Nevada Police Officer Requirements


As you can imagine, the crime rate in Nevada is quite high due to the influx of tourists who want to try their luck in casinos. If you want to be a Nevada police officer, you have to realize that the state is ranked among the most dangerous states in the whole country. It has the worst rates for robbery, motor-vehicle theft and aggravated assault in the nation. It also ranks as one of the worst in burglaries and forcible rape. It registers 607.6 violent crimes per 100,000 people (second highest in the country).

Types of Nevada Police Officers

Nevada’s Peace Officers’ Standards and Training (POST) Commission designates three categories of officers.

  • Category 1. These are the regular cops you are familiar with. They’re the ones who carry firearms, engage in vehicular pursuits, and arrest suspects. Their training is the most rigorous, and if you want to be a POST-qualified peace officer in this category you’ll usually need to attend an academy for six months. The minimum is 480 hours of training.

You’ll need to be in this category to be a sheriff’s deputy, and even university and municipal police agencies get their personnel only from this category.

  • Category 2. While you have the same powers and responsibilities as the real cops in this category, you don’t get as much training. You only undergo 200 hours of instruction. These are the people guarding school districts, community colleges, and courtrooms. They can also work for the state’s Department of Agriculture, the Office of the Inspector General, the Nevada Transportation Authority, and the Gaming Control Board.
  • Category 3. The officers here are the jail and prison guards. You spend two months and get 160 hours of training to handle inmates.

Nevada Police Requirements

Every police officer in the state of Nevada must abide by the requirements set forth by the POST.  The list of requirements is rather lengthy, but they include standards such as:

  • US citizen
  • 21 years old at the time of appointment to the police department
  • Completed the 12th grade or equivalent
  • Pass the medical exam
  • A background check that includes your criminal record, financial history, and educational background. You must have no felony on your record, and no crimes involving illegal drugs, moral turpitude, or a documented history of physical violence. You also must not have been involved in any misconduct regarding dishonesty if you have been employed in civil service.
  • Psych evaluation
  • Drug screening
  • Polygraph test

Of course, many police departments and agencies add extra requirements, but as a police officer in Nevada you have to abide by all of these.

Nevada Physical Agility Requirements

Once you are accepted at an accredited police academy, you have to complete the Police academy requirements in Nevada which involves a written exam for each course.

You also need to pass the physical fitness test standards for Category 1 officers if you want to be a real cop:

  • 11.5 inches vertical leap
  • 24 sit-ups in one minute
  • 18 pushups
  • 1 minute and 22 seconds to run 300 meters
  • 20 minutes and 20 seconds to walk or run a mile and a half
  • 23.4 seconds to complete an agility run

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

The application process for the Las Vegas Metropolitan PD is very long. The LVMPD requirements (aside from the POST) include:

  • 21 years old at application
  • No felonies, no more than one DUI, and no domestic violence convictions
  • No visible tattoos, branding or jewelry
  • Must have 20/20 vision (corrected or uncorrected)

If your application passes the screening, then you have to attend a Police Recruit Seminar. You’ll then be scheduled for a Personal History Questionnaire Screener, in which you will answer questions about your past. You will be scored immediately, and you can only progress further if you pass.

You will then take a written exam, and then take the physical fitness test. After that, there’s an interview, a background check, a psych evaluation (written and oral), a polygraph test, a medical exam, and a drug screen. Then you’ll have to pass the POST physical fitness test before you attend the Academy (or at least within the first two weeks of the academy).

You have to pass the first LVMPD fitness test before you can proceed. The standards for that are:

  • 14 inches vertical leap
  • 30 correct sit-ups in one minute
  • 23 correct pushups
  • 1 minute and 8 seconds to run 300 meters
  • 16 minutes and 57 seconds to walk or run a mile and a half

Henderson Police Department

While the application process isn’t as complicated here as it is for the LVMPD, the Henderson PD has its own physical fitness standards which are exactly the same as the requirements of the LVMPD. The only difference is that you have 19.5 seconds to complete an agility run.

The usual application process is used: written exam and physical fitness test, interview, background check, polygraph test, psych examination, and medical examination.

North Las Vegas Police Department

NLVPD application process is essentially the same as that of Henderson PD. Its minimum requirements are also similar, except that you have to be 21 years old when you apply and you don’t use tobacco.

