How To Train To Be A Police Officer – Starting a career as a law enforcement officer in the Sunshine State comes with many benefits: a flexible schedule, a utility bill, generous medical, dental and vision insurance, premium retirement plans, paid sick leave, paid vacation and more.
In this article you will find a detailed overview of the steps needed to become a police officer or law enforcement officer with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
How To Train To Be A Police Officer
Before an applicant can apply to become a law enforcement officer in Florida, he or she must meet the minimum qualifications listed below:
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Applicants must complete a basic professional training program through a training school certified by the Commission on Criminal Justice Training and Standards to become a law enforcement officer in Florida.
This program is designed to help entry-level law enforcement officers prepare for their roles in the field. Teaches practical skills and conducts simulated activities that supplement lessons learned in the classroom. The curriculum includes studies in legal concepts, patrol skills, arrest procedures, riot response, auto accident response, traffic management, crime scene and courtroom procedures, explosives, first aid and more.
The basic professional training program is an exclusively in-person course and cannot be taken online. Applicants may be exempt from attending this training program if they have served as a law enforcement officer in another country for at least one year or as a special operations officer in the military for at least five years without a dishonorable discharge.
Before future police officers can be sworn in, they must successfully pass the State Officer Certification Examination (SOCE). The state certification exam has 200 questions and candidates must achieve a minimum score of 80% to advance.
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There is a $100 fee to participate in SOCE. If a candidate fails three times, he or she must re-enroll and complete the basic recruit training program again before reattempting the civil servant certification exam.
This is a requirement for police officer candidates in Florida after completing training and exams. In some cases, however, applicants may apply to be hired as a temporary work authorization by a criminal justice agency before completing the basic recruit training program or passing the civil servant certification exam. This is at the discretion of the agency. Temporary work can help expedite meeting minimum requirements because the agency will conduct a background check (including drug screening) during the hiring process.
When the candidate meets all minimum requirements, completes all training, and passes all examinations, the employment agency will submit an Officer Certification Request Form on behalf of the officer to the Commission.
Once the Commission receives the application, along with the candidate’s employment history, Commission staff will review all documentation to ensure that the candidate meets all requirements.
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In total, it can take nine months or more to become a police officer in Florida. Basic vocational training takes five to six months depending on the training academy, and it may take three months or more to complete all forms, pass all selection, study and written exams and allow the Commission to review and accept the application.
Most students do not receive a salary while attending the police academy. Some applicants, however, may receive payment if they are temporarily employed by a criminal justice agency before completing an academic program or receiving sponsorship.
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Police officers serve their communities by protecting property and people. The job varies by function and employer, but law enforcement officers typically respond to emergency and non-emergency calls, keeping detailed incident records. Daily tasks may also include testifying in court, collecting criminal evidence, and arresting suspects.
There are several police officers, including a detective and a criminal investigator, a fish and game warden, a transport and railway officer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that law enforcement employment will grow as quickly as other occupations, at a rate of 5% from 2018 to 2028. Police officers and detectives also receive higher salaries to average, taking home an average annual salary of $65,170 in 2019, according to BLS.
Read on to learn more about law enforcement duties, how to become a police officer, police officer training, salary benefits, and career outcomes.
Police officers perform a variety of duties, including surveilling residents, keeping detailed records, and testifying in court against criminal suspects. Common law enforcement duties also include patrolling certain areas, making traffic stops, observing suspicious activity, making arrests, and preparing cases.
How To Become A Police Officer?
Daily tasks and activities vary depending on the type of police officer. Police officers and sheriff’s patrol officers, the most common types of officers, wear uniforms and conduct regular patrols. They also arrest, search and search for signs of criminal activity in their communities.
Fishermen and game wardens, however, inform the public about the laws, patrol hunting and fishing areas and conduct search and rescue operations. Transport and railway police protect train and train passengers from crimes such as assaults and robberies. Sometimes called agents or detectives, criminal investigators gather criminal facts and evidence. Detectives usually specialize in a specific type of crime, such as murder or financial crimes.
Unlike other professionals, most police officers carry arrest and defense equipment, such as guns or handcuffs. They regularly work at crime and accident scenes. Some types of law enforcement officers, such as those from the U.S. Secret Service or the FBI, may need to travel or relocate. Border agents and environmental police work outdoors in physically demanding terrain and weather conditions.
Law enforcement careers usually require on-the-job training. After completing the training academy, police officers usually undergo a probationary period under the supervision of a superior officer. During this probationary period, inexperienced officers learn how to apply the techniques in the real world.
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After the probationary period, officers are eligible for a promotion. To become a corporal, sergeant, lieutenant or captain, candidates must pass a written exam in addition to on-the-job training. In large departments, candidates may qualify for detective positions or specific criminal areas, such as homicide or juvenile delinquency.
Students can also receive on-the-job training while earning a criminal justice degree. Many colleges and universities offer (and sometimes require) internships for law enforcement students. Students can also apply for internships with local police departments, giving them the opportunity to network with veteran police officers and gain first-hand experience protecting local communities.
There are also paid internships at the CIA, FBI, and Federal Bureau of Prisons. The U.S. Department of the Treasury also offers internships for students interested in learning about financial crimes. These internships can also help graduate candidates gain necessary skills and stand out among job candidates when they enter the workforce.
Additional skills, such as physical strength and endurance, can help candidates meet the requirements of a police officer. To keep up with the daily demands of the job, arrest suspects, and pass the physical tests required to enter the field, police officers and investigators must maintain good physical shape and demonstrate strength. Employers consider prior military or security experience an advantage, as these candidates receive prior physical and firearms training.
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Additionally, police officers must possess good written and oral communication skills to effectively provide detailed incident reports and speak to the public while gathering facts. Law enforcement officers may also speak to suspects who communicate in other languages. To help diverse communities, officials should understand many different perspectives and show empathy. Law enforcement officers must also exercise common sense when determining the most effective way to resolve a problem.
Senior officers, such as detectives and fish and game wardens, may need critical thinking and perceptive skills to determine in advance why suspects act in a certain way. As the public turns to emergency officials for help, these professionals become highly visible members of the community. In their public roles, officials often serve as role models and must possess leadership skills.
Police officer salaries vary based on many factors, including type of job, location, and additional compensation and benefits. Some police departments even offer higher salaries to officers with college degrees and who speak multiple languages.
According to the BLS, the lowest-paid police officers earned less than $37,710, while the highest-paid police officers earned an annual salary of more than $109,620 as of 2019. Police officers often earn additional pay through overtime and special assignments.
Police Officer Qualities And Qualifications
In this field, individuals can increase their salary through education and work experience. According to the BLS, federal investigators and agents earn the most
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