Ask yourself this question. Are you ready to work the next twenty-five years, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, including holidays? If you answered yes, then you just made the first step of many to come.
You have showed desire if you answered yes to the above question, but you have got to want to do this job. Its not a job that you just do for money. Because your not going to make much of it and your not going to become rich.
If you do not know what this is, or you do not have it you will never make it.
Not only to face the situations you will find yourself in, but to face the mistakes you will make, and the ridicule you will endure.
Most departments will not even consider you without some college or a degree. Just remember book smarts and street smarts are two different things. The state academy will tell you that your best officers usually score between 75%-85%. Basically smart enough to do the job, but dumb enough not to find something safer to do for a living.
Ok, I have the desire and I got my schooling I'm ready....
I hope so, you have a lot of hard work in front of you.
Get ready to fill out alot of applications before you get your first interview, unless you know an officer that can give you a great reference.
Usually around 60-200 hundred questions, to see if you have good judgment, and to see how much you know about the law and police work. This is a pass or fail test which about eighty percent fail, and are booted.
Consist of police officers, sergeants, and lieutenants, and can be the longest 30 min of your life. You will be given hypothetical situations or scenarios in which you are the police officer and you have to tell the board how you would take care of these situations. Sounds easy right? It's not. The questions that are asked could stump a veteran officer. Some questions don't even have a right answer.
Basically a sprint through a obstacle course to see if you can finish, and your time compared to other applicants.
Most departments require you to submit to polygraph testing. Where they have you fill out a form of around hundred and fifty questions, then hook you up to the machine. Just be honest and you will do fine.
If you have any kind of criminal record that is bad or a lot of tickets you might as well forget it. These background investigations cover pretty much every place you have lived or went to school. They can include criminal history, traffic citations, bad finances, civil suits, employment, media, moral character, etc.
A one on one interview with the Chief of Police.
Two days of lifting, squeezing, pushing, pulling, coughing, giving blood, along with other samples.
This is a test you take when you are hired. It consist of several test that have a total of 886 questions and takes around four and a half hours to take. Once the test is completed you must go take one more test at the doctors that consist of 187 questions and a thirty min interview with the doc. Basically they want to make sure your crazy enough to be a cop.
Now that I have made it through all that and I have been hired its over right?
Nope your just getting started. "Oh and if you get a new job with another agency later in your career get ready to do all of the above again.
Most departments will not hire you full-time unless you have some type of past law enforcement experience. So if you get hired by a department you may spend several years as a part-time (PT) or reserve (RS) police officer before they may consider you for a full time job. This commitment can include PT/RS FTO training, along with part-time police academy which includes 80 hours of schooling that you will not be paid to go through.
You will also be required to work a number of hours per month, on top of your other full-time job. This can be overwhelming at times. Especially if a major event (tornado, etc.) happens that requires the department to rely on their part-time and reserve officers.
