Police Academy Acceptance Rate

Why Become a Police Officer?

Every single shift you work as a police officer is an opportunity to directly and positively impact the quality of life in your own community. Whether you are patrolling a dangerous part of town, responding to a call about domestic abuse, or writing up the details of an accident, you are making a difference in your community and helping to keep it safe.

The citizens you serve will entrust you with incredible power, but with that power comes responsibility. You’ll be expected to live by an oath to protect and serve, even at the cost of your own life.

Police work is not for everyone, but if you can handle the stress and the scrutiny, the danger and the demands, the career of a police officer is more than just a job—it’s a proud calling and a lifestyle. Learn more about what it’s like to work as a police officer.

Finding a Top Police Academy

To find a top police academy, you need to think about your career goals. Is your primary goal to work in the trenches as a police officer? Are you interested in working for federal law enforcement? Or do you want to rise in the ranks to a supervisory position or a specialty position such as police detective?

For all of these goals, you will attend a police academy—but you might take different pathways. You can:

  • Attend a local police academy that is specifically geared to police training
  • Attend a federal police academy to train for federal law enforcement positions
  • Attend a community college or university to combine police academy training with getting a certificate or degree in law enforcement or criminal justice
  • Local Police Academy

    In most states, you’ll have plenty of police academies to choose from. Although proximity may be a factor, there are other things to consider.

    Former Madison, Wisconsin Police Chief David Couper recommends choosing an academy that meets the following criteria:

  • The academy should be a modern, 21st-century police training academy with an intellectual atmosphere that’s more like a university than a trade school.
  • It should not be patterned after military boot camps—any “stressing” of students should be specifically job-related.
  • The program should be value-based and mission-oriented with a strong focus on our Bill of Rights and the workings of a free and democratic society.
  • It must include a year or more of field training with a seasoned Field Training Officer (FTO).
  • It should focus on increasing the maturity and emotional intelligence (EQ) of its students.
  • The program should celebrate diversity and foster honest and open discussions about race and policing and the trust gap in our nation between police and citizens of color.
  • In addition to these guidelines, to find a top school talk to graduates of the academy you are looking into, as well as teachers and other staff. Go look at the facility and, if possible, view some of the training sessions. And make sure the academy is approved by your state.

    David Couper, former police chief in Madison, Wisconsin, is a proponent of the idea that police should be partners in not just protecting society but improving it. His blog, Improving Police, discusses the many issues that face law enforcement today and is a forum for possible solutions.

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