Its physical fitness test standards are very different:

  • 14 inches vertical leap
  • 15 correct sit-ups in one minute
  • 18 correct pushups
  • 1 minute and 17 seconds to run 300 meters
  • 17 minutes and 57 seconds to walk or run a mile and a half

Reno Police Department

While the Reno PD uses the usual application process, it also has its own physical fitness standards:

  • 80 pounds grip strength
  • 20 seconds to complete the bend, twist, and touch speed test
  • 32 correct sit-ups in one minute
  • 24 correct pushups
  • 19 seconds to run 100 yards
  • 15 minutes and 20 seconds to walk or run a mile and a half

Sparks Police Department

Aside from the POST requirements, you need to meet at least one of the following requirements before joining SPD:

  • 24 semester units of college-level coursework in one of the relevant fields (law enforcement, sociology, etc.)
  • Nevada POST Certificate
  • Officer in the Sparks Police Department Reserve program
  • Honorable discharge from the military


Learning how to prepare for the police academy is crucial, and you have to make sure that you get the right study materials. One of the best preparatory materials you can use is the Prepare for the Police Academy review manual, which offers a lot of instruction for every step of the application process. The author is an actual police officer who has a degree in psychology, a certified personal trainer, and also strength and conditioning expert. His tips on what you have to do to prepare can be the difference in whether or not you become a cop in Nevada.


Law Enforcement Jobs

The most recent figures released by the FBI show that throughout the country, the rates for violent crime and property crime have gone down 6.6% and 4.7% respectively. Even so, that doesn’t mean the need for good police officers have gone down. Quite the reverse is happening actually, because jobs in law enforcement have become more in demand as police departments throughout the country want to keep the crime rates low, or even lower.

What this means is that there are now job opportunities for those able bodied men and women who can meet the requirements and responsibilities of being a police officer. There was a time when your job search was limited to the area you were living in, but now the Internet has made it possible for you to find a job as a police officer anywhere in the US.

The best place to start looking for a job is to go online and check the links to the various job sites that Google or Bing will turn up in your search. The job links here are updated on a regular basis, and there’s a detailed description of each one so you’ll know what to do. Here are some sites that you can check out:

Police Employment is one of the more popular job hunting sites for aspiring police officers today as it provides a wide array of career options and opportunities. The website offers a job board that you can search by keyword, and you can also look up police departments hiring people in entry level positions, supervisory jobs and more. In fact among the most in demand positions right now on the site are for forensic science and crime scene investigators.

In addition, the site has several job listings by state so you can refine your search by city, state, county, local, state or federal. There are also additional options on the site so you can search by experience level, experience type and relevance as well.

The Blue Line

The Blue Line is another website that is dedicated to providing job opportunities for aspiring police officers throughout the country. Aside from Federal law enforcement jobs the website also lists job openings for civilian and sworn law enforcers as well as openings in consulting and private security firms. When you visit the site you’ll see lists of available job openings such as police detective, paramedics, firefighter and so on.

Just click on the opening you’re interested in and a full description will appear complete with the location, website, contact number, starting salary and other pertinent information. The job requirements will also be listed. If you are interested in the job and meet the requirement, go to the website provided or use the contact number given. From there it’s just a matter of filling and following up the application process.

Indeed is comprehensive job site, and while not solely dedicated to police officer employment opportunities, offers a wide range of options. Unlike other job search sites online, Indeed checks out advertisements from several job boards online so you get to choose from as many possible. In addition, the website allows you to search by keyword, salary and location, so it is a good option if you’re looking for police jobs in Florida or other cities or states. Furthermore, the website is also a good resource if you’re also looking for job openings in criminology or criminal justice.

How to Complete the Job Application

The websites above will all provide links to various job openings for police officers all over America. However, that’s only one part of the process as you need to complete the job application. Even if you meet the requirements, a poorly composed job application form will still result in rejection.

You need to understand that law enforcement agencies have an objective hiring process and anyone who meets those requirements will likely get hired, but it’s up to you to fill up that job application properly and articulate that you have what it takes to be a cop.

Here are some things that you should keep in mind as you look for a job:

  • Be certain your application is readable, intelligible and up to date.
  • Follow all the instructions and requirements. While the requirements in most states are similar, there are some differences here and there which an applicant like you has to be aware of.
  • Emphasize your work experience.
  • Make follow ups.

Applying for a police job online is not really that different from traditional application methods.  You may fill up some forms online but the time will come when you’ll have to go to the police academy and be interviewed. Also keep in mind that your job application is the first means of contact between you and law enforcement agency, so you need to create a good impression.

When you file a job application, it becomes an extension of you and says a lot about your personality, discipline, professionalism and if you represent the ideals of the agency you are applying for. That’s the reason why it’s so important to read the directions because it is tempting to just go through the motions if you have been applying at different positions. This point cannot be stressed enough because if you cannot follow the simple instructions in a job application form, what more taking orders from your superiors when you’re on duty?

It’s also essential that you articulate and emphasize the experience you have since that will count for a lot. If you are looking for police jobs in Indiana for instance, make sure you mention any experience you had with the military, your educational background, and so on. Frequently, the standards are mandated by the state POST or the state’s training and standards commission. If for instance the job requires a 2 year working experience, then make sure that point is emphasized in your application.

