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How to Become a Police Officer in Arkansas

Becoming a Police Officer in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Over 170 members of the Fayetteville Police Department fight crime in the third largest city in Arkansas and represent one of the most vital law enforcement agencies in the state.

If you’ve got what it takes to become a police officer in Fayetteville, follow this guide to learn about the requirements that must be met to be eligible for police jobs as they become available in the Fayetteville Police Department:

  1. Meet the Basic Qualifications
  2. Submit Your Application
  3. Civil Service Test
  4. Physical Fitness Test
  5. Interviews
  6. Background Check
  7. Interview
  8. Physical and Psychological Examinations
  9. Attend Law Enforcement Academy for Training

Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Fayetteville Police Officer Candidacy

To be considered for a job as a police officer in Fayetteville, you must meet several requirements:

  • You must have a driver’s license that is valid.
  • You must not have had any felony convictions.
  • You must have either a GED or a high school diploma.
  • You must at least 21 years on the date you apply.

Step 2. Submit Your Application

You can obtain your application online or at the Human Resources Department in Fayetteville located at 113 West Mountain.  You must submit your application and all documents required to this department, including:

  • Birth certificate or other proof that you are a citizen
  • Driver’s license copy
  • DD-214
  • High school diploma/GED certificate

Step 3. Civil Service Test

Your next step is take the 100 question civil service exam.  You will be examined on your:

  • Observational skills
  • Report writing ability
  • Reading comprehension

Your test will be scored at the site where you have taken it.  You will need to score at least 70% to pass.

Step 4. Physical Fitness Test

You will also be examined to see if you are physically fit enough to be a police officer in Fayetteville.  This will involve:

  • Bench presses or push ups (64% of your body weight or 25 push-ups)
  • Leg presses or a vertical leap (125% of your body weight or 16”)
  • Sit ups (29 in 1 min)
  • Running 1.5 miles (16:29 maximum)
  • Running 300 meters (71 sec)

Step 5. Interviews

An additional part of the hiring process is a two part interview process for which you will need to be dressed in business clothes.  Your first interview will be with 8 officers from the Police Department.  The next one will be with Civil Service Commission members.

Your scores will be combined from your civil service test and the interviews, and you will be ranked.  You will get the following points for each step:

  • 50:  Civil service test
  • 20:  Police interview
  • 30:  Civil service interview

Step 6. Background Check

Once you have been found to be one of the higher ranking applicants, the department will perform a background investigation on you.  They will check your:

  • Credit
  • Criminal history
  • Driving record
  • References:
    • Educational
    • Employment
    • Neighborhood
    • Personal

Step 7. Interview

After you have passed your background check, you will be interviewed by administrators from the Fayetteville Police Department.

Step 8. Physical and Psychological Examination

Once you have passed this interview, you will be offered employment contingent upon the results of a physical and psychological examination.  Part of this process involves drug screening.

Step 9. Attend Law Enforcement Academy for Training

After you have passed the physical and psychological examinations, you will be given a start date for your 12 week basic training course at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy.  You will study such areas as:

  • Accident investigation
  • Criminal law
  • Defensive tactics
  • Drug enforcement
  • Firearms Training
  • Writing Reports

After you have graduated from the academy, you will have a 16 week Field Training Program.  You will work with an experienced officer on each of three different patrol shifts.  Once you have completed your field training, you will be on probation for a year.  Then you can apply for specialized assignments such as narcotics or computer forensics.

The salary range is from $33,306 a year to $47,267.

Becoming a Police Officer in Fort Smith, Arkansas

The nearly 200 sworn officers of the Fort Smith Police Department made over 8,600 arrests in 2011, while its Criminal Investigations Division cleared 93% of its assigned cases that year. This elite law enforcement agency is among the most important in the state.

