Law Enforcement Careers in Missouri

There are several jurisdictional levels for Missouri police training: state, county, and city. The Missouri Highway Patrol operates with jurisdictional authority over the entire state, while sheriff’s departments and municipal police departments have more specific regions of jurisdiction.

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Law enforcement careers in Missouri all share some common requirements, which include a background free from moral turpitude and a high school education or GED equivalence.

Missouri Highway Patrol

The Missouri State Highways Patrol is organized into 20 divisions all working towards the ultimate goal of providing the best service and protection to their state. These departments include aircraft, commercial vehicle enforcement, a crime laboratory, drug and crime control, and a water patrol division. The Missouri Highway Patrol reports that in 2011 there were 786 people killed across the state in traffic accidents. Speed and alcohol were the two biggest contributing factors in fatal accidents, with 34% of all fatal crashes involving alcohol or drugs. Of all crashes throughout the state, over 72% occurred in the daytime, and over 75% occurred on dry pavement.

The MSHP keeps statistics as a service to the public and to target the most effective means of improving the safety of Missouri’s highways and interstates. To apply for a trooper position, the candidate must have a high school diploma or GED, and meet one of the following requirements: either two years of college credit, military service, or experience as a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)-certified officer.

Law Enforcement Jobs in Missouri: County Sheriff’s Departments

Jackson: The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department is comprised of a warrant, patrol, courthouse security, and mounted posse division. This latter division consists of a volunteer force of certified officers who ride horse patrols, proving valuable as a search and rescue unit in environments with difficult terrain.

Cass: The Cass County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for the Cass County Jail, court security, patrol, and investigations, as well as specialized units. The sheriff’s department hosts a regional training facility that is part of its $40 million Justice Center that includes a training room, fitness center, a firearms range, and many other amenities. In 2011 the sheriff’s department responded to 37,592 incidents. Applicants for a deputy position must have or be able to obtain a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification.

Platte: The Platte County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for maintaining law and order over their county, spanning 471 square miles. Candidates for employment must have POST certification and no previous felony convictions. On average a patrol deputy will conduct 36,000 area checks per year.

Police Jobs in Missouri: City Departments

Kansas City: The KCPD had its beginning in 1874 and today employs over 2,000 people, including 1,400 police officers. As part of a preventative campaign, the KCPD offers free self-defense classes to women at its regional policy academy or other stations. It also will accept and destroy unwanted firearms at any time. Police officer candidates must pass an entrance examination which measures basic reading, math, and writing skills.

St Louis: The St Louis 911 call center receives more than 800,000 requests for assistance each year. 1,200 police officers work to respond to these calls, providing service to the St Louis metropolitan area for over 200 years since 1808. Officer candidates must have at least 30 college credits or be willing to attain such credits within two years after being hired.

Springfield: The first constable was appointed for the community of Springfield in 1849, 20 years after its founding. In 1858 the police department came into existence, and has grown over the decades to its present-day strength which numbers 331 sworn officers. Police officer candidates must have the equivalent of an associate’s degree, a certification from the Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), law enforcement experience, military service, or some combination of these.

Independence: The Independence Police Department is the proud sponsor of several community programs including DARE, the school resource officer program, and a child identification program which collects the fingerprints and physical description of children under the age of 12 in case they should ever become missing. A college degree or coursework in the subject of criminal justice is preferred.

Columbia: The operations bureau at the Columbia Police Department is made up of a downtown unit, patrol division, community service aides and a K-9 unit. The Columbia PD has an annual budget of $19 million and 160 sworn officers to serve and protect the city’s 108,500 citizens. Education requirements include an associate’s degree or an equivalent amount of college credit.

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