FULL-TIME POLICE ACADEMY
Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center (KLETC) - More schooling
Twelve weeks away from home. Includes the following training:
560 hours of training
Ethics and Discretion (7 hours)
Community Oriented Policing: (4 Hours)
Kansas Criminal Justice System, Authority and
Jurisdiction (3 Hours)
Constitutional Law (2 Hours)
Kansas Criminal Code (13 Hours)
Criminal Procedure and Laws of Arrest (2 Hours)
Search and Seizure (13 Hours)
Admissions and Confessions (5 Hours)
Civil Process (3 Hours)
Civil and Criminal Liability of Law Enforcement (4 Hours)
Liquor Laws (2 Hours)
Communications (12 Hours)
Cultural Awareness (4 Hours)
Hate Bias Crimes (2 Hours)
Report Writing for Law Enforcement (11 Hours)
Field Notes (Note-taking and Report Writing) (2 Hours)
Kansas Incident Base Reporting System (KIBRS) (8 Hours)
Patrol Procedures (2 Hours)
Patrol Activities (2 Hours)
Law Enforcement Radio Procedures (1 Hour)
Pedestrian Stops (2 Hours)
Vehicle Stops Course (12 Hours)
Roadblocks & Barricades (2 Hours)
Crimes in Progress (1 Hour)
Building Search Lecture (2 Hours)
Crowd Control and Civil Disorder (2 Hours)
Crime Prevention Techniques (1 Hour)
Domestic and International Terrorism and Gangs (4 Hours)
Officer Survival Lecture (8 Hours)
Practical Problem in Officer Survival Course (8 Hours)
Practical Problem in High Risk Vehicle Stops (8 Hours)
Practical Problem in Low Risk Vehicle Stops (4 Hours)
Practical Problems in Building Searches (4 Hours)
National Crime Information Center (2 Hours)
Law Enforcement Officer as First Responder (3 Hours)
Securing the Crime Scene (1 Hour)
Interview and Interrogation Techniques (12 Hours)
Identifying, Collecting, and Processing Evidence (4 Hours)
Forensic Evidence (2 Hours)
Fingerprinting (4 Hours)
Identification of Suspects (1 Hour)
Theft Investigations(1 Hour)
Auto Theft Investigations (1 Hour)
Financial Crimes (2 Hours)
Burglary Course (1 Hour)
Injury and Death Cases (5 Hours)
Robbery Course Code: (2 Hours)
Sex Crimes Course (6 Hours)
Child Abuse and Neglect (5 Hours)
Controlled Substance (8Hours)
Informants and Intelligence (2 Hours)
Surveillance (1 Hour)
Emergency Response and Pursuit Driving (4 Hours)
Practical Problems in Criminal
Investigations (24 Hours)
Introduction to Kansas Vehicle Code (1 Hour)
Kansas Traffic Code Definitions (2 Hours)
Title, Registration and Vehicle Identification (1 Hour)
Kansas Driver Licensing (1 Hour)
Kansas Vehicle Insurance Requirements (1 Hour)
Kansas Rules of the Road (6 Hours)
Serious Offenses and Fatality Statutes (1 Hour)
Occupant Safety and Restraint (2 Hours)
Traffic Enforcement Strategies (1 Hour)
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (SFST)
Collision Investigation (22 Hours)
Introduction to Traffic Direction and Control (1 Hour)
Introduction to Grade Crossings (2 Hours)
Hazardous Material Awareness – First Responder Training
Behavior Management and Crisis Intervention (2 Hours)
Interaction with Special Needs Citizens (6 Hours)
Crisis Management Strategies (3 Hours)
Juvenile Law and Justice (4 Hours)
IJuvenile Intervention and Prevention Strategies (3 Hours)
Domestic Violence Intervention (8 Hours)
Practical Problems in Domestic Violence Intervention (8 Hours)
Use of Force (4 Hours)
Use of Force - Continuum (4 Hours)
Practical Problems in the Use of Force (1 Hour)
Arrest Procedures (4 Hours)
Handcuffing and Control Techniques(4 Hours)
Introduction to Transporting Prisoners: (1 Hour)
Prisoner Booking, Lock-up and Identification: (2 Hours)
Juvenile Custody - Special Needs (2 Hours)
Transporting Prisoners – Practical Exercise (3 Hours)
Law Enforcement Baton (4 Hours)
Use of OC Spray (4 Hours)
Tactical Self Defense (32 Hours)
Physical Conditioning (21 Hours)
Emotional Health and Stress Management (4 Hours)
Fundamentals of Courtroom Testimony (2 Hours)
Rules of Evidence(4 Hours)
Practical Exercise – Courtroom Testimony (8 Hours)
Introduction to Firearms (2 Hours)
Fundamentals of Marksmanship (4 Hours)
Basic Auto Pistol Fundamentals (4 Hours)
Mechanics of the Draw (1 Hour)
Reduced Light Shooting Techniques (1 Hour)
Introduction to Shotgun (4 Hours)
Shotgun Practical Exercises (4 Hours)
Handgun Practical Exercises (32 Hours)
Reduced Light Practical Exercises (1 Hour)
Legal Aspects of Emergency Vehicles Operations (2 Hours)
Fundamentals of Emergency Vehicle Operations (3 Hours)
Vehicle Dynamics (2 Hours)
Practical Exercise in Emergency Vehicle Operations (24 Hours)
This is a pass or fail. The schooling consist of six test having 55 to 100 questions on them. Mess this up and you start all over, plus have to wait a year to go back to the KLETC
Alright I have made it through the KLETC, now I'm ready to hit the street right?
