Becoming a Police Officer in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Cincinnati Police Department (513-765-1212) includes 1,056 sworn officers and 119 civilian employees, all of whom provide law enforcement and public safety services to Cincinnati, Ohio, and its nearly 79 square miles of urban landscape. The City of Cincinnati is divided into five Bureaus: Administration; Patrol; Resource; Strategic Development; and Investigations.

This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to become a cop by meeting police officer requirements in Cincinnati:

  1. Determine Hiring Status
  2. Take the Written Examination
  3. Take the Physical Fitness Exam
  4. Undergo Background Investigation, Polygraph Examination, and an Interview
  5. Undergo a Behavior Assessment
  6. Attend the Police Academy
  7. Meet Minimum Qualifications


Step 1. Meet Minimum Qualifications

If you are interested in becoming a police officer in Cincinnati, you must first determine if you meet minimum qualification. In particular, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old by the time of your appointment
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED (applicants with college experience are preferred)
  • Hold a valid driver’s license for at least one year
  • Be a United States citizen or in the process of applying for U.S. citizenship

Step 2. Determine Hiring Status

Before applying for Cincinnati police jobs, you should determine if the Cincinnati Police Department is currently hiring. You may do so by checking the Department’s Recruiting page.

If the Department is not currently hiring for Cincinnati police officers, you may add your name to the Policy Academy interest list by calling 513-352-3562. You will then receive notification when the Department begins the hiring process. You will also receive instructions for applying for a position with the Department at that time.

Step 3. Take the Written Examination

After you have received notification that the Department is hiring and have submitted an application for employment, you may be contacted to take the written examination, provided you meet all minimum requirements for Cincinnati police jobs.

The written exam is a multiple-choice test of 150 questions that assess the following:

The areas that will be covered are as follows:

  • Basic math (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division)
  • Dealing effectively with a diverse group of people
  • Evaluating situations/decision-making
  • Following directions
  • Human relations
  • Observation and memory
  • Oral and written communication including word usage, spelling and grammar
  • Reading comprehension
  • Reasoning

You can prepare for the test by reading the Police Recruit Handbook (pages 4-11). You will receive a score based on the percentage of questions you correctly answer. You are allowed 2 hours to complete the exam, and you must bring an exam entry card (provided by the Department) and your valid photo identification.

You will be notified of your test results about 4 weeks following examination.

Step 4. Take the Physical Fitness Exam

The top-scoring candidates of the written exam will be invited to take the physical fitness test, which is a pass/fail test. You may read more about the physical fitness test requirements before taking the exam.

The fitness test includes assessing the candidates through sit-ups; push-ups, and a .5-mile run.

All candidates are encouraged to begin training for the fitness test as soon as possible. You can expect to take the physical fitness test about 2 months following the written test.

Step 5. Undergo Background Investigation, Polygraph Examination, and an Interview

Only those candidates who pass the physical fitness test are eligible to continue the employment process, which includes undergoing a thorough background investigation, as well as a polygraph examination and an in-home interview.

Step 6. Undergo a Behavior Assessment

All candidates who successfully complete all other testing will be scheduled for a behavior assessment. All eligible candidates will then receive a spot on the Civil Service eligible list.

Step 7. Attend the Police Academy

All new recruits must complete training through the Police Academy.

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