Becoming a Police Officer in Columbus, Ohio

The Columbus Police Department is responsible for providing law enforcement services throughout Columbus, Ohio, the 15th most populous city in the nation. The proud members of this distinguished department work tirelessly to serve and protect the more than 787,000 people who live and work in Columbus.

If you have interest in becoming a police officer in Columbus, this guide provides you with step-by-step instructions on how to meet the department’s rigorous requirements:

  1. Meet Minimum Employment Requirements
  2. Determine Departmental Needs
  3. Submit an Application for Employment
  4. Take the Civil Service Exams
  5. Undergo a Background Investigation
  6. Take a Polygraph Examination
  7. Meet with the Oral Review Board
  8. Undergo Medical Exam
  9. Complete Academy Training


Step 1. Meet Minimum Employment Requirements

Individuals who want to learn how to become a cop by meeting police officer requirements in Columbus must first determine if they meet minimum employment requirements for Columbus police jobs. In particular, before submitting an application for employment you should ensure you:

  • Are a United States citizen
  • Are at least 20 years old at the time of application and at least 21 years old by the time of appointment
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Possess a valid driver’s license

Step 2. Determine Departmental Needs

Before submitting an application for employment, it is best to check the Columbus Police website to ensure they are current accepting applications. If you find they are not currently accepting applications, you may complete and submit a Job Interest Card through the Columbus Civil Service Commission so you can receive notification of the next application filing period.

You may also contact the Columbus Police Recruiting Unit at 614-645-4642 or 1-800-837-4642 to receive more information about the application process for becoming a police officer in Columbus.

Step 3. Submit an Application for Employment

Once you determine you meet all minimum eligibility requirements and that the Department is accepting applications, you must complete and file an online application for employment, along with an Abbreviated Background Questionnaire (ABQ) with the Civil Service Commission.

Step 4. Take the Civil Service Exams

Provided your application and ABQ are approved, you can expect the Civil Service Commission to notify you of the upcoming date, time, and place for the exam, which consists of four phases:

You must pass all phases of the initial employment testing to remain eligible to continue with the employment process and will be placed on the eligibility list.

All candidates for Columbus police jobs are encouraged to read the Employment Information Guide as to become familiar with the testing process.

Step 5. Undergo a Background Investigation

Provided you pass the initial testing and score high enough to be processed, you will receive a personal history questionnaire to complete.  You will then be scheduled for a pre-interview with a background investigator at Police Headquarters, at which time you will complete a waiver for the background investigation and have your picture and fingerprints taken.

Step 6. Take a Polygraph Examination

Provided you pass the background investigation, you will be required to take a polygraph examination.  Upon the successful completion of the polygraph exam, the Civil Service Commission will review your employment package to determine your eligibility for the position of Columbus police officer.

Step 7. Meet with the Oral Review Board

The Oral Review Board, which consists of three veteran officers, will ask you questions regarding your background investigation. The top candidates will receive a conditional letter of appointment from the City of Columbus Public Safety Director.

Step 8. Undergo Medical Exams

The final step in the employment process is undergoing a thorough medical examination, which includes a cardiovascular stress test, vision and hearing tests, and a psychological evaluation.

Step 9. Complete Academy Training

All qualified candidates will receive a letter of appointment from the Police Academy regarding the date at which they are to appear to begin Academy training.

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