• Find A Program

How to Become a Police Officer in Iowa

Becoming a Police Officer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

The 203 sworn officers of Cedar Rapids work in close partnership with the community to help prevent crime in Iowa’s second largest city.  Follow this guide if you want to learn about what it takes to become a police officer in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

  1. Meet the Basic Qualifications
  2. Submit Your Application
  3. Written Examination
  4. Polygraph Examination
  5. Psychological Examination
  6. Interviews
  7. Medical Examinations
  8. Physical Fitness Test
  9. Attend Police Academy for Training

Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Cedar Rapids Police Officer Candidacy

If you wish to be considered as a police officer in Cedar Rapids, you must meet the following police officer requirements:

  • You must be 18 years old by the date of your written examination.
  • You must be younger than 65 years old by the date of the written examination.
  • You must have excellent vision:
    • Uncorrected must be at least 20/100 in both eyes
    • Correctable to 20/20 in both eyes
    • Normal color vision
  • You must have normal hearing
  • You must have graduated from an accredited high school or have a GED.
  • You must be fluent in English.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must either be a resident of Iowa or plan to become one upon employment.
  • You must not be addicted to alcohol or drugs.
  • You must possess a current valid Iowa chauffeur’s or driver’s license by the time you are employed.
  • You must not have had any suspensions, cancelations, or revocations of your driving privileges within 3 years before the date of your written exam.
  • You must not have the following convictions:
    • Aggravated misdemeanor less than 5 years before the date of your written exam.
    • Felony
    • Serious misdemeanor less than 2 years before the date of your written exam
    • Domestic assault or child abuse
  • You must not have performed the following with any illegal drug:
    • Unlawfully sold or delivered
    • Used while employed in law enforcement or as a prosecutor
    • Used in the 24 months prior to the date of your written exam

Step 2. Submit Your Application

You must submit a completed application to become a police officer in Cedar Rapids.  Information on the application process is provided by the city.

Step 3. Written Examination

When positions are available, you will take a written examination.

Step 4. Polygraph Examination

After you have passed your written exam, you will have to take a polygraph examination.  This is designed to verify the information on your application, help to determine your suitability, and help to show that you have good moral character.

Step 5. Psychological Examination

Once you have passed your polygraph examination, you will be further examined by a psychologist to show that you are suitable for a law enforcement career in Cedar Rapids.  Your personality and cognitive skills will be tested at this point.

Step 6. Interviews

After you have passed your psychological examination, you will be interviewed and assessed for your:

  • Appearance
  • Reason for seeking a law enforcement career
  • Background
  • Ability to communicate with a variety of types of citizens that you might come in contact with

Step 7. Medical Examinations

Once you have passed one or more interviews, the department will offer you employment.  Now, you will be tested by the City Nurse.  He or she will assess your

  • Health
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Pulmonary function

After your first medical examination, you will be required to undergo further testing by a physician to show that you are free from any emotional, mental, or physical conditions that could interfere with your ability to serve as a police officer in Cedar Rapids.  This will involve:

  • Standard physical exam
  • Drug test
  • EKG
  • Maximal treadmill stress
  • Lab work
  • X-rays

Step 8. Physical Fitness Test

Once you have been found physically fit to be a police officer in Cedar Rapids, you will have to pass a test of your physical endurance levels to show that you are in good enough shape to function as a law enforcement officer.  This test involves:

  • Sitting and reaching
  • Performing 1 min of sit-ups
  • Performing 1 min of push-ups
  • Running 1.5 miles

Step 9. Attend Police Academy for Training

After you have met the physical standards to be admitted to the academy, you will undergo basic training at the Cedar Rapids Police Academy.  Your training will practical training with academic coursework, so you have a thorough training in what to expect as a police officer in Cedar Rapids.  You can expect practical training in:

  • Using weapons
    • Firearms
    • Batons
    • Tasers
  • Defending yourself
  • High speed driving
    • Emergency response
    • Pursuit

Becoming a Police Officer in Des Moines, Iowa

379 sworn officers represent the Des Moines Police Department and patrol this Iowa city in an effort to fight crime and maintain the peace.  The solution rate for homicides in Des Moines is almost 90%, a figure substantially above the national average.

