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How to Become a Police Officer in Missouri

Becoming a Police Officer in Columbia, Missouri

The main goal of the Columbia police department is to keep the city a safe place for visitors and citizens to live, play, and work. Becoming a police officer in Columbia, Missouri means you will work beside 160 fellow officers while living in a city that consistently ranks among America’s top 20 best cities in which to live in.

Use this guide to learn how to become a cop in Columbia by meeting the departments police officer requirements:

  1. Minimum requirements
  2. Tests
  3. Interview
  4. Background investigation
  5. Computer voice stress analyzer test
  6. Medical physical and psychological exam
  7. Field training
  8. Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Certification

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Columbia

Before you complete an application, first check to ensure you meet the basic minimum qualifications:

  • 60 hours of post-secondary education from an accredited institution
  • Driver’s license with an excellent driving record
  • At least 21 years old
  • No felony convictions or serious criminal record
  • Excellent attendance record and work history
  • U.S. citizen
  • Reside within 30 miles of the city.

When you verify you meet these requirements you may pick up and complete an application from the Columbia city human resources department. You can mail or return the completed application to the same place, making sure it is legibly and completely filled out. Remember to include:

Step 2. Tests

Before your interview you will be required to pass two tests: a physical fitness test and a written exam. The written exam is a basic measure of your reading comprehension and writing abilities. The physical fitness exam ensures that you have a basic level of physical capability and involves performance in events you can train for with sit-ups and push-ups.

Step 3. Interview

You will be notified of your test results, and if you are successful you will be scheduled for an oral interview with a panel of police officials. You will be questioned about anything you are aware of in your background or employment history that may cause concern. Your interviewers will additionally be evaluating you on your communication ability, level of articulation, and ability to give clear and succinct instructions.

Step 4. Background Investigation

Your background investigation will be based off the preliminary background booklet you submitted with your application, as well as any other information that may have been raised during your interview or tests. A background investigator will be assigned to look into your past, searching through records and conducting interviews with anyone related, and not limited to, the following subject areas:

  • Employment history
  • Education history
  • Local, state, and federal criminal history
  • Driving record
  • Previous places of residence
  • Military history, if applicable
  • Financial history and credit report

Step 5. Computer Voice Stress Analyzer Test

Similar to a polygraph examination, you will be asked any variety of questions, with some related to your background examination, background booklet, or on altogether new topics not limited to:

  • Your motivations for becoming a police officer in Columbia
  • Any aliases you have ever been known by
  • If you are a registered voter
  • If you have ever falsified your taxes
  • Any delinquency in child support payments
  • Training in martial arts or boxing
  • Having ever written a bad check
  • Having ever received income from an illegal source

Step 6. Medical Physical and Psychological Evaluation

Police jobs in Columbia additionally require the completion of a medical physical and psychological evaluation. The medical physical will be a thorough exam performed by a licensed physician who will also check your hearing, vision, and administer a drug test.

Your psychological evaluation will be conducted by a psychiatrist chosen by the Columbia police department and will consist of an oral interview. You will be assessed for your mental stability and checked for any unbalanced psychological traits.

Step 7. Field Training Program

Your field training program will teach you the skills and abilities you will need to have for a successful career as a Columbia police officer. The field training program is a few months long and will instruct you in the following subject areas:

  • Report writing
  • Firearms training
  • Driving techniques
  • CPR and first aid
  • Administration of sobriety tests
  • Patrol strategies
  • Juvenile justice system
  • Family issues and domestic violence
  • Community policing strategies

Step 8. Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Certification

Within six months of being hired by the Columbia police department you will need to become Missouri POST certified. This is accomplished by passing the Missouri Peace Officer License Exam. Your training academy will have already addressed this test, which has no time limit for completion and contains 200 questions in areas including legal studies, domestic violence, human behavior, investigation, law enforcement, and defensive tactics.

Becoming a Police Officer in Independence, Missouri

The original city ordinance that established the first Independence police jobs in 1882 reads, “The police force of the city shall consist of not more than five men, of good moral character at least 21 years of age.” Although some things have changed since those times – there are many more than five police officers in Independence, many of which are women – certain requirements have remained unchanged over the years.

