Becoming a Police Officer in New Orleans, Louisiana

The militaries of Spain and then France were first responsible for policing New Orleans. This was followed by United States control and an organized street patrol. However due to corruption and other circumstances the police force was ineffective, and in 1820s and 30s neighborhoods established vigilante groups to protect themselves. Things were not made any better when the city was captured during the Civil War, followed by several subsequent riots in which the police force participated.

Up to the present day becoming a police officer in New Orleans has meant dealing with the good times and the bad – In other words, it’s not easy being a police officer in the Big Easy

The officers that hold New Orleans police jobs will never have a dull moment. These jobs are open to dedicated, ideologically motivated applicants. Becoming a cop in New Orleans proceeds along the following steps:

  1. Minimum requirements
  2. Application
  3. Tests
  4. Background investigation
  5. Drug test
  6. Medical examination
  7. Psychological evaluation
  8. Hire
  9. Training


Step 1. Minimum Requirements

Meeting police officer standards in New Orleans is the first step you must take to confirm that you are eligible:

  • At least 20 years old
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Either 60 college credit hours or two years of full-time military service
  • In good psychological and physical shape
  • Have a mostly clean driving record and criminal history

Step 2. Application

You can fill out an application packet and turn it in to the New Orleans PD either by mail or in person. Make sure to enclose all requested documents and originals with your application, including your personal history form that will be used later in your background investigation. Remember to fill out your application completely and legibly or it will not be considered.

Once the New Orleans PD has received your legible and complete application you will be given an admissions slip for the next available written test.

Step 3. Tests

The first test you will need to pass is the written test. This is a basic civil service exam that evaluates your abilities in:

  • Math
  • Reading comprehension
  • Writing ability

Once you pass this test you will need to take a physical agility test and meet the following standards:

  • 14 sit-ups in one minute
  • 10 push-ups
  • Complete a 1.5-mile run in 19 minutes and 50 seconds or less
  • Sprint 300 meters in 2 minutes or less
  • Perform additional tasks to be revealed at the time of testing

Step 4. Background Investigation

Your background investigation will be carried out by an experienced NOPD detective who will conduct records checks and personal interviews to determine your personal, financial, employment, educational, and military history. Your background check will include:

  • Polygraph examination
  • Written interview
  • Fingerprinting
  • Taped oral interview
  • For male candidates under 27: presentation of your selective service registration card

Step 5. Drug Test

Just before you are given a conditional offer of employment you will be required to pass a urinalysis drug test. If you fail this test you will be disqualified from the application process and this may not be rescheduled.

Step 6. Medical Examination

The civil service physician will determine what tests and procedures you will need to undergo as part of your medical examination. This will include a physical exam, back x-rays, and a check of your hearing and vision.

Step 7. Psychological Evaluation

The evaluating psychiatrist will base his or her recommendation of you on the following:

  • 3 written tests the psychiatrist will administer
  • Your background investigation
  • Personal psychological interview

Step 8. Get Hired

Your final step will be to receive certification for hire. A civil service committee and police officials will participate in the final process that allows you to become a cop in New Orleans.

Step 9. Training

As part of your training you will participate in a 22-week state-certified training program, followed by an extensive training with experience field officers. Areas covered will include:

  • Crime scene and accident investigation
  • Firearms training
  • Interrogation and interview techniques
  • Patrol techniques
  • Criminal justice system
  • Self-defense and lifetime fitness
  • Legal procedures
  • Courtroom testifying and etiquette

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