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How to Become a Police Officer in Montana

Becoming a Police Officer in Billings, Montana

The Billings police department is made up of 142 sworn officers who work around the clock to ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the 41 square miles of the city. In Billings, Montana, police jobs are available to qualified candidates who distinguish themselves from their competitors.

Learn how to become a police officer in Billings by following these steps:

  1. Basic requirements
  2. Tests
  3. Interview
  4. Background investigation
  5. Polygraph examination
  6. Medical exam and psychological evaluation
  7. Training academy

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Billings

Your first step in becoming a cop in Billings is to meet these basic requirements:

  • Driver’s license
  • U.S. citizen
  • High school diploma or GED
  • At least 18 years old
  • Good moral character
  • No felony convictions
  • No convictions for crimes punished in federal or state penitentiaries

Step 2. Montana Law Enforcement Testing Consortium

Becoming a police officer in Billings involves collaboration with city and state agencies. The city contracts the Montana Law Enforcement Testing Consortium to test and maintain its pool of applicants for police officer jobs in Billings. Your first step will be to register for a testing date with this consortium and prepare yourself to pass two tests:

Written Test – You must obtain a passing score of 70% on this test which includes a general knowledge evaluation of:

  • Arithmetic skills
  • Grammatical error identification
  • Reading comprehension
  • Writing skills
  • Punctuation, grammar, and spelling

Montana Physical Agility-Ability Test (MPAT) – This is a test meant to ensure you have the basic physical skills to perform the job requirements of a Billings police officer. You will have to complete an obstacle course within 6.5 minutes which includes events in:

  • Jumping
  • Push-ups
  • Pushing
  • Dead-weight drag/pull
  • Stair ascent and decent
  • Constricted space crawling
  • Climbing
  • Balance
  • Running/sprinting

Upon successful completion of both tests your name will be placed on an eligibility list to be consulted by the Billings police department when positions become vacant.

Step 3. Interview

Once you are selected to continue the application process your next step will be the interview. This will be conducted by a panel of police officials who will want to find out about your past work history, character, and life skills. Your interviewers will be particularly interested in your communication skills, ability to speak clearly and give succinct commands, and interpersonal relationship abilities. You will also have an opportunity to ask any questions of your own.

Step 4. Background Investigation

After completing a successful interview you will move on to begin the background investigation process. This will involve an investigator confirming you meet the minimum requirements as set by the city of Billings and state regulatory agencies, and that you do not have any disqualifying factors in your background. This may include an investigation of your:

  • Credit history
  • Education and employment history
  • Criminal history at the local, state, and federal levels
  • Driving abstract and history
  • Character references

Step 5. Polygraph Examination

You may be also required to complete a polygraph examination. You can be asked about anything that has come up so far in the application process, or questions on altogether different subjects, including:

  • Any time you have taken advantage of someone
  • If you have ever knowingly filed inaccurate taxes
  • If you have ever stolen anything from your employer
  • Any instance where you have used, sold, or purchased illegal drugs, including misuse of prescription drugs
  • How many times you are late to work each month
  • The most serious crimes you have committed but for which you have never been caught

Step 6. Medical Examination and Psychological Evaluation

After completing a successful background investigation you will be scheduled to complete a medical examination. This will include:

  • Respiratory and cardiovascular system check
  • Drug and alcohol test
  • Vision and hearing test
  • Medical physical
  • EKG test
  • Cholesterol and glucose level checks
  • Vital signs measurement
  • Investigation into any pre-existing conditions or conditions to which you may be susceptible based on your medical history

Your psychological evaluation will be conducted by a licensed psychiatrist who will determine your capabilities for handling stressful situations. You will also be assessed for any personality or mental traits that could work against the successful fulfillment of your duties as a Billings police officer.

Step 7. Training Academy

The state of Montana has a training academy for all candidates pursuing a career that will start as an entry-level police officer. This academy is offered three times a year for police trainees who have already been hired by municipal departments, however you can also attend as part of a pre-service program. You will live, sleep, eat, and train at the academy for an intensive 12 weeks, with time off during the weekends. Topics covered include:

  • Human psychology and behavior
  • Legal procedures and law
  • Police in the criminal justice system
  • Patrol strategies and operations
  • Investigation strategies
  • Traffic laws and enforcement

After a year of service with the Billings police department you will be eligible to become certified by the Montana Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.

Becoming a Police Officer in Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman police jobs offer entry-level officers a variety of positions in which to use their natural abilities and talents. Bicycle patrols, DARE officers, K-9 patrols, honor guards, and special response teams are just some of the choices.