Becoming a police officer in Independence requires a commitment to upholding civil duties, as well as the right skills. Learning how to become a cop in Independence will help you prepare for the application process, which involves these nine steps:

  1. Minimum requirements
  2. Pre-interview tests
  3. Oral interview
  4. Polygraph examination
  5. Psychological evaluation
  6. Background investigation
  7. Medical physical and drug screen
  8. Field training
  9. Police academy and state certification

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Independence

The first step in becoming a police officer in Independence is to meet the basic police officer requirements:

  • At least 21 years old
  • College coursework or degree in criminal justice preferred
  • High school diploma or GED
  • No pattern of criminal behavior, including no felony convictions
  • Excellent work and attendance history
  • U.S. citizen
  • Driver’s license with a good driving record
  • Honorable discharge from the military, if applicable

You must check local listings to see when the human resources department posts an announcement for cop jobs in Independence. Applications are only accepted online, and must be filled out completely.

Step 2. Pre-Interview Tests

After your application is reviewed you will be notified when your first pre-employment test will take place. This is a written test that evaluates your basic level of writing and reading comprehension. Once you pass this you will be scheduled for your next test, the physical abilities test.

The physical abilities test is an obstacle course totaling 480 yards that you must complete in 3.60 minutes or less. It involves a series of (see detailed diagram):

  • Jumps
  • Hurdles
  • Sprints
  • Push-ups
  • Stair climbs and descents
  • Balancing event
  • Crawls
  • Weight drags

Step 3. Oral Interview

Once you pass your pre-interview tests you will move on to have a panel interview with police department officials. Your interpersonal and communication skills will be assessed, as well as your ability to communicate, understand, and articulate. You will also have an opportunity to ask any questions of your own.

Step 4. Polygraph Examination

Once you have been judged to possess the right personal qualities for Independence cop jobs you will proceed with a polygraph examination. You may be asked any range of questions, not limited to:

  • Previous instances of dishonesty in your professional and personal life
  • Any times you have ever stolen something including pirated electronic goods
  • Any instances when you have exhibited deviant behavior
  • Prior occurrences when you have taken advantage of someone
  • Any instances when you have bought, sold, or used illegal drugs or abused prescription drugs
  • The most serious crimes you have committed but for which you have never been caught

Step 5. Psychological Evaluation

Another one of the police officer requirements in Independence is the completion of a psychological evaluation. This will be conducted by a licensed psychiatrist who will determine if you have any mental characteristics that may be incompatible with Independence police officer jobs.

Step 6. Background Investigation

If you are not disqualified by any polygraph examination findings or your psychological evaluation then you will proceed to begin your background investigation. This process may take several weeks to complete, and you will be required to provide the following:

  • Banking institutions
  • Previous addresses
  • Listing of your past employers
  • Listing of all the educational institutions which you have attended
  • Names of family, relatives, in-laws, and friends
  • Disclosure about your criminal history
  • Driving history and abstract
  • Any reasons why you would not be able to give credible evidence in court

Step 7. Medical Physical and Drug Screen

Your next step will be to complete a medical physical and drug test. The physical examination will check for common risk factors and ensure you are in the premium of health. Your vision and hearing will be tested and you must pass your drug screening to be able to continue in the application process. You should notify your examining physician of any previous medical issues you have experienced.

Step 8. Field Training

The Independence field officer training program will provide you with much of the hands-on experience you will need in your job as a cop. This is a 13-week program that includes:

  • Suspect apprehension
  • Driving techniques and maneuvers
  • Structure entrance/breech formations
  • Patrol techniques
  • Creating and securing a perimeter

Step 9. Police Academy and Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Certification

If you have not already completed a police academy in your previous employment or education you will be required to enroll in a Missouri POST-certified training academy. This is where you will receive the basic and extensive training you will need for a successful career with the Independence police department. Training academies are usually about 14 weeks and include instruction in:

  • Firearms training
  • CPR and first aid
  • Self-defense
  • Criminal justice system
  • Domestic violence and family issues
  • Juvenile issues
  • Report writing
  • Crime scene investigation

Your final step in the application process will be to pass the Missouri Peace Officer License Exam (MPOLE) and receive certification by the state. You can take this test after you complete your training academy. The MPOLE consists of 200 questions with no time limit. Your training up to this point will have been in part a preparation for this test, which includes sections in:

  • Legal studies
    • Constitutional law
    • Traffic law
    • Missouri statutory law
  • Interpersonal perspectives
    • Human behavior
    • Domestic violence
  • Technical studies
    • Patrol
    • Inmate management
    • Criminal investigation
    • Law enforcement
    • Report writing
  • Skill development
    • Defensive procedures
    • Driving
    • Firearms

Becoming a Police Officer in Kansas City, Missouri

The Kansas City police department is responsible for providing law enforcement services for roughly half a million residents across 319 square miles of the city. Several additional specialized units, including SWAT, dignitary protection, detectives, and more, support Kansas City’s patrol units.

