Becoming a Police Officer in Des Moines, Iowa

379 sworn officers represent the Des Moines Police Department and patrol this Iowa city in an effort to fight crime and maintain the peace.  The solution rate for homicides in Des Moines is almost 90%, a figure substantially above the national average.

If you’re interested in becoming part of the solution by serving as an officer with the Des Moines, Iowa Police Department, follow these steps to learn how to become a cop in Des Moines.

  1. Meet the Basic Qualifications
  2. Submit Your Application
  3. Physical Fitness Test and Written Examination
  4. Interviews
  5. Background Check and Polygraph Examination
  6. Psychological Examination
  7. Medical Examination
  8. Attend Police Academy for Training

 

Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Des Moines Police Officer Candidacy

You must meet these conditions if you wish to be considered as a police officer in Des Moines:

  • You must be 18 years old at the time of your appointment.
  • You cannot have any of the following convictions:
    • Domestic violence
    • Felony
    • Assault or theft
    • Crime that involves moral turpitude
  • The following activities with alcohol will disqualify you:
    • Current (past year) or abuse or excessive use
    • History of excessive use without successful rehabilitation
  • You cannot have the following patterns of drug use:
    • Marijuana in the previous 24 months
    • Other illegal drugs (including steroids) in the previous 36 months
    • Illegal drugs after you have become an applicant
  • You must have graduated from high school or have a GED.
  • You must have a driver’s license valid in Iowa.
  • Your vision must be:
    • At least 20/100 uncorrected in both eyes
    • Correctable to 20/20
    • Able to detect colors

Step 2. Submit Your Application

The first step in submitting your application is to fill out an interest card to let the department know that you would like to be notified when recruitment is taking place.  You can obtain such a card at the Human Resources Department in City Hall or online.

Step 3. Physical Fitness Test and Written Examination

The next step will be for you to take the pass/fail physical fitness test, which is based on the standards of the Cooper Institute.  This test includes

  • Sit-ups
  • Push-ups
  • 1.5 mile run
  • Stretch and Reach

You will also be required to take the written examination that is a POST test.  You will have get at least a 70% on all four areas being tested to pass this examination.  You will be tested on your abilities to:

  • Read
  • Write reports
  • Use proper grammar
  • Perform mathematics

Step 4. Interviews

Once you have successfully completed both examinations, you will be interviewed before the Civil Service Commission.  The panel will evaluate your

  • Background
  • Interest in police work
  • Personal characteristics

After you have passed this interview and been designated a top candidate, you will be invited to take part in a final interview with staff of the police department.

Step 5. Background Check and Polygraph Examination

Once you have passed your interviews, you will undergo a background check.  This information will be used to determine if you meet the established guidelines to become a police officer in Des Moines.  This involves checking your:

  • Criminal history
  • Driving record
  • References
  • Work history

Part of this process involves subjecting you to a lie detector test to ensure that you are truthful about all aspects of your background.

Step 6. Psychological Examination

After your background check has shown you to be of good character, you will be invited to take part in a psychological examination.

Step 7. Medical Examination

Once you have passed your psychological examination, you will be placed on an eligibility list.  You will now have to complete a medical examination to show you are in good enough health to become a police officer in Des Moines.  This process includes drug screening.

Step 8. Attend Police Academy for Training

After you have passed your medical screening, you will attend the Des Moines Police Department Academy for basic training.  You will receive a combination of academic coursework with practical training such as

  • Driving, both pursuit and emergency
  • Firearms
  • Defensive tactics

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