If you’re interested learning about what it takes to become a cop in Fort Smith, follow the instructions within this guide:

  1. Meet the Basic Qualifications
  2. Submit Your Application
  3. Civil Service Written Examination and Physical Agility Test
  4. Background Check
  5. Interviews
  6. Medical, Psychological, and Polygraph Examinations
  7. Attend Law Enforcement Academy for Training

Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Fort Smith Police Officer Candidacy

To be considered for a job as a police officer in Fort Smith, you must meet several requirements:

  • You must not have any felonies on your record.
  • You must either:
    • Have graduated from a high school
    • Have a GED
    • You must be a U.S. citizen.
    • You must have a driver’s license that is valid.
    • You must be at least 21 years old.

Step 2. Submit Your Application

You can submit a downloadable application when applications are being accepted.

Step 3. Civil Service Written Examination and Physical Agility Test

Your application will give the time and date to take your written civil service examination and your physical agility test.  You must get a score of at least 70% on the written exam.

Step 4. Background Check

After you have passed both the written and physical tests, the department will conduct an intensive check on your background to ensure that you are suitable to become a police officer in Fort Smith.

Step 5. Interviews

After you have passed your background check, you will go through a two step interview process.  Your interviews will be scored, and you must achieve at least 70% to continue with the process.  The first is with a Review Board.  Once you have passed that, your next interview will be with a Civil Service Board.  Your scores on these two interviews will be combined with the score from your civil service examination.

Step 6. Medical, Psychological, and Polygraph Examinations

Once your score has placed you on the eligibility list that is a good for a year, you will be contacted when an opening is available.  At this point, you will be given a physical to ensure that your health is good enough to become a police officer in Fort Smith.  Part of this process will include a drug screen.  This step will also involve a psychological test and a polygraph examination.

Step 7. Attend Law Enforcement Academy for Training

Once you have been found to be fit both physically and mentally to be a law enforcement officer, you will have 12 weeks of basic training at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy to become a police officer in Fort Smith.

You will have to achieve a minimum average of 70% on your academic courses to continue with your training.  You will receive practical training in:

  • Defensive tactics
  • Firearms qualification
  • Physical Fitness

Your starting salary will be $35,880 a year.  You will receive the following increase in your base salary if you have one of these degrees:

  • Associates:  3%
  • Bachelors:  6%
  • Masters:  7%

Becoming a Police Officer in Jonesboro, Arkansas

In the period from 2011 to 2012, the rate of crime per 1000 citizens in Jonesboro decreased by 11%.  Much of the credit for this goes to the 142 sworn officers of the Jonesboro Police Department.

If you’d like to contribute to decreasing the city’s crime rate, use this step-by-step guide to learn on how to become a police officer in Jonesboro.

  1. Meet the Basic Qualifications
  2. Submit Your Application
  3. Physical Agility Test
  4. Written Examination
  5. Background Check and Polygraph Examination
  6. Interview
  7. Physical and Psychological Examinations
  8. Attend Law Enforcement Academy for Training

Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Jonesboro Police Officer Candidacy

You must meet a number of requirements to be considered for a job as a police officer in Jonesboro:

  • You must be at least 21 years old.
  • You must have a high school diploma or GED.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must have a valid driver’s license.
  • You must not have visible tattoos or unusual piercings.
  • You must not have had any felony convictions.

Step 2. Submit Your Application

You must submit your application, along with two pages of a notarized waiver and an affirmative action form to:

Jonesboro Police Administration
410 West Washington Ave.
Jonesboro, AR  72401

Step 3. Physical Agility Test

To continue with your application process, you must show up for your physical testing process.  You will have to bring your driver’s license when you report for this test.  It is recommended that you wear athletic clothing.  The test involves

  • At least 22 sit-ups in 1 minute
  • At least 12 push-ups in 1 minute
  • 300 meter run in no more than 71 seconds
  • Sit and reach at least 13”
  • 1.5 mile run in no more than 18:00
  • Trigger pull 15 times using each hand with a double-action pistol

Step 4. Written Examination

After you have passed your physical agility test, you will take a written examination that afternoon.

Step 5. Background Check and Polygraph Examination

Once you have passed your written examination, the department will conduct a thorough background investigation on you.  This will involve interviewing your:

  • Family
  • Neighbors
  • Friends
  • Acquaintances
  • Employers both past and present
  • References

The investigator will also check your:

  • Educational history
  • Credit history
  • Consumer reporting agencies

During this time, you will also be screened for drugs in your system and undergo a polygraph examination to verify what was learned about you from your background investigation.

