Law Enforcement Careers in Iowa

Law enforcement jobs in Iowa are found at the state level as well as with county sheriff departments and city PDs. Police jobs in Iowa require a general education, a strong moral standing, no prior convictions and good character references.

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Iowa State Patrol

The Iowa State Patrol has identified the four horsemen of the highway as the road hog, drunk driver, excessive speeder, and the unsafe car. Although this was in 1934, the harbingers of death on the roads have not drastically changed since those times. Over the course of the Iowa State Patrol’s history 1,584 troopers have served throughout the years, including about 400 troopers currently employed.

Iowa police training identifies the ISP as State Peace Officers. Employment qualifications include being in good mental and physical condition, as well as a high school diploma or GED. Other conditions include having a good character and driving record. If the applicant has ever used any illegal drug(s) other than marijuana after 1991 he or she will be disqualified.

Iowa County Law Enforcement Sheriff’s Departments

All county sheriff’s deputy positions require general good standing and a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

  • Polk County: The Polk County Sheriff’s Department charges convicted inmates in their county jail for room and board. This sheriff’s department uses the latest technology to preserve law and order throughout Iowa. It manages a jail, conducts patrols, issues permits and licenses, and actively works with the community to enforce the law. Preference will be shown to applicants who have graduated from a law enforcement academy.
  • Linn County: The Linn County Sheriff’s Department is divided into eight sections that include a criminal, patrol, and corrections center division. The goal of this sheriff’s department is to protect the property and lives of the county residents with professional and excellent service. An employment application requires the prospective candidate to be at least 18 years old and not be addicted to drugs or alcohol.
  • Scott County: The Scott County Sheriff’s Department has four divisions: patrol, criminal investigation, corrections, and civil. Deputies work closely with other law enforcement agencies as well as the local community. Education requirements include the successful completion of Iowa’s law enforcement academy and additional college education in a related field is preferred.

Municipal Law Enforcement Careers in Iowa: City Police Departments

All police departments require applicants to have either a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

  • Des Moines PD: The largest law enforcement agency in the state, the Des Moines Police Department enforces laws impartially to protect the residents of their city. In 2011 officers responded to 233,573 calls and completed a total of 37,800 police reports. Officers seized illicit drugs worth an estimated street value of over $2.4 million. Applicants must be in good physical and mental conditions and pass a variety of tests and exams.
  • Cedar Rapids PD: Recently the CRPD was involved in a prostitution sting operation netting 30 people across the city. In a name-and-shame campaign, the police department released the names of those arrested, including prostitutes and their clients. The application process to become a police officer includes a written and physical fitness test.
  • Davenport PD: The Davenport Police Department offers four departments of service including criminal investigation, patrol, and services. 163 officers are employed and the department handles over 140,000 calls for service each year. Education requirements include at least 30 college credits which may be substituted with one year of previous military or sworn officer experience.
  • Sioux City PD: During the last holiday season officers from the Sioux City PD participated in the annual, “shop with a cop” program that pairs a child from a family in need with a police officer. The two shop together to buy presents for the child’s family with a gift certificate provided by a local store. Officers work closely with their local communities, recognizing that such a relationship helps to prevent future problems.
  • Iowa City PD: In 2012 the Iowa City Police Department made a total of 476 traffic-related arrests. The majority of the department’s revenue is allocated to patrol units, who responded to over 63.5 thousand calls in 2011. In that same year the total operational budget was over $10 million.

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