a significant amount of stresses. Because of the nature of the job, the mental wellbeing, personality traits, temperament and emotional control of candidates must be assessed.This is helpful in determining well an individual can be predicted to cope with stress and perform the tasks required of a police officer.|
- Complete Basic Academy Training
Candidates must enroll in an Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy accredited training program. These programs typically last 6 months and require candidates to complete at least 579 hours of training. This includes everything from:
- Self defense
- Use of firearms
- How to diffuse violent situations
- How to write reports
- Evidence gathering
- Pass the Ohio Police Certification Test
All candidates must successfully pass this test in order to become a certified police officer.
Prospective Salary and Job Outlook
Police officer’s responsibilities include providing assistance in the assigned areas and responding to calls in emergency situations. According to O*Net Online, police and sheriff’s patrol officers in Ohio will see 1% career growth between 2018 and 2028. Overall a 7% increase in wages and employment opportunities for all police and sheriff’s patrol officers is forecasted between 2020 and 2030. Below are the states with the highest employment level in Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers:
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)
$67,110 is the annual mean salary of police and sheriff’s patrol officers in Ohio, OH as per BLS in 2021. The corresponding national average for the occupation is$70,750. Below are the top 5 highest paying states for this occupation in the US in 2021.
|State||Annual mean wage|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)
Frequently Asked Questions:
Ans: Once a candidate submits their application, the selection process begins, and part of that process includes a variety of examinations. These include a background check, a polygraph test, a medical examination, and a psychological examination. Each of these tests is very important and allows prospective employers to gauge you and your personality and characteristics. They can then accordingly make a decision about whether or not you are suited for a job in law enforcement.
On average, the cost of the Basic Peace Officer Training Academy is approximately $5,575.