Becoming a Police Officer in Little Rock, Arkansas

The Little Rock Police Department is one of the busiest in Arkansas. In fact, in 2011 alone, the department’s dedicated officers responded to 17,448 crimes and other incidents. If you’d like to join this active law enforcement agency, follow these steps to find out what it takes to land a police officer job in Little Rock.

Follow these nine steps if you’d like to learn how to become a police officer in Little Rock, Arkansas:

  1. Meet the Basic Qualifications
  2. Submit Your Application
  3. Written Examination
  4. Physical Ability Test
  5. Structured Interview
  6. Background Check and Polygraph Examination
  7. Full Background Check and Command Interview
  8. Physical and Psychological Examinations
  9. Attend Police Academy for Training


Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Little Rock Police Officer Candidacy

You must meet the following requirements to be considered for a job as a police officer in Little Rock:

  • You must be least 20.5 years old at the time you take the written exam.
  • You must be younger than 46 when you take the written exam.
  • You must not have any felony or domestic abuse convictions.
  • You must have graduated from high school or have a GED.
  • You must have good vision (uncorrected at least 20/100 in each eye and must be correctable to at least 20/20 in each eye).
  • You must hear normally in both ears.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen at the time you are hired.
  • You must not have over 24 traffic points over a 3 year period.

Step 2. Submit Your Application

You can submit your application once or twice a year.  You must submit both your application and supplemental questionnaire.  It is important that you keep your username and password, so you can check on the status of your application.

Typically, police officer positions in Little Rock are posted for about 30 days.  There are instructions on how to submit your application online, which is required.  If you miss a period, you can submit an interest card to be notified when the next position is available.  This will be good for 3 years.

Step 3. Written Examination

If you have been able to meet the basic qualifications required by the state of Arkansas, you will able to schedule a date and time to take the written examination.  The department uses a nationally entry level police exam.  It is scored pass/fail, and you will have to get at least 70% to pass it.  Areas that will be examined include:

  • Basic skills such as writing, reading, and mathematics
    • Includes writing proficiency that is scored at a later date
  • Problem-solving abilities and independent judgment
  • Communication skills

Step 4. Physical Ability Test

Once you have passed your written examination, you will get to schedule a date for your physical ability test.  You will be start out by being buckled into a patrol car.  You will have to unbuckle yourself, get out of the car, and complete the following tasks in 2:03 minutes:

  • Run 200 yards
  • Climb a 4 foot tall chain-link fence
  • Climb a 5 foot tall wooden fence
  • Jump over a 3 foot simulated ditch
  • Run to and then duck under 2 obstacles
  • Zigzag around 3 wooden posts
  • Run up to the edge of a 2.5 foot incline
  • Jump down to the ground
  • Run and touch a pole
  • Run to a 150 dummy and drag it 20 feet while changing direction

Step 5. Structured Interview

After you have done well enough on your physical ability test to proceed further in the hiring process, you will schedule a time for your structured interview.  As part of your preparation, you should think about your accomplishments, career goals, and strengths or weaknesses.

You will be asked up to 6 questions that will be asked to all of the candidates.  You are advised to spend about a minute planning what you will say before you start speaking.  Your answers will be scored, and you have to achieve at least 50% to pass.  The questions may deal with the following areas:

  • Stress tolerance
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Assertiveness
  • Work standards
  • Integrity
  • Decision making and judgment
  • Verbal communication skills

Step 6. Background Check and Polygraph Examination

Once you have passed your interview, the department will conduct a background investigation on you based on the information you provided in your background book.  You will be disqualified if you did not submit a completed background book.

You will be offered conditional employment once you are in the final stages of this background check.  At this time, you will be given a polygraph test.

Step 7. Full Background Check and Command Interview

Once you have been selected from among those who have passed their background check and polygraph test, you will undergo a full background check by the police department.  You will also be scheduled for an interview by one of the Command Staff.  This interview is pass/fail.

Everyone who passes this interview will be put on a list.  The final raking depends on the score from the structured interview.  Your writing test from the written examination will also be examined at this point to ensure that you write well enough to become a police officer in Little Rock.

After you have been chosen as a candidate, you will be place on an eligibility list. The Civil Service Commission certifies the list.  Once you have been certified, you will be eligible for one year.

Step 8. Physical and Psychological Examinations

To be hired, you will have to pass an evaluation by a psychiatrist or a psychologist to show that you are emotionally stable enough to become a police officer in Little Rock.  You must not have any condition that is listed in the DSMIV psychiatric manual.

You will also be examined by a licensed physician to ensure that you are in good health.  He or she will also check your vision and hearing.  You will also be screened for both drugs and alcohol in your system during this examination.

Step 9. Attend Police Academy for Training

Once you have been found to be both physically and mentally healthy, you will be trained for 24 weeks (960 hours) at the Little Rock Police Department Police Training Academy.  You will not live on campus.  The curriculum includes:

  • Law enforcement
  • Physical fitness training
  • Firearms training
  • Writing police reports
  • Legal issues
  • Control tactics and physical force
  • Officer survival
  • Training based on scenarios and ride along
  • Traffic enforcement
  • Domestic violence
  • Operating vehicles/defensive driving
  • Child abuse
  • Training in ethics, public relations, and communications
  • Survival Spanish

Once you have started at the academy, your salary will be $39,140 a year.  After your first year, it will be $41,522.  It could go as high as $58.737 after eight years.

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