How To Become A Police Officer in Arkansas

Most people in Arkansas will say that the state is a nice place to live in, but it can be a bit violent every now and then.  In 2012 the state logged in 13,835 violent crimes including 173 murders. Becoming a cop in Arkansas is not only a nice way to get a respectable job, but it’s also a much needed public service.

The Police academy requirements in Arkansas will depend on where you want to enlist. Here are some cities in Arkansas and their particular eligibility standards.

Little Rock Police Department

The starting salary for rookie police officers in Little Rock is $24,000. However, the median salary for patrol officers and criminal investigators is more than $42,000. The median for police supervisors and detectives is almost $60,000.

You can go online to the Little Rock Police Department Recruiting page to see how you can join. You need to be 21 years old but not more than 46 years old. You also need a high school diploma or GED, and have a good moral character without any felony convictions. Your eye sight should be 20/20 either with eyeglasses or not, and your hearing should be good enough that you can hear a whispered conversation within 15 feet.

The physical fitness standards can also be a bit intimidating. The Pre-Employment Agility Test used by the Little Rock PD is set by the Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research. The physical Fitness test standards include:

  • 16 sit-ups in a minute
  • 18 pushups without a time limit
  • Bench pressing 62% of your body weight
  • A vertical jump of 14.5 inches
  • Completing a 300-meter sprint in 76 seconds
  • Completing an agility run in 22 seconds
  • Completing a mile and a half run within 18 minutes and 48 seconds.

Fort Smith Police Department

As a Fort Smith PD rookie, your starting salary is $35,880. You get a 3% bump if you have an associate’s degree, 6% for a bachelor’s, and 7% for a master’s. The requirements conform to the standards set forth by the Arkansas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Training (ALETA).

Once you meet the basic requirements (US Citizen, 21 years old, valid driver’s license, high school graduate or GED, no felonies), you can then submit your application. You then need to get a 70% grade to pass the written exam, and then you also need to pass the physical agility test. Then come the background check, two interviews, med and psych evaluations, and a polygraph test. Only then can you attend the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy.

Fayetteville Police Department

After you graduate from the academy, you can earn a salary of $33,306 a year. The basic qualifications and process is largely the same but with some minor differences in the order of the examinations and interviews. The background check will include your credit, and there’s a drug screen as well.

However, Fayetteville PD has slightly different physical fitness standards. You will need to:

  • Bench press at least 64% of your body weight or do 25 push-ups;
  • Leg press at least 125% of your body weight or have a vertical leap of 16 inches;
  • Do 29 sit-ups in one minute;
  • Run a mile and a half inside 16 minutes and 29 seconds;
  • Run 300 meters in 71 seconds

Springdale Police Department

Springdale PD also asks for the same basic requirements, although their criminal record requirement is more demanding. Not only should you not have any felonies on your record, but you also should have no misdemeanors that involve moral turpitude or anything violent.

Its physical fitness requirements are also very similar:

  • 25 pushups
  • 16-inch vertical leap
  • 29 sit-ups in a minute
  • A mile and a half run within 16 minutes and 28 seconds
  • 300 meter sprint in 71 seconds

Once you pass through the academy, you will then earn a starting salary of $31,895.

Jonesboro Police Department

The basic qualifications for the Jonesboro are also basically the same as the others in terms of age, education, and moral character. The only difference is that the Jonesboro PD won’t let you join if you have visible tattoos or unusual piercings.

It also has its own set of physical fitness requirements:

  • 22 sit-ups in one minute
  • 12 pushups in one minute
  • 300 meter run in less than 71 seconds
  • Sit and reach at least 13 inches
  • Mile and a half run of less than 18 minutes
  • Using a double action pistol, trigger pull 15 times using each hand

When you pass the battery of tests and interviews, you’ll then need to undergo more than 600 hours of training at the Black River Technical College Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pocahontas. Your starting salary is then $31,123.92 a year.


As you can see, the path towards a law enforcement career is filed with many potential roadblocks. The physical fitness standards alone are daunting, and that is why you really need to be in shape. Then you also have to review for the written exams, and for that you need to be prepared.

Learning how to prepare for the police academy can be also confusing since you may not be able to anticipate what kind of questions will be asked of you in the interview portion of your application. This is perhaps one of the most common ways to flunk out.

What you really need is to get a comprehensive review manual that covers everything, from the beginning stages of the application to what’s in store for you in the Police Academy. One of the most highly rated review materials is the Prepare for the Police Academy review manual, which is written by someone who actually went through the entire process and passed. Here you will know you to submit your application papers, do well on the exams and interviews, and even survive the police academy.

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