Police Officer Salary

If you are looking to get rich on a cop salary, you are in the wrong business. Most applicants who wish to join the police force do so because they see it as a calling, and they truly wish to protect and serve. Others see it as a proud continuation of an illustrious family tradition of being a cop, and in some cases the tradition involves three or more generations of police officers. Some see it as a way to gain prestige and respect, and there are even those who believe that being a police officer can improve their romantic lives, since police officers are seen as special by others in the community.

Still, everyone has to eat, and as an applicant you need to be aware of what you can expect from a policeman salary. However, research on this subject has been erratic due to the sheer number of police and sheriff’s departments in the country.  While you can ask for information regarding salary by asking the police department, obtaining precise and up to date figures from all police departments is far more time-consuming and difficult. Many surveys have been conducted, and the results have not been consistent with one another.

In addition, there are many factors which determine salary of a police officer. Even the lack of unanimity regarding the status of transit and railroad police as well as fish and game wardens can affect the computation for the average police officer salary. There is a police officer pay scale depending on the rank attained by the police officer. The state police salary average may also differ significantly from one another, due to a state’s cost of living expenses and budget for police officers.

Median Salaries for Different Types of Law Enforcement Officers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for police and detectives was $56,980 in May 2012. The median is the point where half of the police earned more than the median while the other half earned less. The tip 10% highest earners drew a salary of more than $93,450. The lowest earners, on the other hand, earned less than $33,060 per year.

  • The median wage for police and sheriff’s patrol officers is $55,270. However, a more recent report filed by pegged this amount at $51,892 for 2014.
  • Detectives and criminal investigators earn a median wage of $74,300. Detectives are a special class of officers tasked to investigate crimes. They are usually required to have at least a year of active service on the force, and they usually have some college experience as well. Often, they are also required to pass an aptitude exam.
  • SWAT officers are another form of special police officers. They are tasked with the most dangerous duties involving heavily armed or dangerous criminals, and they are usually the ones involved when suspects have barricaded themselves or have taken hostages. The average salary of a SWAT officer is $89,250. The SWAT police officer starting salary is $73,500 on average but the most senior officers can earn an average of $105,000.
  • Transit and railroad police earn a median wage of $55,210.
  • The median wage for fish and game wardens is $48,070

The Median Salaries of Police Officers according to Rank

The police department resembles a military institution, as members attain different ranks depending on seniority, test scores, and performance evaluations. The median annual salaries for the different ranks in 2008 are:

  • Police Chief – $90,570 per year. A police chief may also be called a police commissioner, but in large cities these may be two different positions. In general, a commissioner handles public policy, public relations and the budget while the chief oversees staff and operation management.
  • Deputy Chief – $74,834 per year. A deputy chief assists the chief in covering all the responsibilities of the top position.
  • Police Captain – $72,761 per year. Captains are required to have a bachelor’s degree at the very least, and they usually have ten to fifteen years of active work experience in the force. Usually, a captain will head a major department or division of the force, such as organized crime, gang activity, vice, or sexual assault. Sometimes they are in charge of an entire precinct with different divisions. To be a captain, you would have to score extremely well on aptitude tests, have a distinguished record, and receive exemplary performance reviews throughout your career.
  • Police Lieutenant – $65,688 per year. A lieutenant is usually in charge of a small group of police officers or investigators. It usually takes at least 6 or 7 years in the force to attain this rank, and you need superior reviews and excellent test scores. Your duties may be mainly administrative, but you may work on the field when the situation requires it.
  • Police Sergeant – $58,739 per year. You usually need 5 years in the force before you can attain this rank, and you may need some college credits or an associate’s degree. Sergeants often serve as shift watch commander or assistant shift watch commander.
  • Police Corporal – $49,421 per year. This rank may have a different name depending on the police department, but it usually refers to the lowest ranks in the force. The lowest rank is the probationary officer who attains the next rank in this range after the probationary period. If there is a third rank, you will need good performance reviews to advance.

Police Salaries according to State

Where you are serving as a police officer will also determine your police salary. Here is a sample of median salaries in a few states. Keep in mind that within a state, police departments in different towns and cities can have different pay scales.

  • California – $70,773
  • Washington – $62,400
  • Illinois – $47,917
  • Texas – $44,998
  • Florida – $40,695
  • North Carolina – $37,054
  • Georgia – $36,493

Additional Benefits

Most policed departments also offer excellent health benefits. They also offer overtime opportunity, and paid and sick leave are available.

In the end, the salary consideration is still far down the list of what’s important for a true police officer. The opportunity to protect and serve the public is the most important factor of all.