How to Become a Police Officer in Alabama
How to Become a Police Officer in Alabama
Becoming a police officer in Alabama, whether for the state police or a local department will require a lot of work. The first step is learning what you need to do. The main requirements are attending the police academy and having your GED. Earning an associates degree is even better as it improves your qualifications compared to the other applicants. You can find out about earning your degree from The Online Degree Advisor.
There are obvious prerequisites that must be met before any application to become a police officer can be considered. Each applicant must be over the age of nineteen years, possess their own driver’s license and have attained a high school diploma or GED. Of course, they must be an American citizen and have a good character without convictions.
A medical examination is required to show that the candidate will be able to sustain the rigors of training and the job itself. Beyond their physical fitness, every applicant must undergo psychological testing to demonstrate their suitability as a law enforcement officer.
After fulfilling these demands the aspiring police officer will need to work in one of the Alabama law enforcement agencies as peace officer. This position must be full time, requiring a forty hour per week commitment and, although waivers are available under special circumstances, this position could be held for anything up to six months.
When the candidate is deemed ready, they can then apply to any of the ten Alabama Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission academies for admission. This application will require documentation including a completed application form, evidence that the candidate has fulfilled the requirements of the process to this point, including medical, educational and psychological criteria, two copies of Peace Officer Standards and Training O.P.I. fingerprint cards and a release form.
Alabama Police Academy Requirements
On the basis that this information is in order, the successful applicant will then be required to complete 480 hours of basic training. Success in basic training is assessed as having attained a minimum of 70% on all written exams, first aid assessments and legal issues tests, completion of the physical agility aspect of the course and by attaining a pass level in all forty-three hours of firearms training. It is also imperative that the candidate must qualify in at least two out of three assessments on the firearms course. Many police officers will confirm that there is reward in the job they can never be measured in concrete terms, but aside from these benefits there is financial payment that should be considered when contemplating a career in law enforcement. Within the major centres, such as Birmingham, Montgomery and Mobile, salaries range from $29,000 to $63,000 for a Police Patrol Officer, with a variation of up to $3,000 between the cities. In smaller centres the pay rate is slightly lower by between $1000 and $2000. Rising through the ranks naturally improves the economic picture with a Police Chief or Sheriff enjoying a base salary of around $96,000.
Alabama Police Officer Salaries
In addition to this base salary, Patrol Officers throughout the state of Alabama are eligible for up to $20,000 worth of benefits including Social Security, Pension and Time Off. This figure increases to about $34,000 for a Police Chief or Sheriff.
Like most professions, that of Police Officer has elements of both excitement and drudgery. The job description of this occupation often includes a recognition that the work may include an element of personal danger. While this appears suitably vague, in a position which can only be attained after completing forty-three hours of successful firearms training, there can be little doubt that “an element of personal danger” has the potential for more risk and excitement than many other jobs.
However, the day to day work of an Alabama Police Officer is general acknowledged as being the preventative, responsive and responsible. Taking proactive steps to prevent crime and maintain the safety and peace of the community is a major part of the job. This is most often carried out through routine patrols, but can also be enhanced by involvement in community education and health programs.
In the event that a crime does occur, it is within the job description of the Police Officer to apprehend the criminals. This can be as a result of routine patrols or through preliminary investigation. Regularly such action will be as part of a team of professionals working toward the one objective of protecting the community.
There is also a routine, but essential, aspect of the job description of a Police Officer that requires the officer to show authority in the direction of traffic and enforcement of ordinances and laws. While this is probably one of the least glamorous components of police work, it is essential to the good order of the community. In demonstrating such authority, the Police Officer instills a sense of security and confidence in the public, so that they feel safe to enjoy their lives and go about their business in peace.
Whether in on traffic duty or in the face of imminent danger, the job description of an Alabama Police Officer makes clear that every officer must be able to act without direct supervision and exercise discretion in meeting emergencies. This level of resourcefulness and responsibility is vital to the wellbeing of the officer and the community that they protect.
In order to prepare a person to fulfill the role of a Police Officer in Alabama there is a training program run through the ten academies that take successful applicants for this career. The training includes studies in General Law Enforcement, Criminal Investigation, Equipment use and maintenance, Juvenile Procedures, Court Procedures, Traffic Operations, Community and News Relations, Patrol Techniques and Miscellaneous General Topics. Additionally, units specifically addressing firearms training form a significant part of the program which devotes almost ten per cent of the total time available to this subject; more than twice that given to all other equipment.
Becoming a Police Officer in the state Alabama requires commitment, a genuine desire to make the community better and an intelligent, mature approach to the task. It is not a job for the faint-hearted, but the rewards reach far beyond the recompense of many careers.