Becoming a police officer in Bozeman involves competing with other qualified candidates for the job. Learning how to become a cop in Bozeman by meeting the department’s police officer requirements will help you to prepare ahead of time and can make you a more competitive candidate. The application process follows these steps:

  1. Basic requirements
  2. Tests
  3. Interview
  4. Background investigation
  5. Medical examination and psychological evaluation
  6. Police academy and certification

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Bozeman

Your first step is to confirm you meet the minimum requirements for police officer jobs in Bozeman:

  • At least 18 years old
  • U.S. citizen
  • High school diploma or GED
  • No felony convictions and good moral character
  • No convictions for any crimes that could have resulted in federal or state penitentiary time

Step 2. Physical Ability Text and Written Exam

The city of Bozeman allows the Montana Law Enforcement Testing Consortium (MTLETC) to create and maintain a list of qualified candidates for police jobs. To add your name to this list you need to first register, and then complete the MTLETC’s two qualifying tests: a written test and the Montana Physical Abilities Test (MPAT). The cost for this is $35.00.

The written test is a general knowledge test that evaluates the areas of reading comprehension, arithmetic, proper grammar, spelling, writing, and punctuation.

The MPAT is an obstacle course meant to simulate real-life situations you will most likely encounter in your job as a Bozeman cop. You must complete the obstacle course in 6.5 minutes or less, which includes:

  • Push-ups
  • Jumping
  • Pushing
  • Crouching/crawling
  • Balancing
  • Climbing
  • Weight-pulling

Step 3. Interview

Once your name is chosen from the ranked pool of qualified applicants you will be contacted and scheduled for an interview. You will be questioned by a panel of Bozeman police officials who will determine your interpersonal skills, communication ability, and skill in speaking clear and directly. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions.

Step 4. Background Investigation

Becoming a police officer in Bozeman means submitting to a thorough background investigation. Your case will have an assigned investigator who will confirm you meet the minimum qualification for cop jobs in Bozeman, which means an examination into your:

  • Driving records
  • Education and employment evaluations
  • Criminal history check for which you will be required to submit fingerprints
  • Military records, if applicable

Your background investigator may additionally examine your financial records and credit report, or conduct interviews with any of the following:

  • Neighbors
  • Friends, family, relatives
  • Coworkers, classmates, teachers
  • Ex-partners or spouses

You may also be required to undergo a polygraph examination to address any issues that arise in your background check, or to inquire into anything else, including previous crimes, drug activity, or immoral behavior.

Step 5. Medical Examination and Psychological Evaluation

The Bozeman police department will additionally require you to have a medical examination and psychological evaluation. The medical examination will include:

  • Medical physical
  • Drug and alcohol test
  • Vision and hearing test
  • Cardiovascular and respiratory system evaluations
  • EKG test
  • Blood and lab work

Your psychological evaluation will consist of an oral examination carried out by a licensed psychiatrist. You will be evaluated on your ability to make quick and rational decisions under stressful conditions, and on any personality traits or psychological conditions that would interfere with your job performance.

Step 6. Police Academy and Certification

At this point you will have most likely receive an offer of employment conditional upon your passage of the medical exam, drug test, and psychological evaluation. After your offer of employment you will have one year to complete the Montana Department of Justice’s Law Enforcement Academy. This is a 12 week police academy where you will learn all the skills you need for a successful Bozeman police officer career. The academy includes training in:

  • Firearms
  • Legal issues and procedures
  • Traffic enforcement
  • Crime scene investigation
  • CPR and first aid
  • Patrol operations
  • Human psychology and behavior
  • Juvenile justice system
  • Driving maneuvers

After your conditional offer of employment you will also have to complete one year of successful service as a Bozeman police officer, upon which time you will be eligible to receive your final required certification from the Montana Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board.

Becoming a Police Officer in Butte, Montana

Police officers in Butte have a range of community involvement programs they can become involved in. Neighborhood watch, anti-bullying programs, bicycle safety, and DARE officers are just some of the community outreach opportunities available. In Butte, police jobs are available to candidates who want to make a positive difference in their community.

Use this guide to learn how to become a Butte, Montana police officer in seven steps:

  1. Basic requirements
  2. Application
  3. Tests
  4. Interview
  5. Background investigation
  6. Medical exam and psychological evaluation
  7. Training academy

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Butte

The first step to becoming a police officer in Butte as a new recruit is to make sure you meet the minimum requirements for the job:

  • At least 18 years old
  • U.S. citizen
  • Have not committed any crimes punishable by sentences in state or federal penitentiaries
  • No felony convictions
  • Driver’s license
  • Good moral character
  • High school diploma or GED

Step 2. Application

Once you have confirmed you meet the basic requirements your next step will be to fill out an application. You may only fill out an application once the police officer position become vacant, so this will require you to monitor the city of Butte’s personnel webpage and local job postings. When you do fill out an application, make sure to do so completely and legibly, signing all required forms and including all required attachments – originals and photocopies.

