Becoming a Police Officer in Aberdeen, South Dakota

The City of Aberdeen is a relatively small community with just over 26,000 residents, but it is the 3rd largest city in South Dakota. The Aberdeen Police Department is staffed with 42 commissioned/sworn officers and 8 civilians, in addition to many volunteers.

Here, you will learn how to become a cop by meeting police officer requirements in Aberdeen in just five steps:

  1. Meet Minimum Requirements/Required Skills
  2. Submit Application
  3. Pre-employment Testing
  4. Medical/Psychological Evaluations
  5. Training/Certification


Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements/Required Skills

In order to be considered for employment with the Aberdeen Police Department, you will need to meet the minimum requirements:

  • You must be at least 21 years of age
  • You must have a valid driver’s license
  • You must be a United States citizen
  • You must have either a high school diploma or a GED equivalency

You will need to disclose any prior offenses (felony or misdemeanor) on your application. However, the Aberdeen Police Department reviews these offenses, including their seriousness and any course of rehabilitation, and does not necessarily disqualify candidates based on prior offenses.

You will also need to ensure that you meet the APD’s required skills:

  • Maintain physical fitness
  • Obtain the appropriate skills needed to use firearms and applicable police equipment
  • Adequate verbal communication
  • Safe/appropriate use of police vehicles
  • Be able to use computers for reports and documentation

Step 2. Submit Application

You can obtain an application here. Of note, you will be required to provide copies of the following documents with your application:

  • Certified birth certificate
  • Form DD-214 if you have a military history
  • Driver’s licenses from all states
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Any college diplomas earned

Step 3. Pre-employment Testing

The Aberdeen Police Department has a very thorough testing process for police officer selection. Once you have met the prerequisite requirements and a full review of your application has been done, you will be chosen to take the next step in the hiring process which is the pre-employment testing procedures.

The background investigation requires that you sign a Release of Personal Information which allows the APD to do a complete background investigation. The background check includes looking at things like your financial/credit history, employment/work records, educational records, military service records if applicable as well as verifying previous residences.  A criminal record check is also done as part of the investigation, and in addition, the APD will require you to provide fingerprints as well.

A polygraph examination is also required for police officer employment. You will need to sign a release form allowing the APD to conduct a polygraph so that they can verify the background information you have provided.

Step 4. Medical/Psychological Evaluation

The next thing you will do in the selection process is complete the medical and psychological evaluations. The purpose of the medical evaluation is to ensure that you are physically capable of performing the tasks required of a police officer. The medical evaluation also includes a drug screen to check for illicit substances. Likewise, the psychological evaluation is used to ensure that you have the mental stability to handle the pressing situations which police officers often encounter.

Step 5. Training/Certification

Once you have received an official job offer from the Aberdeen Police Department, the next step will be to obtain your Basic Officer Certification. Your certification and training will be done at the George S. Mickelson Criminal Justice Center in Pierre, South Dakota. The entire training process typically takes about 13 weeks to complete and encompasses a total of 520 hours. Your training will include:

  • Proper use of firearms
  • Defense tactics/use of force
  • Legal aspects
  • Policies/procedures/practices
  • Human/social behavior
  • Operation of emergency vehicles

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