Step 6. Interview

After you have passed your background check, which typically takes 4-6 weeks, you will be invited to interview with the department.

Step 7. Physical and Psychological Examinations

Once you have passed your interview, you will be examined by a medical doctor and a psychologist to ensure that you are both physically and mentally healthy enough to become a police officer in Jonesboro.

Step 8. Attend Law Enforcement Academy for Training

After you have been successfully screened by healthcare professionals, you will be trained at the Black River Technical College Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pocahontas.  The basic police training involves over 600 hours of training in the classroom and labs in such areas as:

  • Community relations
  • Criminal justice system
  • Educational skills
  • Ethics
  • Firearms training
  • First aid and safety
  • Physical education and conditioning
  • Standard police tactics
  • Tactical skills
  • Traffic crash investigation
  • Traffic enforcement

The starting salary for both certified and non-certified officers in Jonesboro is $31,123.92 a year.

Becoming a Police Officer in Little Rock, Arkansas

The Little Rock Police Department is one of the busiest in Arkansas. In fact, in 2011 alone, the department’s dedicated officers responded to 17,448 crimes and other incidents. If you’d like to join this active law enforcement agency, follow these steps to find out what it takes to land a police officer job in Little Rock.

Follow these nine steps if you’d like to learn how to become a police officer in Little Rock, Arkansas:

  1. Meet the Basic Qualifications
  2. Submit Your Application
  3. Written Examination
  4. Physical Ability Test
  5. Structured Interview
  6. Background Check and Polygraph Examination
  7. Full Background Check and Command Interview
  8. Physical and Psychological Examinations
  9. Attend Police Academy for Training

Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Little Rock Police Officer Candidacy

You must meet the following requirements to be considered for a job as a police officer in Little Rock:

  • You must be least 20.5 years old at the time you take the written exam.
  • You must be younger than 46 when you take the written exam.
  • You must not have any felony or domestic abuse convictions.
  • You must have graduated from high school or have a GED.
  • You must have good vision (uncorrected at least 20/100 in each eye and must be correctable to at least 20/20 in each eye).
  • You must hear normally in both ears.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen at the time you are hired.
  • You must not have over 24 traffic points over a 3 year period.

Step 2. Submit Your Application

You can submit your application once or twice a year.  You must submit both your application and supplemental questionnaire.  It is important that you keep your username and password, so you can check on the status of your application.

Typically, police officer positions in Little Rock are posted for about 30 days.  There are instructions on how to submit your application online, which is required.  If you miss a period, you can submit an interest card to be notified when the next position is available.  This will be good for 3 years.

Step 3. Written Examination

If you have been able to meet the basic qualifications required by the state of Arkansas, you will able to schedule a date and time to take the written examination.  The department uses a nationally entry level police exam.  It is scored pass/fail, and you will have to get at least 70% to pass it.  Areas that will be examined include:

  • Basic skills such as writing, reading, and mathematics
    • Includes writing proficiency that is scored at a later date
  • Problem-solving abilities and independent judgment
  • Communication skills

Step 4. Physical Ability Test

Once you have passed your written examination, you will get to schedule a date for your physical ability test.  You will be start out by being buckled into a patrol car.  You will have to unbuckle yourself, get out of the car, and complete the following tasks in 2:03 minutes:

  • Run 200 yards
  • Climb a 4 foot tall chain-link fence
  • Climb a 5 foot tall wooden fence
  • Jump over a 3 foot simulated ditch
  • Run to and then duck under 2 obstacles
  • Zigzag around 3 wooden posts
  • Run up to the edge of a 2.5 foot incline
  • Jump down to the ground
  • Run and touch a pole
  • Run to a 150 dummy and drag it 20 feet while changing direction

Step 5. Structured Interview

After you have done well enough on your physical ability test to proceed further in the hiring process, you will schedule a time for your structured interview.  As part of your preparation, you should think about your accomplishments, career goals, and strengths or weaknesses.

