The nearly 200 sworn officers of the Fort Smith Police Department made over 8,600 arrests in 2011, while its Criminal Investigations Division cleared 93% of its assigned cases that year. This elite law enforcement agency is among the most important in the state.
If you’re interested learning about what it takes to become a cop in Fort Smith, follow the instructions within this guide:
- Meet the Basic Qualifications
- Submit Your Application
- Civil Service Written Examination and Physical Agility Test
- Background Check
- Medical, Psychological, and Polygraph Examinations
- Attend Law Enforcement Academy for Training
Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Fort Smith Police Officer Candidacy
To be considered for a job as a police officer in Fort Smith, you must meet several requirements:
- You must not have any felonies on your record.
- You must either:
- Have graduated from a high school
- Have a GED
- You must be a U.S. citizen.
- You must have a driver’s license that is valid.
- You must be at least 21 years old.
Step 2. Submit Your Application
You can submit a downloadable application when applications are being accepted.
Step 3. Civil Service Written Examination and Physical Agility Test
Your application will give the time and date to take your written civil service examination and your physical agility test. You must get a score of at least 70% on the written exam.
Step 4. Background Check
After you have passed both the written and physical tests, the department will conduct an intensive check on your background to ensure that you are suitable to become a police officer in Fort Smith.
Step 5. Interviews
After you have passed your background check, you will go through a two step interview process. Your interviews will be scored, and you must achieve at least 70% to continue with the process. The first is with a Review Board. Once you have passed that, your next interview will be with a Civil Service Board. Your scores on these two interviews will be combined with the score from your civil service examination.
Step 6. Medical, Psychological, and Polygraph Examinations
Once your score has placed you on the eligibility list that is a good for a year, you will be contacted when an opening is available. At this point, you will be given a physical to ensure that your health is good enough to become a police officer in Fort Smith. Part of this process will include a drug screen. This step will also involve a psychological test and a polygraph examination.
Step 7. Attend Law Enforcement Academy for Training
Once you have been found to be fit both physically and mentally to be a law enforcement officer, you will have 12 weeks of basic training at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy to become a police officer in Fort Smith.
You will have to achieve a minimum average of 70% on your academic courses to continue with your training. You will receive practical training in:
- Defensive tactics
- Firearms qualification
- Physical Fitness
Your starting salary will be $35,880 a year. You will receive the following increase in your base salary if you have one of these degrees:
- Associates: 3%
- Bachelors: 6%
- Masters: 7%