Handling crimes and misconduct on an everyday basis is a complicated and challenging task. Every decision a police officer makes can mean life or death for them and the people around them. For this reason, it is vital that every single one of them is trained to the fullest extent, and this is where the police academy comes in.
Police academies are unique types of schools that provide law enforcement recruits the necessary skills and knowledge to do their jobs properly. They also offer certifications for police officers who wish to advance in their careers. All states in the United States have their own Police Academies.
The length of your stay in a police academy mainly depends on two factors. The first one would be the police academy you enrolled in. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, police training in various academies can range from four weeks to 6 months. However, this range excludes any field training that the recruit may need to take.
The second factor would be your performance. The objective of police academies is to produce the best law enforcers possible. Hence, they may require some underperforming students to retake particular subject. By doing so, they make sure that only qualified individuals receive the title of a police officer.
Subjects Taught In Police Academies
Every law enforcement personnel should have enough knowledge to face any situation that may come their way. That is why police academies include topics they believe would be helpful for police officers to protect others and themselves.
Here are some of the subjects you can expect if you enroll in a police academy: (1)
This subject revolves around technical and procedural skills that police officers need to possess. It includes topics such as report writing, patrol procedures, investigations, traffic accident investigations, emergency vehicle operations, and basic first aid. Police academies may add other topics as they may deem fit.
Weapons, Defensive, and Offensive Tactics
One of the most sensitive and crucial topics that a police officer must learn is the proper handling of firearms. This subject will teach you the proper use, maintenance, and display of your weapons. You will also learn how to deal with situations that involve aggressors. Such as the use of defensive and disarming maneuvers.
The overall mentality of a police officer affects their efficiency and effectiveness in doing their job. The difference between a good cop and a bad cop are the principles they have learned and developed during their early years.
It is essential that police academies help their trainees differentiate between what is right and what is wrong. This topic also teaches students how to take care of themselves. This subject discusses lessons such as ethics and integrity, health and fitness, communications, professionalism, and stress prevention/management
The principal objective of a police officer is upholding the law; thus, it is vital that they know and understand the law. Under the legal education subject, some topics police trainees can expect to learn are criminal and constitutional law, traffic law, and juvenile justice law.
How To Enter A Police Academy
Getting into a police academy is not an easy task. Most of them require applicants to undergo rigorous examinations and background checks. These tests and checks are done to screen any student who may not be fit to work as a police officer. Furthermore, some police academies accept only students who are already employed by a police department.
The minimum educational requirement for a police trainee is a high school diploma. However, there some police academies that still prefer an applicant with a bachelor or associate degree.
Other requirements necessary to apply for a police academy include a US citizenship and age above 18 or 21 years old, depending on the police department. The United States Capitol Police, however, requires applicants to be at least 21 years of age.
Most academies disqualify candidates who have any criminal backgrounds, or felony offenses from training. They may also conduct a thorough background investigation on any person who wishes to apply. (2)
If the applicant passes all these requirements, he will then have to take various entrance exams police academies carry out. Each police academy has the freedom to formulate its exams and schedule. Hence, an applicant must prepare for the exam made his chosen academy. (3)