Studies show that the number of people applying at the Atlanta Police Department is increasing, and while becoming a cop is an exciting prospect, it is also very challenging and demanding physically and mentally. If you want to take part, you need to apply at the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) before you can enroll in the Georgia Public Safety Training Center’s (GPSTC) Basic Law Enforcement Training Program.
All applicants have to meet the following basic requirements.
- You have to be at least 18 years old.
- You have to be a citizen of the United States.
- A college degree is not required, but you must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent.
- You must never have been convicted of a crime where the punishment is a jail term.
- You must pass the physical fitness test standards.
- You will be subjected to a thorough background investigation.
- You also have to pass an entrance exam and finish the GA POST Application.
- All applicants will be fingerprinted.
- All applicants are required to undergo a rigorous physical examination.
In addition to these, you will be interviewed by the GPSTC Regional Academy manager where you will be conducting your training. The questions asked in the interview will vary from manager to manager, but if you are applying at, for instance, the Augusta Police Department you will be asked why you want this job, how you will react in hypothetical situations and so on.
The Selection Process
The selection process is very comprehensive and includes both physical and mental training. If you’re going to apply in any Georgia police department, you can expect the following, and more.
- You will undergo a medical examination to determine if you are fit.
- A written examination is required and will be graded from highest to lowest.
- A psychological test will be conducted as well. This is used to determine how mentally and emotionally prepared the applicant is to deal with the stresses that come with the job.
- A background investigation will be performed.
If you want to learn more how to prepare for the police academy, you may want to look at http://www.prepareforthepoliceacademy.com/. There are more than quite a few guides available for aspiring police officers, but this is the most comprehensive yet as it details all the requirements and offers step by step guides for passing the exam.
The most difficult part of the training is without question the physical training, as it will push your body to the limit. The program usually lasts for 11 weeks but it might be longer depending on the kind of training or position you are aspiring for. Regardless, field and physical training will tax you physically. For instance at the Columbus Police Department you’ll be required to perform a specified number of sit ups and pushups, and you will be required to do a timed run covering 1 ½ miles.
In addition, the training includes learning first aid skills, how to operate different kinds of vehicles, self-defense, health and fitness. Because these fitness exercises are taxing, you’ll need to get in shape and do some cardio workouts. This is absolutely important since you won’t be able to last if you don’t build up your endurance. Unless you’re in shape to begin with, you don’t stand a chance of passing the test at all.
The academic training is also an integral part of your training and covers several subjects. The number of subjects covered is expansive and include criminal law, Georgia state laws, interacting with the community and ethics. In addition, the curriculum will include lessons for policing the community, dealing with cultural diversity and resolving conflicts.
The courses and topics covered in academic training usually cover a lot more, although the ones mentioned above are the most common. Additional subject may include handling of various equipment, dealing with different types of hate crimes, domestic violence, and self-defense skills. In the case of the latter, it will be a combination of academic and physical training.
In addition, aspirants will have to go to assessment centers where they’ll be subjected to different situational exercises that are similar to what police officers will encounter in the field. These programs will also test your ability to react to various situations and how well you can handle responsibilities.
Salary, Benefits and Promotion
The average salary is around $46,000, although it might be lower or higher depending on the county. At the Savannah Police Department the average salary is $46,290, while it is slightly higher at the Athens Police Department at $46,910. However, the salary you get will be largely determined by your current position and rank.
Fortunately, there are many career growth options available for a Georgia policeman, and you can be promoted at different positions and divisions like support service, field operations, detective or gain an administrative post.
How to Prepare Yourself
The most effective way you can prepare for the physical and written exam is to educate yourself using the resources available to you. Here are some websites that can help you out.
- http://georgia.gov/blog/2012-03-27/becoming-police-officer is the official website of the state of Georgia, and this link will provide you with information for becoming a cop. On this site you’ll find links to the academy nearest you and other pertinent information.
- http://policetraining.net/online is an online class that offers select classes and training courses that aspiring police officers will find useful.
- http://www.usacops.com/ga/ is a website with links to all police departments in the state. Once you’re at the site you can go directly to the police, sheriff, marshals and fire and patrol sites.
Aside from providing a lot of information about becoming a police officer in Georgia, these websites also offers advice on how prepare for the polygraph test, how to conduct yourself during interviews and more.