If you’re interested in becoming part of the solution by serving as an officer with the Des Moines, Iowa Police Department, follow these steps to learn how to become a cop in Des Moines.

  1. Meet the Basic Qualifications
  2. Submit Your Application
  3. Physical Fitness Test and Written Examination
  4. Interviews
  5. Background Check and Polygraph Examination
  6. Psychological Examination
  7. Medical Examination
  8. Attend Police Academy for Training

Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Des Moines Police Officer Candidacy

You must meet these conditions if you wish to be considered as a police officer in Des Moines:

  • You must be 18 years old at the time of your appointment.
  • You cannot have any of the following convictions:
    • Domestic violence
    • Felony
    • Assault or theft
    • Crime that involves moral turpitude
  • The following activities with alcohol will disqualify you:
    • Current (past year) or abuse or excessive use
    • History of excessive use without successful rehabilitation
  • You cannot have the following patterns of drug use:
    • Marijuana in the previous 24 months
    • Other illegal drugs (including steroids) in the previous 36 months
    • Illegal drugs after you have become an applicant
  • You must have graduated from high school or have a GED.
  • You must have a driver’s license valid in Iowa.
  • Your vision must be:
    • At least 20/100 uncorrected in both eyes
    • Correctable to 20/20
    • Able to detect colors

Step 2. Submit Your Application

The first step in submitting your application is to fill out an interest card to let the department know that you would like to be notified when recruitment is taking place.  You can obtain such a card at the Human Resources Department in City Hall or online.

Step 3. Physical Fitness Test and Written Examination

The next step will be for you to take the pass/fail physical fitness test, which is based on the standards of the Cooper Institute.  This test includes

  • Sit-ups
  • Push-ups
  • 1.5 mile run
  • Stretch and Reach

You will also be required to take the written examination that is a POST test.  You will have get at least a 70% on all four areas being tested to pass this examination.  You will be tested on your abilities to:

  • Read
  • Write reports
  • Use proper grammar
  • Perform mathematics

Step 4. Interviews

Once you have successfully completed both examinations, you will be interviewed before the Civil Service Commission.  The panel will evaluate your

  • Background
  • Interest in police work
  • Personal characteristics

After you have passed this interview and been designated a top candidate, you will be invited to take part in a final interview with staff of the police department.

Step 5. Background Check and Polygraph Examination

Once you have passed your interviews, you will undergo a background check.  This information will be used to determine if you meet the established guidelines to become a police officer in Des Moines.  This involves checking your:

  • Criminal history
  • Driving record
  • References
  • Work history

Part of this process involves subjecting you to a lie detector test to ensure that you are truthful about all aspects of your background.

Step 6. Psychological Examination

After your background check has shown you to be of good character, you will be invited to take part in a psychological examination.

Step 7. Medical Examination

Once you have passed your psychological examination, you will be placed on an eligibility list.  You will now have to complete a medical examination to show you are in good enough health to become a police officer in Des Moines.  This process includes drug screening.

Step 8. Attend Police Academy for Training

After you have passed your medical screening, you will attend the Des Moines Police Department Academy for basic training.  You will receive a combination of academic coursework with practical training such as

  • Driving, both pursuit and emergency
  • Firearms
  • Defensive tactics

Becoming a Police Officer in Iowa City, Iowa

The Iowa City Police Department has authorized positions for 82 sworn officers who help to protect the public and uphold the city’s statutes and legal codes. If working to protect your follow citizens while maintaining the peace in Iowa city sounds like something you’d excel at, review these steps to learn how to become a police officer in Iowa City:

  1. Meet the Basic Qualifications
  2. Submit Your Application
  3. Written Examination
  4. Physical Agility Tests
  5. Psychological Examination
  6. Interviews
  7. Background Check
  8. Medical Examination
  9. Attend Police Academy for Training

Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Iowa City Police Officer Candidacy

If you wish to be considered as a police officer in Iowa City, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be 18 years old.
  • Your vision must be correctable to 20/20.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must be a resident of Iowa by the time you are hired.
  • You must have a driver’s license valid in Iowa at the time of your appointment.
  • You must not have an addiction to alcohol or drugs.
  • You must the equivalent of a high school education:
    • Diploma
    • GED

Step 2. Submit Your Application

You can only apply when a vacant position for a police officer is posted. You can download an application to submit.