Not quite yet rookie!
equipment - How about wearing 30 lbs of it everyday
Safety comes first!
that is why the item every officer puts on first, is the bullet proof vest which usually sits on top of a t-shirt
Next are the uniforms. Usually made out of Cotton, Polyester, or a blend of the two.
Shoes or boots that can stand severe weather conditions like snow, water and heat.
The Duty Belt, holds everything an officer needs in order to conduct business.
you thought that was all? think again.
The Officer's Briefcase contains many forms, a cite book, manuals, penal code and vehicle code books, pens, pencils, first aid supplies and if there is room, some snacks.
Some officers takes a War Bag with them when on patrol. This bag contains extra handcuffs, additional ammunition, flashlight batteries, helmet, survival gear like t-shirts and underwear, soap, shaving supplies, first aid kit, and any other equipment needed for an extended stay on the job.
Getting all of this equipment ready and keeping it in top condition is a daily task for an officer, before he/she even hits the streets. Don't forget you have the patrol car full of equipment too.
Book Sense and Street Sense are two totally different things. Get ready to ride along with a supervisor for the next few weeks, or even months depending on how you do, and how fast you learn.
Ok, my field training is over, now what?
This could be a few months or even a year. Just remember getting the job is the easy part, keeping it is the hard part. One big mistake and you could be gone.
keep in mind after all of this work only about 1 in 3 people make it more then a few years in a law enforcement career before they quit.
Forty plus hours of training to keep your full time certification through the KLETC.
Now I'm a cop.... What's next?
This is one word you will become to know very well. You will need to learn how to manage it or thrive on it. Police work is one of the most stressful jobs in the world. You will see things that most people could not start to handle, and do things that most people would run from. It takes a different type of person when someone comes and tells you there is a man with a gun outside. Most people would try to do as much as they can to stay as far away from the man with the gun. You on the other hand will have to be the type that will head right to him.
It can be very hard to balance family and job. Family must come first, but they must understand that at a moments notice you might have to leave, or you might be late coming home, and in some cases you might never come home.
When you take the job as a cop, you will find out quick who your real friends are. It makes some people uncomfortable being around cops. Also its hard for cops to relate to a civilians sometimes. Even old friends. It takes work to keep trust and understanding in a friendship.
Don't really need to say much about this, most people know how Lawyers can be. As for court get ready to be there early in the morning after you have worked all night. The thing that will really make you mad is when your county attorney lessens charges to get a conviction.
Mess up doing your job real bad, and you can lose everything you own, including your house.
With-in your department or with-in your local government, this can be a very hard thing to overcome.
This is very important. If you do not keep most of the public behind you, it can become almost impossible to do your job well.
Can make the job even more challenging, and more stressful.
This comes from all the above. Just listen to a scanner or a police radio, you can tell the guys which are burnt out.
There is a law enforcement officer killed in the USA about every fifty-four hours. Keep sharp and don't let your guard down. Think safety at all times even when you're off duty, if there really is such a thing.
If you make it this far, you will have years of stories, some good, some bad. Make the most of your retirement because the average life span of a police officer is about 12 years less then a normal person.
So ask yourself, do you have what it takes to be a cop?
If you made it this far, and most won't, you might be asking yourself why anyone would want to work in law enforcement. Well, law enforcement can be a very rewarding, and exciting profession. I'm not trying to scare you in to not working in law enforcement. Just want you to have an idea of what it takes to be a cop. Just remember, law enforcement is not just a job, it's a profession, and a lifetime commitment.
Chief Matt Dennis
Cherryvale Police Department