Use this guide as a tool to conduct research on how to become a police officer in Kansas City by meeting the department’s requirements:

  1. Basic requirements
  2. Substance abuse questionnaire
  3. Pre-interview tests
  4. Initial interview
  5. Polygraph examination
  6. Background investigation
  7. Ride-along
  8. Oral board interview
  9. Medical examination and psychological evaluation
  10. Training academy

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Kansas City

The first step to becoming a police officer in Kansas City is to meet these basic minimum requirements:

  • Be able to own and operate a firearm
  • Able to clearly communicate verbally
  • Height and weight proportional
  • Live in Kansas City within 12 months of employment
  • Missouri driver’s license by date of hire
  • U.S. citizen
  • At least 21 years old
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Honorable discharge from the military, if applicable
  • No excessive traffic violations or history of drug use
  • No felony convictions

Make sure to include all required documents and signed forms when you turn in your application, and to fill your application out completely and legibly.  The entire application process may take several months to complete.

Step 2. Substance Abuse Questionnaire

Your next step will be to email your completed substance abuse questionnaire to the Kansas City PD’s careers address. This questionnaire will be revisited if you proceed as far as the polygraph examination. Questions include:

  • Have you ever bought, sold, or used any types of illegal drugs (including prescription drug abuse)
  • Have you ever been in the presence someone who manufactured or used illegal drugs
  • Have you ever helped someone in the process of making or selling illegal drugs

Step 3. Pre-Interview Tests

Before your interview you will be required to pass two tests: a written examination and a physical abilities test. The written examination, the Police Officer Selection Test (POST), is an evaluation of your basic reading comprehension and writing abilities. A review of the test is available upon request, along with a practice session which will be held shortly before the actual event. You will be informed of these times and dates by the Kansas City PD’s employment division.

The physical agility test is an obstacle course that includes the following, to be completed within a set amount of time:

  • A short distance running
  • Three push ups
  • Climbing through a simulated window
  • Ascending and descending a staircase multiple times
  • Jumping over three obstacles of varying height, and off a raised platform
  • Making your way across a balance beam
  • A simulated body drag
  • A weight carry

Step 4. Initial Review

At this point you will meet with Kansas City police officials to discuss the status of your application up to this point and you will be required to answer some questions. A review of all your supporting paperwork will be conducted and your full and complete application will be forwarded to a recruiter.

Step 5. Polygraph Examination

Your next step will be to complete a polygraph examination which will address findings in your application process including the substance abuse questionnaire you filled out previously (step two). Additional material covered will be previous criminal activity, truthfulness, integrity, and employment history.

Step 6. Background Investigation

After completing a polygraph examination that confirms your upstanding character and makes no disqualifying findings, your background investigation will be initiated. An investigator will be assigned to your application to confirm all your minimum credentials. This includes checks of:

  • Financial records, institutions where you have accounts, and your credit report
  • Employment history, interviews with previous supervisors and colleagues
  • Check of your criminal records using local, state, and federal databases
  • Confirmation of receipt of your high school diploma and any other education credits
  • Investigation of your driving history
  • Interviews with family members, relatives, friends, and current or former neighbors

Step 7. Ride-Along

Your background investigation may take several weeks to complete, and during this time you will be required to ride along with Kansas City police officers during a full night shift or weekend duty. This is to give you a taste of what police officer jobs in Kansas City are like.

Step 8. Oral Board Interview

This will be your principal interview where members of the Kansas City PD’s employment section will determine your overall skills and abilities and how they will translate to a job as a Kansas City cop. You may be asked questions on a range of topics to determine your qualifications. Upon completion of this interview you will receive a conditional offer of employment.

Step 9. Medical Examination and Psychological Evaluation

Becoming a police officer in Kansas City requires the completion of a medical examination and psychological evaluation. Your medical exam will include:

  • Vision and hearing examination
  • Medical physical
  • EKG test
  • Urinalysis drug and alcohol test
  • Investigation of pre-existing conditions
  • Cardiovascular and respiratory system evaluations
  • Blood test and lab work

Your psychological evaluation will be performed by a certified psychologist who will determine your overall mental state and your estimated level of stress tolerance. You will be assessed for any psychological traits that may be incompatible in a career with the Kansas City police department.