Step 3. Tests: Physical Ability and Cognitive

You will be required to demonstrate you have the basic capabilities it takes for cop jobs in Butte. The police department may require you to take a basic written test which will evaluate you on your reading comprehension and writing ability. A physical agility test will simulate real-life situations faced by most Butte police officers at one point or another during their careers. It is recommended to prepare for the test by practicing:

  • Sit-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Sit and reach/trunk flexion
  • 1.5-mile run

Step 4. Interview

Once you have demonstrated you have the basic physical and mental abilities to be a police officer in Butte you will be placed on a list of eligible candidates. If you are selected from this list to continue in the application process your next step will be a panel interview with police officials. You will be questioned about your past job performance and your motivations for wanting to become a cop in Butte. You will be assessed for you communication and interpersonal skills, as well as any disqualifying factors from your past.

Step 5. Background Investigation

Your next step will be the completion of a thorough background investigation. You will have a department investigator assigned to your case who will at minimum confirm your basic qualifications.

As part of this you will be required to complete a questionnaire that includes:

  • Any illicit drug activity in which you have previously participated, including use, sale, and purchase
  • Any times in your past when you have taken advantage of someone
  • The most serious crimes you have ever committed, including those for which you have never been caught
  • Any prior instances of dishonesty in the workplace

Your investigator may also seek information about the following subjects and conduct potential interviews with:

  • Criminal history
    • Credit report and history
  • Probation officers
    • Accountants
  • Education
    • Former classmates and teachers
  • Employment
    • Colleagues and supervisors
  • Military, if applicable
    • Fellow officers and superiors
  • Residencies
    • Neighbors

Step 6. Medical Examination and Psychological Evaluation

After your background investigation has confirmed your moral character and has not made any disqualifying findings you will proceed to have a medical examination and psychological evaluation. The medical examination will make sure you are in top shape and able to perform all your job duties as a Butte police officer. You will undergo a series of check-ups and tests, including:

  • Medical physical
  • Hearing and vision test
  • EKG test
  • Lab work
  • Drug and alcohol test
  • Cardiovascular evaluation
  • Respiratory system examination

Your psychological evaluation will involve an oral interview performed by a licensed psychologist of the police department’s choosing. Your mental stability will be evaluated along with any conditions that may hamper your job performance as a cop. You will also be assessed for your abilities to make quick and logical decisions under pressure.

Step 7. Training Academy

As Montana state regulations stipulate, within a year of being hired by the Butte police department you will be required to complete the Montana Law Enforcement Academy’s Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course. This will last 12 weeks and you will learn all the skills and abilities you will need to possess in order to begin a successful career as a Butte police officer. The Montana Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board- the state regulatory agency- will be able to fully certify you once you have completed your first successful year with the Butte police department and graduated from the basic course academy, which focuses on:

  • Firearms training
  • CPR and first aid
  • Legal issues and law
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Traffic enforcement
  • Human behavior and psychology
  • Family issues and domestic violence
  • Criminal justice system

Becoming a Police Officer in Great Falls, Montana

Since being founded in 1888, the Great Falls, Montana PD has expanded to include specialized positions of today that include a high risk unit, honor guard, school resource officers, and more. Great Falls police jobs are available to candidates who have demonstrated the dedication and fortitude required to serve and protect this community effectively.

Follow these seven steps to learn how to become a cop in Great Falls by satisfying the department’s stringent police officer requirements:

  1. Minimum requirements
  2. Tests
  3. Oral board interview
  4. Background investigation
  5. Medical examination and psychological evaluation
  6. Review
  7. Police academy and certification

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Great Falls

Your first course of action should be to confirm that you meet the minimum requirements to become a cop in Great Falls:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Height and weight proportionate
  • At least 18 years old
  • Upstanding moral character
  • No felony convictions or those which could result in federal or state penitentiary sentences
  • Montana driver’s license within 60 days of hire
  • Normal, color vision with depth perception
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • High school diploma or GED, with college preferred

Step 2. Tests

The Great Falls police department contracts the Montana Law Enforcement Testing Consortium (MTLETC) to compile and maintain a list of eligible candidates for police jobs in Great Falls. To add your name to this list you will need to register for and pass the following two tests: a written exam and the Montana Physical Abilities Test (MPAT).

The written test is a basic evaluation of your arithmetic skills, reading comprehension, and writing skills including grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The MPAT is an obstacle course designed to simulate situations you will come across in a career as a law enforcement officer. The details of this test involve:

  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Running and sprinting
  • Climbing
  • Crawling
  • Balancing
  • Jumping
  • Push-ups
  • Dead-weight drag
  • Vaulting

The Great Falls PD also requires you to complete a Behavioral Personal Assessment Devices (B-PAD) video assessment. This will assess your behavioral competencies by judging your response to different video scenarios played during the test. You will provide a hypothetical response that will be recorded by a webcam.

