Police Officer Training: What to Expect

Police officer training can be quite challenging and a physically demanding job. Getting selected and obtaining the initial interview are only baby-steps.  Different criteria and evaluations are conducted to check about the candidate’s psychological and physiological responses and personalities. How you understand human rights and equality issues, your grasp of police ethical codes and unimpeachable moral conduct like no drug history or no felony conviction, all are important.

Medical Requirements

It is very important to fulfill the medical requirement criteria. Along with the height-weight requirement, you should have corrected vision of 20/20, no color blindness, and no handicaps. You will be undergoing a psychological evaluation for determining your mental health.

Importance of Training

The police academy will help you get in shape physically and mentally. Raw recruits emerging as full-fledged police officers is the alchemy done during the training. The training includes academic studies, strength-building exercises, weight training, self-defense and unarmed combating. Mastering various weapons is as crucial as field training.

Training Details

Police academies across the country have federal guidelines as to what the syllabus will be for the police officer candidates. It essentially consists of what the police officers need to know on the job. Depending on the state of county, the training will last up to 6 months. You are expected to live at the academy during the training. Field training will be separate lasting 6 to 8 weeks; mostly working the street under the supervision of a training officer.


Instruction will be given in civil rights and constitutional laws; accident investigation, state laws and local ordinances. Around 200 to 240 hours of academics are expected. Apart from this, about 105 hours need to be spent to learn about law and another 100 hours about human relations.

Physical Training

Totally more than 140 to 150 hours are devoted for intense PT. Weight training, strength-building exercises are taught along with push-ups, cross country running, jogging and other workouts are done for muscle development, stamina, agility and competitiveness and to remain in top-notch physical fitness levels.

Use of firearms, first aid, self defense, and how to respond to emergencies are other areas where the officer candidates get trained.

Field Training

This is imperative as it will teach the candidates how the real job scenario will be. There will be a senior officer overseeing their training in patrolling, traffic control, accident scenario control and how to respond to emergency response etc. Criminal law, cultural sensitivity, search and seizure, arrest and booking, investigating techniques; all are other expertise to master.

Living in Academies

In live-in academies, candidates live in large open dormitories with separate barracks for males and females with their own bunk-beds and a shared locker. They have a punishing schedule right from waking up at 5 a.m to mandatory lights out at 10 p.m.

Dress and Behavior Codes:

Following army standards, some of the dress codes are:

  • No cosmetics, no hair accessories, no jewelery, no hats or provocative dressing.
  • Hair cut to regulation length, no beard etc.
  • Shoes shined, dressed in neat uniforms.
  • Saluting the senior officer.
  • No using first names etc.