Step 10. Training Academy

This training academy will provide you with all the skills and abilities you will need to begin a successful career as a police officer in Kansas City. Your typical day starts at 7:00am and ends at 4:00pm. It is strongly recommended that you have been physically training before you begin the 28-30 weeks of your training academy. Upon graduation you will be qualified to be sworn in. Areas of focus include:

  • Firearms training
  • Family issues and domestic violence
  • Self-defense
  • Driving procedures and maneuvers
  • Suspect arrest and pursuit
  • Criminal justice system
  • Field sobriety test administration
  • Legal procedures
  • CPR and first aid
  • Crime scene investigation

Becoming a Police Officer in Springfield, Missouri

Those interested in police jobs in Springfield, Missouri should expect the unexpected. As an example of this, Springfield officers recently arrested a woman who was believed to be driving while intoxicated with three kids in the back of her car – while the car was on fire.

Becoming a police officer in Springfield involves going through a multi-step application process. Learn how to become a police officer in Springfield by following this guide describing the department’s established requirements.

  1. Basic requirements
  2. Tests
  3. Oral interview
  4. Background investigation
  5. Polygraph Examination
  6. Drug test
  7. Medical examination and psychological evaluation
  8. Training academy

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Springfield

Before filling out an application, you should first confirm you are able to meet the minimum qualifications:

  • Be in excellent physical shape
  • No illegal substance use in the previous three years
  • May not have been at-fault in more than one accident in the past 18 months
  • No more than three moving violations in the past 18 months
  • U.S. citizen
  • High school diploma or GED
  • No felony convictions
  • No DWI convictions in the past three years, and you may only have one DWI conviction
  • Normal vision and hearing
  • No visible tattoos
  • Must meet one of the following circumstances
    • 60 semester hours of accredited higher education
    • Two years active military service with honorable discharge
    • Class A Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification
    • Class B Missouri POST certification plus two years full-time law enforcement in the past five years
    • 30 semester hours of accredited higher education plus three years as a Springfield Police Cadet

Make sure to include all the required documents, photocopies, and signed forms with your application. Only complete and legible applications will be considered. Once your application has been reviewed and judged to be valid you will be contacted about scheduling your physical agility test and you will be given a background questionnaire.

Step 2. Tests

Before your initial interview, you will have to successfully complete a physical agility test and a written exam. The physical agility test is designed to simulate the physical demands of situations you are likely to encounter in a job as a Springfield cop. You must complete this obstacle course in less than 7.083 minutes.

  • 100 meter sprint
  • Pushing a police car on level ground a distance of 15 feet
  • Jumping
  • Climb over a six-foot wall
  • Climb over a three-foot wall
  • Climb through a window
  • Dead-weight drag of a dummy weighing 165 pounds a distance of 50 feet
  • Handcuff resist simulation
  • Stair climb
  • Six trigger pulls on an empty handgun in less than 7.1 seconds

The written test is the National Criminal Justice Officer Selection Inventory Exam and tests your basic reading comprehension and writing abilities. The public safety recruitment company offers two study guides for purchase to help you prepare for this test. You will also be required to turn in your background questionnaire for step four at this point.

Step 3. Oral Interview

Once you pass the required tests you will be scheduled for an oral interview with Springfield police officials. Your previous personal and employment history will be discussed and your communication skills will be evaluated. It is important for you to demonstrate you can understand and speak clearly. You will also have an opportunity to ask any questions.

Step 4. Background Investigation

At your written exam you will have been required to turn in a background questionnaire. This will require you to have provided the following information:

  • Addresses of previous residences
  • Bank account information
  • Names of friends, family members, and relatives including in-laws
  • Previous institutions of education
  • Previous employment history
  • Any previous criminal convictions or court appearances
  • Driver’s license information

A background investigator will be assigned to your application and will check through your records and conduct interviews with people who have known, observed, or interacted with you over a period of time in one way or another.

Step 5. Polygraph Examination

If your background investigation confirms you have a good moral character and makes no disqualifying findings about your past, you will need to next complete a polygraph examination. This may visit issues brought up in your oral interview or background investigation. You may also be asked questions not limited to:

  • Previous instances of illegal drug use, sale, or purchase
  • Previous illegal activity you have engaged in but for which you have never been caught
  • Times you have ever taken advantage of someone
  • Instances of dishonesty at the workplace
  • How many times you are late to work each month

Step 6. Drug Test

This is the final step you must complete before you can receive a conditional offer of employment. If you fail your drug test your application process will be immediately terminated.

Step 7. Medical Examination and Psychological Evaluation

At this stage in becoming a police officer in Springfield you will be required to complete a medical examination and a psychological evaluation. The medical exam will consist of:

  • Lab tests
  • Medical physical
  • Cardiovascular and respiratory system evaluations
  • EKG test
  • Vision and hearing test
  • Examination of any pre-existing conditions

The psychological evaluation will be conducted by a licensed psychiatrist and will evaluate your ability to handle high amounts of stress and make objective decisions quickly and under pressure.

