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Becoming a Police Officer in Memphis, Tennessee

The Memphis Police Department is a multifaceted agency that supports jobs for more than 2,500 sworn personnel and 441 civilian personnel. In 2010 alone, the Uniform Patrol Division of this massive law enforcement agency responded to more than 950,000 calls.

Here you will find information on how to become a police officer in Memphis in just nine steps:

  1. Meet the Minimum Requirements and Submit Your Application
  2. Complete the 1-1/2-mile Run
  3. Structured Oral Process
  4. Written Examination
  5. Physical Simulation Test
  6. Background Investigation/CPS Interview
  7. Conditional Approval
  8. Psychological and Medical Approval
  9. Final Approval


Step 1. Meet the Minimum Requirements and Submit Your Application

The Memphis Police Department recently reinstated college credit requirements for police recruits. In order to be considered for available jobs with the Memphis Police Department, you must meet the following police officer requirements:

  • Completion of a minimum of 54 semester hours of college credit through an accredited school
    • Or 2 years’ continuous military service with honorable discharge
    • Or 3 years’ employment as an officer (POST certified) working in a police department with at least 20 officers
  • Be at least 21 years old by the time you would complete the Police Basic Training Program
  • You must not have any prior felony convictions nor any violations of laws at the federal, state, or city level
  • A valid driver’s license at the time of application but obtain a Tennessee driver’s license upon hire
  • You will have 6 months to obtain residency within Shelby County if hired
  • No history of drug and/or alcohol addiction

In order to submit your online application to the Memphis Police Department, the following information is required:

  • Original driver’s license, social security card, and certified birth certificate
  • Address list since 18 years of age
  • Name of high school and date of graduation
  • Name of colleges attended, dates of graduation, and degrees completed
  • List of certifications, permits, and/or professional licenses
  • Complete driving history (12 months) and detailed information of vehicles owned
  • Complete criminal history
  • References
  • Complete employment history beginning at 18 years of age

Submit your application here.

Step 2. Complete the 1-1/2-mile Run

You will be required to complete the 1-1/2-mile run in 15 minutes before being allowed to move on to the next component of the selection process.

Step 3. Structured Oral Process

Recruiters will ask you a series of questions designed to evaluate your decision making skills. These questions will be based on scenarios representative of police work and typical situations encountered by police officers. Your answers to these questions will determine whether or not you move on to the next step in the candidacy process.

Step 4. Written Examination

You will be required to complete both the ABLE (Adult Basic Learning Examination) and WRAP (Work Readiness Adaption Profile) tests. These tests are designed to evaluate your skills and abilities as they relate to law enforcement performance. Although the ABLE test is not a timed test, it includes 3 levels which typically average 2 hours and 40 minutes of completion time each.

Step 5. Physical Simulation Test

The physical simulation test will simulate real-life police encounters and evaluate your physical ability to respond. Armed with a bulletproof vest, your gun belt, and training weapon, you will be required to do 2 laps around the basketball court of the Memphis Police Department. During that time, you will encounter 4 simulated activities. You must complete the physical simulation test in 2 minutes and 40 seconds. If after 2 attempts you are not able to complete the test within the allotted time, you will be allowed a 3rd attempt, but you will be assessed a 15-second penalty.

Step 6. Background Investigation/CPS Interview

This portion of the selection process involves a complete background check. This will include your complete employment/education history, criminal history, military history if applicable, and a thorough check of your references. The interview portion is taped and will later be evaluated by both a penal of members from the Memphis Police Department and Human Resources.

Step 7. Conditional Approval

After you have successfully completed the first 6 steps, employment with the Memphis Police Department will be approved contingent with passing the remainder of the required examinations.

Step 8. Psychological and Medical Approval

In this portion of the selection process, you will be evaluated by a psychologist in order to assess your mental capacity and ability to perform the job of a police officer under the complex and often stressful circumstances that police officers encounter. The medical evaluation will consist of a complete physical examination in order to assess your overall health and physical ability to perform the job of a police officer.

Step 9. Final Approval and Academy Training

Congratulations! After all of your hard work and successfully completing the rigorous selection process, you are now ready to begin your police officer training at the Memphis Police Department Training Academy.

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