You will be asked up to 6 questions that will be asked to all of the candidates.  You are advised to spend about a minute planning what you will say before you start speaking.  Your answers will be scored, and you have to achieve at least 50% to pass.  The questions may deal with the following areas:

  • Stress tolerance
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Assertiveness
  • Work standards
  • Integrity
  • Decision making and judgment
  • Verbal communication skills

Step 6. Background Check and Polygraph Examination

Once you have passed your interview, the department will conduct a background investigation on you based on the information you provided in your background book.  You will be disqualified if you did not submit a completed background book.

You will be offered conditional employment once you are in the final stages of this background check.  At this time, you will be given a polygraph test.

Step 7. Full Background Check and Command Interview

Once you have been selected from among those who have passed their background check and polygraph test, you will undergo a full background check by the police department.  You will also be scheduled for an interview by one of the Command Staff.  This interview is pass/fail.

Everyone who passes this interview will be put on a list.  The final raking depends on the score from the structured interview.  Your writing test from the written examination will also be examined at this point to ensure that you write well enough to become a police officer in Little Rock.

After you have been chosen as a candidate, you will be place on an eligibility list. The Civil Service Commission certifies the list.  Once you have been certified, you will be eligible for one year.

Step 8. Physical and Psychological Examinations

To be hired, you will have to pass an evaluation by a psychiatrist or a psychologist to show that you are emotionally stable enough to become a police officer in Little Rock.  You must not have any condition that is listed in the DSMIV psychiatric manual.

You will also be examined by a licensed physician to ensure that you are in good health.  He or she will also check your vision and hearing.  You will also be screened for both drugs and alcohol in your system during this examination.

Step 9. Attend Police Academy for Training

Once you have been found to be both physically and mentally healthy, you will be trained for 24 weeks (960 hours) at the Little Rock Police Department Police Training Academy.  You will not live on campus.  The curriculum includes:

  • Law enforcement
  • Physical fitness training
  • Firearms training
  • Writing police reports
  • Legal issues
  • Control tactics and physical force
  • Officer survival
  • Training based on scenarios and ride along
  • Traffic enforcement
  • Domestic violence
  • Operating vehicles/defensive driving
  • Child abuse
  • Training in ethics, public relations, and communications
  • Survival Spanish

Once you have started at the academy, your salary will be $39,140 a year.  After your first year, it will be $41,522.  It could go as high as $58.737 after eight years.

Becoming a Police Officer in North Little Rock, Arkansas

The 193 sworn officers of the North Little Rock Police Department fight crime and actively participate in supporting community members in this Arkansas city.

If you’d like to join them, use this guide to learn what steps you’ll need to take to become a police officer in North Little Rock.

  1. Meet the Basic Qualifications
  2. Submit Your Application
  3. Written Examination
  4. Physical Agility Test
  5. Interview
  6. Background Check and Polygraph Examination
  7. Physical, Visual, and Psychological Examinations
  8. Attend Law Enforcement Academy for Training

Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for North Little Rock Police Officer Candidacy

To be considered for a job as a police officer in North Little Rock, you must meet several requirements:

  • You must have a driver’s license that is valid.
  • You must not have had any felony convictions for drugs.
  • You must not have used a prohibited substance (excluding marijuana) or abused a controlled substance
    • After you were over 21
    • During the previous 10 years
  • You must not have the following convictions:
    • Any felonies
    • Any domestic violence
    • Violent misdemeanors within the previous 10 years
    • Misdemeanor weapons within the previous 10 years
    • Non-violent misdemeanors within the previous 24 months
  • You must have excellent vision:
    • It must be at least 20/100 before correction
    • You must be able to correct it to 20/20
    • You must be able to discriminate colors
  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Your age at the date you are hired must be:
    • At least 21
    • Not over 45
  • You must be either a high school graduate or have a GED equivalent.

Step 2. Submit Your Application

Once you have determined that you meet the basic qualifications to become a police officer in North Little Rock, you must submit an application and sign up for test dates for your written and physical examinations. Testing dates will be announced at least six months in advance.