Step 8. Training Academy

The final step to complete before you will be eligible for certification in a new career as a Springfield police officer will be to complete a training academy which will span a period of several months. During this time you will be instructed and practice all the skills you will need as a police officer, with a focus in the areas of:

  • First aid and CPR
  • Legal procedures
  • Report writing
  • Vehicle pursuit and maneuvers
  • Criminal justice system
  • Family issues and domestic violence
  • Juvenile issues
  • Human psychology
  • Firearms training
  • Self-defense

Becoming a Police Officer in St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis police jobs are available within many specialized units, including everything from gang detectives and homicide detectives, to mounted patrols, aviation officers and child abuse specialists. The path to these positions and many others begins by learning how to become a cop in St. Louis by meeting the department’s police officer requirements:

  1. Minimum requirements and application
  2. Aptitude and battery test
  3. Panel interview
  4. Physical abilities test
  5. Background investigation
  6. Medical exam and psychological evaluation
  7. Police academy

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in St. Louis and Applying

Before you fill out an application check to make sure you meet the minimum hiring qualifications:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • No felony convictions or pattern of criminal behavior
  • Must move to St. Louis within 90 days of hire
  • U.S. citizen
  • At least 21 years old
  • Height and weight proportional
  • High school diploma or GED
  • 30 credit hours from college or university within two years being hired
  • Normal color vision (20/20 corrected, not worse than 20/200 uncorrected)

Applications can be printed from the police department’s website where you will also find the details on what to include when applying. Make sure to submit a full, complete, and legible application packet.

When you have collected and signed all required forms and documents, you must submit these in person to the police human resources department, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. When you drop the application off, allow about an hour for an initial screening and scheduling while you are in the human resources office.

Step 2. Aptitude and Battery Test

You will be assigned to a recruiter who will schedule you for the law enforcement aptitude and battery test. This will evaluate your basic skills such as reading comprehension and grammar. An optional tutorial will be offered prior to this test.

Step 3. Panel Interview

If you pass the aptitude and battery test you will be scheduled for a panel interview with three commissioned officers. This will be an oral interview that will judge you on your past employment and personal record with an emphasis on your interpersonal relations and communication skills. This includes your verbal comprehension, expression, and your reasoning skills.

Step 4. Physical Abilities Test

After a successful panel interview you will be required to complete a physical abilities test. This consists essentially of an obstacle course ¼ mile in length that you must complete within 3.5 minutes. Activities you will be required to complete are:

  • Jumping a variety a heights and distances
  • Balancing
  • Laying
  • Climbing
  • Pushing
  • Pulling and dragging
  • Running
  • Dry-firing a weapon five times with each hand

Step 5. Background Investigation

You will now begin the process of having your background investigation. A police department official will be assigned to your application and conduct an investigation into a variety of records, including:

  • Criminal history records at the local, state, and federal level
  • Driving records
  • Previous employment and educational institution history
  • Financial history and credit report
  • Previous military record, if any

Your investigator may also conduct interviews with anyone, not limited to:

  • Neighbors
  • Family and relatives (including in-laws)
  • Friends, former classmates, colleagues
  • Former employers and instructors
  • Character references

Completing the steps up to this point may take several months. After completion of a successful background investigation you will be placed on a list of eligible candidates. If your case is determined to need additional investigation you may be required to take a polygraph examination.

Step 6. Medical Exam and Psychological Evaluation

You will now be required to complete a medical exam conducted by a licensed physician. This will check for any serious medical complications that would hinder your ability to fulfill the duties of a St. Louis cop. You will have a physical, vision, and hearing test. You may also be required to pass a drug test.

Your psychological evaluation will evaluate you on your ability to handle stress and make good decisions under pressure. An oral evaluation will be conducted by a psychiatrist.

After completion of these procedures, depending on the availability of St. Louis police jobs you may immediately begin training at the police academy, or you may have to wait for the next available academy to begin.

Step 7. Police Academy

You will spend 28 weeks in the St. Louis police academy where you will learn the theory behind all the skills and abilities you will acquire to begin a successful career as a St. Louis police officer. Upon graduation you will be eligible to be sworn in, at which time you will begin a year of probation. Areas of focus in the police academy include:

  • Driving techniques and maneuvers
  • Ethics
  • Constitutional and criminal law
  • Juvenile procedures
  • CPR and first aid
  • Patrol strategies
  • Human behavior and psychology
  • Report writing
  • Criminal investigation
  • Self-defense
  • Firearms training

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