There are many reasons why more and more people are joining the Florida police force, as it offers career growth, benefits and of course the opportunity to serve the state. However, trying out for the Jacksonville Police Department and other departments isn’t for the faint of heart, since the process is very hard. Aside from the various exams, the physical training is very demanding.
Before you join the academy, you have to meet the minimum requirements imposed by the state and the county Personnel Board which you are applying at. These are:
- The applicant has to be at least 19 years old.
- You must have at the very least a high school diploma or GED certification.
- The candidate has to be a US citizen.
- The candidate must not have any felony conviction.
- Applicants have to be of good moral character and reputation. This aspect will be verified during the background investigation.
- If you’re a member of the military, you can apply if you received an honorable discharge.
Police Officer Selection Procedures
Aside from passing the physical fitness test standards, you also need to go through the following process. Note that the list only includes the most basic requirements, and in all likelihood the academy may impose additional steps.
- Pass the Civil Service written examination.
- Applicants have to undergo a through physical examination.
- Applicants have to undergo a polygraph screening.
- You will be subjected to a complete psychological assessment.
- If you’re applying at the Miami Police Department and other departments in the state, you’ll need to undergo a background check and provide access to your records.
The toughest part is the physical training, and it’s here where a lot of the dropout rate surges. During the course of training you’ll be doing a lot of crawling, running and lifting / pushing heavy objects. The objective of course, is to determine your agility, flexibility and endurance and if you have what it takes to be a cop.
One of the best ways to learn how to prepare for the police academy is to use a guide like http://www.prepareforthepoliceacademy.com/. Unlike other tutorials on the subject, this guide provides comprehensive coverage of pre and post academy workouts and explains laws and procedures that aspiring police officers need to know.
In addition to this guide, you also need to prepare your body physically before you enroll in the academy. Start by working out three to five days a week and do some jogging, running and warm up or stretching. The latter is something you need to do before every workout so your bones and muscles loosen up.
In addition, you need to engage in a strength training program to develop your muscles and physique. You don’t need to have a bodybuilder’s body, but you must be strong enough to climb fences, push a vehicle, and perform various exercise routines.
Unless you put in the effort, you’ll never be accepted in the Tampa Police Department, or any Florida police department for that matter. Training for the police is not easy and will require a lot out of you. Given these facts, it’s not surprising why a lot of applicants drop out and only the fittest survive. Unless you are fully prepared, passing the test will be very difficult.
However, your training won’t be limited to just physical as you also need to go through academic and field training. The academic training covers a variety of topics including, but not limited to ethics, criminal law, Florida state laws, community policing, writing reports, and learning how to mediate conflicts. Florida police academic training usually lasts 20 weeks, five days a week, eight hours a day. However, the schedule might change depending on the circumstance or the level of training required for the position you’re looking for.
In addition, all aspiring candidates have to undergo field training as well. Here the aspirants will be harnessed to the point where they will have the skills and experience necessary to become a police officer. At this point you have the opportunity to choose which field you want to specialize in such as instructor, evidence technician, be a polygraph test examiner and so on.
Salary, Benefits and Career Growth Opportunities
The median salary varies, but at the Orlando Police Department it is approximately $49,000. That’s roughly the same figure as in the Saint Petersburg Police Department. Presently, the salaries are usually in this range, but you stand to earn more as your career progresses. By joining the police ranks, you can become a detective, SWAT, bomb specialist and more.
Aside from multiple career opportunities, police officers are entitled to numerous benefits during and after their career. These include but are not limited to, educational financial benefits, medical coverage, life and dental insurance. In addition you can also avail of a deferred retirement plan, get pension, and paid jury duty leave.
How to Prepare Yourself
Due to the physical and mental demands of academic training, you’ll need to prepare yourself fully. The first thing you need to do is go online and do some research as it will save you a lot of time. Here are some suggestions.
- http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/getdoc/16b5a8f6-412c-4c72-817e-d26cb05b2e3d/how-to-become-an-officer.aspx provides you with comprehensive guide for becoming a police officer in the state. Here you will learn what exams you will take, what documentations are required and more.
- http://education-portal.com/articles/Online_Classes_and_Courses_for_Aspiring_Police_Officers.html has links to law enforcement courses online as well as links to universities that provide free courses about the subject.
- If you’ve made up your mind and you want to join the police force, go to http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/getdoc/f408d03f-71a7-4ebf-841f-532f4a008d48/Florida-Police-Departments.aspx for an exhaustive list all the police departments in Florida.
By using these resources you’ll be better prepared for the written exam. Combined with your physical training, you’ll be in a better position to ace the exam and pass with flying colors.