You can pick up your application and submit it to:

NLR Police & Fire Training Center
2400 Willow
North Little Rock, AR 72114

Or you can request that one to be sent to you in the mail.

Along with your application, you will have to submit:

  • Your birth certificate
  • Your high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Your DD-214 (if applicable)
  • Your driver’s license (current and valid)
  • Any transcripts for college courses or training you have had (if applicable)

Step 3. Written Examination

You will have about three hours in which to take the written Law Enforcement Candidate Record exam.  This test examines your

  • Memory
  • Perceptual skills
  • Verbal comprehension
  • Vocabulary

You will also get to describe your work and educational background and give your judgments and attitudes on things related to police work.  Be sure and bring photographic identification to this exam.  You will be notified by mail about two weeks after taking this test whether you have passed it or not.  If you have not passed it, you can retake it after you have waited a year.

Step 4. Physical Agility Test

You will also have to take a test of your physical endurance to determine if you are physically fit enough to be a police officer in North Little Rock.  Tips for taking this test include:

  • Do not do anything physically strenuous the day of or before this test.
  • Sleep well the night before.
  • Drink a lot of water the day before and then drink moderately 3 hours before this test.
  • Do not eat a lot of food or drink a lot of water within 3 hours of the test.
  • Restrict your intake of caffeine on the test day.
  • Wear a comfortable type of athletic shoes:  you cannot wear shoes with cleats.

Before you can take this test, you will have to have a liability release form notarized.  Both the forms and a notary will be available on the test date.

This test will involve performing six tasks while wearing body armor and a duty belt.  They include:

  • Sprinting 100 feet on an L-shaped course
  • Climbing 3 flights of stairs, then going back down them
  • Testing your physical restraint with a force-training machine
  • Running or jogging 450 feet
  • Dragging a 170 pound dummy for 30 feet
  • Pulling a trigger 12 times (dominant hand), then 11 times (other hand)

You will have 3:54 minutes in which to complete these tasks.

Step 5. Interview

Once you have passed both the written and physical tests, you will be invited for an interview.  You will have to provide documentation for your educational or previous law enforcement background at this point.

Your score on the interview will be based on:

  • Communication skills (oral and written)
  • Criminal history
  • Demeanor
  • Dependability
  • Driving history
  • Education and experience
  • Motivation

How you did on your writing sample from the written test will also be incorporated into the score from you interview.

Step 6. Background Check and Polygraph Examination

An eligibility list will be created based on the scores from the interview.  After you have scored well on your interview and been placed on this list, the department will thoroughly investigate your background.

It is important that you be complete in providing your information to the department.  For instance, you must provide addresses for every place you have lived previously.  You must list all of your traffic violations, not just those within the past 3 years.

Part of this process involves a polygraph examination.  You will be asked about the information you provided on your application and F-3 form, along with anything that has been discovered about you during the background check.

Step 7. Physical, Visual, and Psychological Examinations

Once you have passed your background check and are in a good position on the eligibility list, you will be given a conditional job offer.

To determine if you meet the physical standards necessary to become a police officer in North Little Rock, you will be given a thorough physical examination.  This will involve blood work and urinalysis, including a drug screen.  Your vision will also be checked to make sure that you conform to the standards required for hiring.

You will also be examined by a psychologist to evaluate how suitable you are to become a law enforcement officer.  This will include taking a written test and being interviewed for an hour.

Step 8. Attend Law Enforcement Academy for Training

After you have been found free from any physical or emotional condition that would impair your ability to be a police officer in North Little Rock, you will undergo 480 hours of basic police training over 12 weeks at the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy.

This will involve instruction in the following areas:

  • Investigation
    • Criminal
    • Accident
  • Defensive tactics
    • Firearms
    • Non-deadly
  • Law
    • Criminal
    • Traffic
    • Civil liability
  • Safety techniques
  • First aid
  • Crisis intervention
  • Crime prevention
  • Cultural diversity

As a police officer in North Little Rock, your salary will start at $2,500 a month.  You will be a patrol officer for a year.  After that, you may apply for more specialized positions.

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