TN Police Officer Requirements

The latest statistics show that the state of Tennessee has one of the highest crime rates in America, and a report by 24/7 Wall Street indicated that incidents of violent crimes is much higher when compared to other states, with 479.6 aggravated assault cases alone for every 100,000 residents. For this reason, the state is always looking for people who are willing to serve and work with the police force.

Tennessee Law Enforcement Certification Standards

The State of Tennessee has set down the application requirements for police officers in writing and on the Internet, and it is similar to those in other states. However, the police academy requirements in Tennessee may have some variations depending on which particular department you file your application. In general though:

  • You must be a US citizen
  • Have a valid Tennessee driver’s license
  • Provide a criminal history disclosure and agree to release all pertinent records
  • Pass the physical, medical and psychological exams
  • Supply a fingerprint sample
  • At least 21 years of age

Physical Fitness Standards

In addition to those, all applicants have to comply and meet the physical fitness test standards. The test will done at the Tennessee Department of Safety’s Training Center in Donelson, Tennessee and determine the extent of your physical conditioning. The physical fitness tests will include, but not be limited to, the following.

  • Running
  • Sit ups and push ups
  • Jumping
  • Running around an obstacle course
  • Climbing fences or walls
  • Lift heavy objects

The training sessions and routines are dependent of age and gender so variations when it comes to the number of reps should be expected. Aside from an intensive physical training program, your training will include learning how to use weapons, simulate different crime situations and handle different scenarios that require a great deal of physical agility and endurance. Because the demands of the job are high, only those who pass all the tests will be accepted into the academy.

Memphis Police Department

The Memphis Police Department requires all interested applicants to have at least had 54 semester hours from a regionally accredited college or university. The minimum average grade has to be C, while for military personnel, two years continuous service with honorable discharge are a must. For the rest of its requirements however, Memphis follows the guidelines set by the state.

The physical training requires you to run 1.5 miles in 15 minutes or less, and a comprehensive physical agility test will be required too. Applicants for the Memphis Police Department must also possess good moral character and adhere to the department’s core values which include respect for the law, accountability, integrity and honesty.

Nashville Police Department

The Nashville Police Department follows the guidelines imposed by the state for anyone wishing to join its ranks. Once you have filled up the form, you need to submit it to the Metro Government Department of Human Resources. Upon completion of the review you will be required to go through a physical ability course and a written exam.

If you pass the written and physical tests and your background checks out, you will undergo a personal history questionnaire to be followed by a panel interview. If you pass this test you will go through one more drug and alcohol screening, and if you pass can begin life in the academy.

Knoxville Police Department

With a population of 170,000, Knoxville boasts of the best in southern hospitality with the finest that technology has to offer. If you want to apply as a police officer the form is available online as well as a complete testing information sheet. The training program lasts for 24 weeks and will cover aspects like accident investigation, proper use of firearms, writing reports and criminal investigation.

The police department provides several benefits for those who are hired including annual leave, $500 yearly uniform allowance, health insurance and long term disability insurance among others. Officers in the Knoxville Police Department are also entitled to a deferred compensation program and an educational incentive program.

Chattanooga Police Department

The Chattanooga Police Department requires applicants to be at least 21 years old but not more than 40 during application. You must also complete the physical fitness examination and have at least a high school diploma or GED. In addition to these requirements, you also have to be a resident of Tennessee and pass all the exams and tests that the agency imposes. Just like the other police agencies, a polygraph test will be used on all aspirants.

Clarksville Police Department

The Clarksville Police Department follows the guidelines set by the state for recruiting police officers, and they offer a starting salary of $30,065 for cadets. However, the figure goes up as you gain experience. To become a police officer here you need to pass the physical examination which includes a 1.5 mile run and one minute of sit ups and pushups. If you’re going to participate in the physical training examination you must bring the testing form that the Tennessee Career Center will provide. Those who fail to bring the form and ID with them will not be allowed to complete the training.


As the information above clearly shows, learning how to prepare for the police academy is necessary if you want to have any chance of being part of the selection process. Unlike other jobs, the exam will test both your physical and mental skills, which can be very stressful.

The best way to prepare is to use a guide such as Prepare for the Police Academy. With this guide, written by a police officer who’s already been there, you learn the steps you need to take to pass the exam. In addition you’ll also learn what to do to get ready for the workout programs, understand the defensive tactics course and how to avoid getting stressed or anxious during the training exercises.

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