This article provides an overview of police training and provides a list of companies that provide training to the law enforcement industry. Whether you’re interested in becoming a police officer, or you already work in the field, these training courses are great for beginners and for continuing education.
Basic Requirements to Become a Police Officer
The job of a police officer is far from easy. In fact, it is one of the most physically, psychologically, and emotionally demanding professions. It involves dealing with people from all walks of life, in both simple and complex circumstances, and in a wide variety of different environments. This article provides an overview of the training and education required to become a police officer.
Those who are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement should educate themselves on the demands of pursuing such a career. It is wise to understand the requirements for education (both previous and continuing) and the types of training required to become a police officer.
General Requirements and Qualifications
The following is an overview of the general requirements. Although requirements will vary from state to state, and even from department to department, there is a certain set of basic criteria that every individual must have to be a police officer, such as:
- Must be a citizen of the country
- Must be over 21 years of age (some departments may accept applications for those who are at least 18 years of age)
- Must have a valid driver’s license and have a responsible driving history
- Must be able to provide proof of a High School diploma or an equivalent general education diploma (GED) score or education
- Must not have any prior criminal felony convictions
- Must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military
- Must not have any history of alcohol or drug abuse
- Must meet minimum medical standards
If you satisfy the basic requirements, you can set out to pursue a career in law enforcement. If not, it is best to identify another career path. Prior to applying to a law enforcement agency, there are a number of things you can do to strengthen your resume to improve the odds of landing a job. Here are some helpful tips.
- Take courses in criminal justice or criminology (to improve your chance, complete a two-year or four-year degree program)
- Study a foreign language (this will help you communicate with a diverse community)
- Take a class in psychology
- Take a class in public relations
- Practice good communication skills, possibly taking a Toastmaster’s course
- Get professional firearms training
The Police Training Academy
Once you have been accepted by a law enforcement agency, you will be enrolled in a police academy. The course normally lasts for about twelve to twenty months and will include classroom work, learning in simulated environments, and on-the-job training. At the academy, you will be taught the many laws, ordinances, and codes that you will be required to enforce as an officer in addition to undergoing specialized physical education.
The physical aspect involves instruction on firearms and weapons, how to operate various vehicles, hand-to-hand combat and defensive tactics which include the use of lethal and non-lethal force, and much more. Some of the additional training sections include:
- Communicating with dispatch and other officers
- Search methods and how to conduct a search safely
- Techniques involved in apprehending and arresting a suspect
- How to handcuff suspects
- Self-defense tactics, how and when to use them
- How to properly and legally read Miranda Rights
In addition to attending classroom-style lectures and learning the laws involved in police work, cadets will be trained on effective and essential methods required on duty as a cop.
Cadets will be taught how to use their weapons safely, work on marksmanship, and how to care for, carry, store, and maintain their weapons. New recruits are also taken through tactical firing and marksmanship exercises.
Physical Fitness Programs
The job of a police officer is physically demanding and requires officers to be in top physical condition. During various courses at the academy, cadets are taken through rigorous workouts. Recruits are also educated on the importance of good nutrition and the benefits of health and wellness. A daily work regimen, physical training involves running exercises, push-ups, sit-ups, and stretching to increase overall flexibility.
Recruits may participate in role-playing scenarios that might require the safe and unharmed capture of a suspect. Other aspects such as practicing arrest and booking procedures, firing paint or blank bullets, and other patrol procedures are rehearsed. Recruits also receive education in first aid measures such as CPR.
Emergency Vehicle Operation
In this section, students are familiarized with the skills and techniques required to drive various law enforcement vehicles in diverse terrains and high-pressure situations. New recruits also learn how to tow and trailer vehicles for use in a variety of traffic situations.
Trainees that excel in particular areas are sometimes called on to carry out more specialized tasks and be part of elite units (such as SWAT, snipers, etc.), based on their knowledge and unique skill set.
List of Police Training Companies
ARMA Training is a group of training professionals who served as former military, police officers, and security professionals. ARMA’s training programs are focused on how to deal with real-life physical confrontations. They teach what is known as “anatomically correct” methods of physically controlling subjects in a way that doesn’t cause injury.
ARMA’s courses include subjects like Crowd Control, Defensive Tactics, Officer Survival, Non-Lethal Weapons, and other specialized programs. Their instruction methods emphasize a hands-on approach and prepare officers for real-world situations. Learn more on the ARMA website.
Blauer Tactical Systems
Blauer Tactical Systems specializes in educating and preparing police officers, SWAT, and soldiers for sudden ambush attacks. Blauer uses a person’s innate response mechanism as a method to divert sudden violent attacks, known as the SPEAR system. The system serves as a bridge to other counter-attacks if necessary. Visit the Blauer Tactical Systems website for more information on their training calendar, course descriptions, instructional videos, and more. Watch a few of the videos and you’ll be convinced that this should be required training for everyone in law enforcement.
Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC)
The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers is the nation’s largest provider of training to law enforcement professionals. Their training programs are common to all law enforcement officers. Examples include firearm use, driving techniques, tactical methods, legal disciplines, investigation methods, and many more. Visit the FLETC website to learn more and view the current course catalog.
PoliceOne Academy is an accredited online law enforcement training academy with over 1300 instructional videos and it continues to grow every day. The web-based system allows departments and their staff to have access to the videos at any time via their computer, tablet, or mobile device. Supervisors can assign individual courses to their teams and keep track of completion rates. Users can set alerts and reminders to make sure they never miss a course. The system is currently used by more than 60,000 people and can be used for continuing education credit in 38 states. Learn more about PoliceOne Academy.
SIG SAUER Academy
The SIG SAUER Academy provides high-quality firearms instruction. The company will deliver instruction anywhere in the United States. In addition, they have a 140-acre training facility in New Hampshire. The facility has indoor and outdoor ranges, a variety of tactical training environments, and trains on a variety of firearm types. For more information, visit the SIG SAUER Academy website.
Smith & Wesson Academy
Smith & Wesson is a nationally recognized manufacturer of guns. The Smith & Wesson Academy trains civilians, law enforcement professionals, and the military on how to handle, service, repair, and use guns. Specialized courses for police include instructor-led training on handguns, shoulder-arm weapons, tactical methods, defensive tactics, armor, and many more. Learn more about Smith & Wesson Academy and its extensive line of guns, rifles, and other weapons.
Street Crimes is focused on training police officers to be prepared for anything they might encounter while in the street. Street Crimes offers a three-day instructor-led police training program that covers:
- Conflict resolution techniques
- How to survive an ambush
- Active shooter training (mass shootings)
- Deadly force encounters
- Interviewing tactics
- How to cultivate a confidential informants
- Intelligence gathering methods
- Covert surveillance tactics
- Legal interrogation
- Effective use of cover and concealment
To learn more about their curriculum and schedule, visit their website.
Team One Network
The Team One Network offers a curriculum of practical, intense, and realistic police training for law enforcement officers. The Team One Network uses nationally recognized and deeply experienced subject matter experts to lead their in-depth classes. Team One has an extensive catalog of classes such as:
- Firearm operator and instructor
- Executive protection
- Tactical casualty care
- Sniper and active shooter
- Tactical electronics and gear
Visit the Team One Network website for more information on their offerings, how to host a class, and their overall schedule.
LocalGovU provides online training solutions for local government and public entities. Their offerings are geared toward a much wider audience than just police departments, but they do have a very good selection of web-based training classes. Examples of their virtual courses include:
- Communications Skills, including Dispatch Communications
- Traffic stops and safety measures, roadway and highway
- Responding to emergencies, emergency situations
- Investigative skills
- Report writing
- Equipment training
- Firefighting techniques
- Gangs, Terrorism, and Narcotics
These are only a sample of the offerings in their extensive police training library. To view all of the virtual courses, visit the website. Click on the Individuals menu and select the Law Enforcement option. They have options as low as $12.00 per course, which includes videos, materials, tests, and quizzes. They provide a certificate for all completed work.
NSENA Virtual Reality Training
NSENA uses virtual reality technology to train police officers, SWAT teams, detectives, and others in a virtual training environment. The system has a variety of modules designed by actual trainers and is constantly being updated. The virtual systems are completely immersive and they feel real, which helps bring the element of real-world stress into the picture, which may be hard to do in an actual environment.
Sample immersive training topics deal with active shooter situations, de-escalation techniques, traffic stops, and more. Visit the NSENA website to learn more and schedule a demo.
Police Training / Exam Prep Books
Norman Hall’s Police Exam Preparation Book
Norman Hall’s Police Exam Prep Book is the number 1 police exam book that guarantees you’ll score at least 80% on the exam.
The book covers all of the major subject areas you’ll need to prepare for the exam, including the written exam, physical ability test, oral board, psychological evaluation, background investigation, polygraph test, and medical evaluation. In addition, it has three practice exams with the answers to help you practice.
Police Exams Prep 2018-2019: 4 Practice Tests + Proven Strategies (Kaplan Test Prep)
Kaplan’s Police Exams Prep 2018-2019 guarantees that you’ll pass the exam or they will give you your money back. The exam prep book 4 full practice exams, quizzes to help identify your strengths and weaknesses, and more.
The content of the book matches the exam blueprints for the five largest police departments in the United States (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Washington D.C.).
Barron’s Police Officer Exam, 10th Edition
Barron’s Police Officer Exam prep book includes four full-length sample tests, two official exams from large police departments, and recommended strategies for dealing with tough questions.
In addition, it offers time-tested advice for taking the test, time management strategies, and reading comprehension help. Also, the book has a companion set of flashcards available separately. They can be a helpful study tool in preparing to take the exam.
In addition to personal equipment, officers use software programs and tools like the NYPD Patternizr Software, which helps solve crime more quickly.
Questions and Comments
If you have any questions or have a suggestion about a high-quality police training provider, please post a message below.