Becoming a Police Officer in Knoxville, Tennessee

The Knoxville Police Department (KPD) is staffed with roughly 400 sworn and 120 civilian personnel and provides protection to some 185,000 residents of Knoxville, Tennessee. In fact, the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies has recognized both the KPD and its Training Academy as “flagship” agencies, making the KPD one of the most recognized and prestigious police departments in East Tennessee.

Here, you will learn about Knoxville police jobs and how you can start your law enforcement career in only six steps:

  1. Meet Initial Requirements/Submit Application
  2. Complete Civil Service Written Test and Physical Performance Test
  3. Interview/Orientation
  4. Background Investigation/ Other Evaluations
  5. Recruit Academy
  6. Field Training Officer Program


Step 1. Meet Initial Requirements/Submit Application

In order to become a police officer with the Knoxville Police Department, you will need to ensure that you meet these initial requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old to apply
  • Have a valid/current driver’s license
  • Not have any prior felony convictions
  • Be a legal United States citizen

You will need to complete your application and return it to the Civil Service Department. You can also contact a recruiter from the Knoxville Police Department at 865-215-7313 if you have questions regarding your application.

Once your application is complete and has been submitted, you can create an online account through the Knoxville Police Department’s online portal to check the status of your application at any time. Click here to create your Career Center account.

Step 2. Complete Civil Service Written Test and Physical Performance Test

Once you have met the initial requirements, you will be scheduled for the Civil Service written test. This test is comprehensive in that it covers a variety of sections that will evaluate your overall aptitude and capability as a police officer. It is important to mention that the Civil Service Department does not release test results over the phone but rather sends them by mail.

The next step in the hiring process is the physical performance test (PPT). The City of Knoxville and Civil Service Merit Board require that you sign a Release of Liability form prior to participating in the PPT, acknowledging your understanding of personal liability. The test consists of 2 portions: arm endurance and arm lift. The Knoxville Police Department considers evaluation of upper body strength highly indicative of your ability to successfully complete the Knoxville Police Academy.

  • Arm Endurance – This portion of the test will require you to pedal an ergometer with your arms for 60 seconds at a fixed workload of 50 watts.
  • Arm Lift – This portion of the test utilizes a floor plate linked with a chain to a dynamometer and a 24-inch metal bar. Standing upright on the plate and your elbows at 90 degrees, you will pull upward on the bar exerting maximal, steady force.

The physical performance test is a pass/fail test, and you will be notified of your results via mail.

Step 3. Interview/Orientation

The interview portion of the selection procedure gives recruiters an opportunity to meet with you face-to-face and assess your suitability for the job. In addition, it will also give you an opportunity to ask any questions you have about working as a police officer for the Knoxville Police Department.

Step 4. Background Investigation and Other Evaluations

Next, you will be required to submit to a background investigation. This typically includes a review of criminal history, employment history, education, and a reference check. At this point, you will also be required to complete both a psychological and medical evaluation to evaluate your both mental capacity and physical capability for performing the tasks required of a police officer. Later on during this process, you will also meet with a review panel to go discuss these evaluations.

Step 5. Recruit Academy

This is the Basic Recruit Training, a 24-week long period, which is located in Knoxville. This is not a residential facility, so you will have leave to return home after training each day. During this time, you will receive extensive instruction and training in all areas of law enforcement. Some of the things covered in the training:

  • Law – City, State, and Constitutional
  • Criminal investigation/accident investigation
  • Writing reports
  • Defense tactics and firearms
  • Police driving

The basic training period ends with graduation and police officer certification.

Step 6. Field Training Officer Program

Once you have completed basic training, you will move onto the Field Training Officer (FTO) program, which is a 16-week program. During this time, you will receive intense on-the-job training utilizing what you learned during the recruit training. This program is designed to help you acclimate and prepare yourself for performing the duties of a police officer solo.

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