Lake County, Indiana is on the state line with Illinois and is part of the Chicago metro area. It’s home to nearly half a million people and is the second most populous county in Indiana. The Lake County Sheriff’s Department includes police, corrections, court security and animal control divisions. The Police Department employs 168 officers and has several specialty units, such as an aviation and marine unit, a K-9 unit, a SWAT unit and a gangs unit, among others.
If you want to be hired as a Lake County Sheriff’s police officer, there are several steps you must complete. You must:
- Satisfy Preliminary Requirements
- Score Well on Written and Physical Exams
- Pass Interview, Polygraph and Background Checks
- Pass a Medical Exam and Psychological Test
- Pass the Training Academy Program
Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Lake County Sheriff’s Police Officer Candidacy
This is a list of basic qualifications for a Lake County Sheriff’s police officer, but additional requirements may apply. You must first:
- Have a record free of felony convictions
- Have U.S. citizenship
- Be 21
- Have a high school diploma/GED
- Have a valid state driver’s license
The Lake County Sheriff’s Department periodically advertises job application opportunities in local newspapers. You must first attend a hiring event, during which you will receive a job application and an orientation about the hiring process. Your application must be completed and submitted by the deadline specified, in order to be accepted. The application will require you to provide information about your education and former employers, and will require you to list references. You may also be asked about your former residences, any previous contact with law enforcement, any convictions, previous military experience, or financial information, such as your credit history.
Step 2. Pass Physical and Written Exams
If your application is considered promising, you will be contacted with the time and location for the written exam. The exam will test your reading, writing, grammar and mathematics skills, as well as your ability to solve problems. If you score well on the written test, you will also be invited to move on to agility tests that will assess your physical strength and ability to perform the physical aspects of a police officer’s duties.
Step 3. Pass Interview, Polygraph and Background Checks
If you have one of the highest scores on the written and agility tests, you will be invited to an oral job interview. You should anticipate likely questions, and your best responses. You may be asked to expand on information you gave on your application, to explain what personal qualities would make you a good police officer, or to share your career goals and skills.
The sheriff’s department will also conduct an extensive background check to verify the information you gave on your application. The department will also check any documents you gave and official records, such as your school records, your employment, your driving record, any criminal record, and any military service, among others. You will also be asked to sit for a polygraph test.
Step 4. Pass Psychological and Medical Tests
If your application, interview and tests have made a positive impression, the next step in the hiring process will be medical and psychological testing. You will be required to undergo medical examinations to determine your physical and emotional fitness for the job. Drug testing will be a part of the medical examination.
Step 5. Attend Lake County Sheriff’s Police Officer Training
If you advance past the medical and psychological tests, you will begin a year-long probationary period with the sheriff’s department. At some point during this first year, you will be required to attend the state law enforcement academy and undergo its rigorous training program. While at the academy, you will learn about firearms, receive driver’s training, learn self-defense, and undergo challenging physical tests. You must pass these tests in order to graduate from the academy. You will also attend classes on subjects such as criminal law, domestic violence, narcotics and accident investigation, among many others. You must pass all of these courses, as well, in order to graduate.
When you graduate from the academy, you will be a Lake County Sheriff’s Police Officer. As of April 2013, the starting salary for a Lake County Sheriff’s police officer is $ $40,000 annually.