Step 3. Written Examination

In your application packet, you will be notified of the date and location of your written examination.  Your test will be scored as soon as you have finished taking it.  Your exam will have an ID number on it, and these numbers will be used to post the scores.

Step 4. Physical Agility Tests

After you have attained one of the top scores on the written examination, you will be told the time and date of the physical agility tests.  Typically, this test is held the day after the written examination.  You will have to pass all of the phases of this testing to be able to continue.  The tests involve:

  • Sit and Reach
  • Maximum pushups in 1 minute
  • Maximum situps in 1 minute
  • 1.5 mile run

Step 5. Psychological Examination

Once you have succeeded in your physical agility testing, you will be given the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory.  This is a classic test to determine personality traits and psychopathology.

Step 6. Interviews

After you have passed your psychological exam, you will be notified of the time and date of your oral interviews.  You will be interviewed by a panel who will then give you a ranking based on how the other candidates have done.  After ranking the candidates, they will choose who are the best candidates.

Step 7. Background Check

Once you have been determined to be one of the top candidates from the hiring process, an investigator from the police department will conduct a background check on you.

After this has been completed, the interview panel will produce a ranked list of the candidates.  This list is then given to the Civil Service Commission to be certified.  Once certified, the list of candidates will be given to the City Council.  Once the City Council has certified the list, the Chief of Police has the authorization to hire anyone on the list.

You must have successfully completed the National Police Officer Selection Test (P.O.S.T.) before you can be hired.

Step 8. Medical Examination

Now that you have been found to be a top candidate and a desirable hire, you will have to complete a medical examination to ensure that you are in good enough physical condition to become a police officer in Iowa City.

Step 9. Attend Police Academy for Training

Once you have passed your medical examination, the next step depends on whether you are certified or not.  If you are not certified as an officer in Iowa, you will be trained at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy or an accredited regional academy.  This type of training involves coursework in:

  • Criminal and traffic law
  • Human behavior
  • Investigating crimes and vehicle crashes

You will gain practical experience in:

  • Emergency driving
  • Pursuit driving
  • Firearms training
  • Physical conditioning
  • Defensive tactics

After you have finished your academy training, or if you were already certified, you will begin field training.  You will be on probation for 9 months from the date at which you were hired.

Based on June 2011, your annual salary will start at $41,828.80.  The maximum salary is currently $62,608.00 per year.

Becoming a Police Officer in Sioux City, Iowa

In 2011, the crime rate in Sioux City, Iowa continued to be much lower than the national average.  This is partly attributed to the working relationship between the Sioux City Police Department and the local community.  Here are the steps to take to join these officers and help keep Sioux City, Iowa a desirable place in which to live.

Six steps to becoming a police officer in Sioux City, Iowa:

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

Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for Sioux City Police Officer Candidacy

Here are the requirements that you have to meet to be considered for a job as a police officer in Sioux City:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must be an Iowa resident.
  • You must live within 10 miles of Sioux City by the time you are appointed.
  • You must have had the following convictions:
    • Misdemeanor for domestic violence
    • Felony
  • You must be 21 years old by the date of your written examination.
  • You must have one of the following:
    • 60 college credit hours with a minimum C average
    • 4 years of experience as a law enforcement officer
    • High school diploma or GED and 4 years of military service with an honorable discharge
  • You must have good vision:
    • At least 20/100 for both eyes correctable to 20/20
    • Color vision
  • You must have normal hearing in each ear.

Step 2. Submit Your Application

Along with your application, you should also provide documentation of your experience and education.  If applicable, you must also provide your DD-214.

Step 3. Physical Agility Test and Written Examination

Once you have been found to meet the basic requirements, you will be notified of a date for a test of your physical prowess.  You are strongly advised to start preparing ahead of time for this test, since many people have trouble passing it.

