Becoming a cop is one of the best ways to serve your community, and if you are in Alabama they’ll probably have a great need for you. Alabama has a crime rate that’s higher than the national average. In 201, Alabama had 4,026 crimes compared to the national state average of 3,169. The national state average for violent crimes was 346, and Alabama had 420 of those for that year.
The State of Alabama requires police departments to provide 480 hours of academic instruction, but some police departments offer more hours than this. Some police departments may also have more stringent aptitude and physical fitness requirements as well.
Birmingham Police Department
To become a cop in Birmingham, you first need to meet the following minimum requirements:
- US citizenship with a valid State of Alabama driver’s license
- At least 21 years of age
- High school diploma or a GED equivalent
- Pass a physical examination
- And you need to have a good moral character and reputation, with no felony convictions and an honorable discharge from the military.
Then you have to pass the following grueling tests, which may include:
- Written exam for Civil Service
- Pre-Employment Physical Fitness Screening administered by the Birmingham Police Department
- Polygraph test and Background Investigation
- Physical Examination and Psychological Screening
You will then need to pass the Birmingham Police Academy. This includes about 920 hours of training. You’ll need to demonstrate your proficiency in subjects such as criminal law, search and seizure, patrol procedures, police community relations and first aid. You will also need to be familiar with firearms and defensive tactics.
Finally, you have to be very fit. The Physical Fitness test standards for the Alabama PD are very exacting. You need to be agile enough to scale a fence that’s 6 feet high and go through windows that measure two feet on each side. You need to be able to walk on a balance beam for 5 yards. You need enough endurance to run a mile and half in under 15 minutes and 28 seconds. You also have to be strong enough to drag a 165lb dummy for 5 yards and push a car for 15 feet.
A recruit of the Birmingham Police Department earns $35,609.60 when they have a high school diploma or GED. With an Associate’s Degree or 64 semester hours of college you can earn $37,356.80. With a 4-year degree, it’s 39,270.40.
Montgomery Police Department
The Montgomery Police Department has the same basic minimum requirements to apply, but the minimum age is 19 years old. You also need to live within an hour’s response time from police headquarters.
As a cadet, you’ll earn an annual salary of $35,403. After that, you may earn anywhere from $36,534.00 to $45,573 per year. You can apply online at the City-County Personnel Website.
Mobile Police Department
As a rookie, your pay will depend on the level of education you have attained prior to joining the force. High school graduates earn $29,361, while those with an associate’s degree earn $30,848. A bachelor’s degree can get you a salary of $32,410, while possessing a Master’s degree gets you $34,050.
But before you get those salaries you’ll need to go through anywhere from 600 to 700 hours of police instruction. You’ll need to learn the law and about police procedures, and you will also need to learn combat and weapons training as well as defensive tactics. You’ll also have to go through 80 hours of instruction about especially dangerous situations, such as pursuits or arrests involving weapons. You will also need to pass physical fitness standards as well.
You will first have to visit the Mobile County Personnel Board to see if the Mobile PD is currently hiring. When a job opening is posted, you’ll then learn the details you need to know. In general, the Mobile requirements are those of the average Policeacademy requirements in Alabama for applicants (19 years old, valid driver’s license, high school graduate, physically and mentally fit, and good moral character).
The Huntsville PD also has more stringent standards as well. You need to be at least 20 years old, and you have to be 21 by the time you graduate from the Police Academy. The first requirement is all about your physical fitness, and you must pass the tests before you continue your application. Fail just one part of the test, and you fail the entire test.
- You need to do 22 pushups in 1 minute. You also need to do those pushups (and any of the exercises you’ll have to do later) properly. For example, if you don’t keep your body straight, then the pushup won’t count. And if you allow any part of your body except your hands and feet to touch the floor, you are automatically disqualified.
- You need to do 25 sit-ups properly within 1 minute.
- The next exercise combines five specific parts. You have to push a patrol vehicle with a person inside a distance of 15 feet. You then have to run 150 feet until you climb a 60foot fence (made of either wood or chain link). Next, you have to run another 150 feet before you go through a window opening that is about 24 square inches wide. Then it’s another run of 75 feet and you have to walk on a suspended six-inch wide beam for 15 feet. Then it’s another 75-foot run before you carry or drag a dummy that weighs 165 pounds for fifteen feet. You need to complete all these things one after another, within 90 seconds.
- Then you need to be able to run a mile and a half within 15 minutes and 28 seconds.
That’s just the first requirement. There are other tests as well, including a drug screening and a polygraph test. You can learn more by going to the Huntsville Police Academy website.
Tuscaloosa Police Department
The age requirement here is 21, and the physical fitness requirements resemble those required by the Huntsville PD.
Learning how to prepare for the police academy can be very difficult, especially if you don’t know what you need to know. The best way to prepare is to study review materials prepared by those who actually passed the Academy, such as the Prepare for the Police Academy review guide. This is extremely well written, very comprehensive, and full of tips that can help you prepare properly for what’s in store for you.