You will be held to the minimum standards of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.  They are adjusted to your age and gender.  The test includes:

  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Sit and reach
  • 1.5 mile run

After you have passed your physical test, you will take the written POST test in the afternoon.

Step 4. Background Check and Interview

Once you have done well enough on your written examination to have been chosen to proceed further in the hiring process, the department will investigate your background.  Part of this will involve verifying information that you have provided.

After you have passed your background check, you will be interviewed to assess how suitable you are to become a police officer in Sioux City.

Step 5. Medical and Psychological Evaluation

Once you have done well on your interview, you will have to be screened by a physician and a psychologist to ensure that you both physically and mentally fit to become a police officer in Sioux City.

After you have cleared this step, you will be listed as an eligible candidate.  The Civil Service Commission will certify your eligibility

Step 6. Attend Law Enforcement Academy for Training

Once a conditional offer of employment has been made, you will undergo 14 weeks of basic training at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in Johnston and receive 576 hours of training over this time frame.  Your training will involve a mix of academic coursework with physical conditioning and such practical topics as enhancing your driving skills and becoming proficient with firearms.

As a police officer in Sioux City, your annual salary will start at $43,942.  If you have a Bachelor’s degree or have been a certified law enforcement officer in Iowa for two years, you can earn $52,735 a year.

Becoming a Police Officer in Waterloo, Iowa

The 125 sworn officers of the Waterloo, Iowa Police Department handled 77,278 calls for help in 2012, which represented a decrease of 2.5% in the number of incidents responded to in 2011.  If you’ve got what it takes to become a law enforcement professional, follow these instructions to learn how to join these officers and help fight crime in Waterloo.

  1. Meet the Basic Qualifications
  2. Submit Your Application
  3. Written Examinations
  4. Interview
  5. Medical Examination
  6. Background Check and Polygraph Examination
  7. Physical Fitness Testing
  8. Attend Police Academy for Training

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

If you wish to be considered to become a police officer in Waterloo, you must meet the following police officer standard requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old by the deadline of your application.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must be willing to live within 10 miles of police headquarters.
  • You must be fluent in English.
  • You must have a high school diploma or GED by the deadline of your application.
  • You must have excellent vision (20/100 correctable to 20/20 and not color blind).
  • You must have normal hearing.
  • You cannot have any dependency on drugs or alcohol.
  • You must be able to legally possess a firearm.

Step 2. Submit Your Application

When openings in the Waterloo Police Department are being advertised, you should submit a cover letter and resume to either personnel@waterloo-ia.org or

City of Waterloo Human Resources
620 Mulberry Street
Waterloo, IA  50703

You must include your social security number and the number of your driver’s license on one of these documents.  If you are applying from out of state, you must have a copy of your driving records sent to the Human Resources Office.

Step 3. Written Examinations

Once you have been chosen from the pool of applicants, you will have to take written examinations.

Step 4. Interview

After you have passed your written examinations, you will be interviewed by a panel who will assess your demeanor, background, and skills.

Step 5. Medical Examination

Once you have passed your interview, you will undergo a thorough medical examination to ensure that you are healthy enough to become a police officer in Waterloo.  This will include a drug screen.

Step 6. Background Check and Polygraph Examination

After you have been cleared by a physician, the department will thoroughly investigate your background to make sure that you have the appropriate character to be a police officer in Waterloo.  You will have to take a polygraph examination as part of this process to verify what has been found out about you.

Step 7. Physical Fitness Testing

Once your background check has been successful, you will have to undergo physical fitness testing to meet the standards of the state of Iowa.  This includes at least:

  • Situps
  • Pushups
  • Running 1.5 miles

Step 8. Attend Police Academy for Training

After you passed the physical fitness test and been selected from among the other candidates, you will undergo basic training at one of two locations.  This will be either at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy or Hawkeye Community College.  Both institutions will train you for the job of police officer.

You will learn academic coursework in such topics as criminal and traffic law, along with aspects of human behavior.  You will also receive practical training in using firearms, high-speed emergency and pursuit driving, and defensive tactics.

Back to Top