Upon successful completion of this test you will be given a personal history questionnaire that will ask detailed questions about your past criminal activity, drug use, instances of dishonesty, cheating, and other activity deemed to be immoral. You must complete this by the given due date.

Once you pass these evaluations your name will be added to an eligibility list and ranked according to your testing results. You will also be scheduled for your oral board interview.

Step 3. Oral Board Interview

You will be interviewed by police officials, who will ask you a series of ten questions relating to your background, motivations for becoming a police officer in Great Falls, and on other topics. Your answers will be scored based on a scale of one to ten.

At this point the scores from your previous tests and interview will be weighted and averaged, giving you a numerical ranking on the Great Falls police department’s hiring list. The period of time you must wait to continue the hiring process depends on your rank and recruiting demands.

Step 4. Background Investigation

Once you have been selected to continue the application process your background investigation will begin. Your police officer minimum qualifications will be confirmed by your investigator, which can include a check of your:

  • Driving history
  • Financial history
  • Criminal records
  • Work and education evaluations and transcripts
  • Military records, if applicable

Step 5. Medical Examination and Psychological Evaluation

Becoming a cop in Great Falls also involves passing a medical examination and psychological evaluation. Your medical exam includes:

  • Drug test
  • Lab work
  • Medical physical
  • Hearing test
  • Vision test including for color and depth perception
  • Previous medical conditions or those to which you are particularly prone
  • Cardiovascular and respiratory system evaluations

Your psychological evaluation will determine your level of stress tolerance and if you have any psychological traits that would interfere with a career as a Great Falls police officer.

Step 6. Review

You will have one final review to demonstrate your personal qualities to the Great Falls Police Commission, which consists of three people who will determine your future, if any, with the police department. Your application scores and evaluations will be reviewed up to this point and you will have the opportunity to make any final statements before a decision is reached.

Step 7. Police Academy and Certification

Within a year of being officially hired by the Great Falls police department you will be required to complete the Montana Law Enforcement Academy. This will teach you everything you need to know for a successful career with the Great Falls police department. The academy lasts 12 weeks and includes:

  • Firearms training
  • Legal procedures
  • Human psychology and behavior
  • Traffic enforcement
  • Crime scene investigations
  • Criminal justice system
  • First aid and CPR

After completing your first successful year with the Great Falls police department you will be eligible for Montana Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification, the last step in becoming a fully trained and certified police officer.

Becoming a Police Officer in Helena, Montana

Police jobs in Helena are available to the top candidates who qualify in a competitive process. Learning how to become a cop in Helena can make you a more organized and better prepared candidate. Becoming a police officer in Helena involves the following steps:

  1. Minimum requirements
  2. Tests
  3. Montana Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)
  4. Interviews
  5. Background investigation
  6. Medical examination and psychological evaluation
  7. Academies

Step 1. Meeting Police Officer Requirements in Helena

The first step involved in becoming a police officer in Helena is to make sure you meet the basic requirements:

  • At least 18 years old
  • U.S. citizen
  • No criminal convictions which could be punishable by state or federal penitentiary sentences
  • Good moral character
  • High school diploma or GED
  • No felony convictions
  • Mostly clean criminal record

Step 2. Physical Agility Test and Written Exam

The city of Helena accepts police officer applicants from the Montana Law Enforcement Testing Consortium’s (MTLETC) list of eligible applicants. To add your name to this list you must register for and pass two tests: a written test and the Montana Physical Abilities Test (MPAT), at a cost of $35.00.

The written test is an evaluation of your basic math, writing, reading comprehension, grammar, punctuation, and spelling. After this you will take the MPAT which is an obstacle course designed to simulate real-life situations encountered in Helena police jobs. The details of the test include events in:

  • Running and sprinting
  • Jumping
  • Pulling and pushing
  • Dead-weight dragging
  • Push-ups
  • Climbing
  • Vaulting
  • Crawling
  • Balancing

Step 3. Montana Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)

After successful completion of the written test and MPAT you will be placed on a list of eligible candidates which the Helena police department will consult when an opening becomes available. You must also submit a Peace Officer application to the city of Helena.

All police officers in Montana must become certified by the POST Board. This happens after a successful year of employment as a police officer with the Helena PD and the completion of a POST-accredited training academy.

Step 4. Interviews

If you are selected from the MTLETC eligibility list you will proceed to a panel oral interview. You will be assessed on your interpersonal skills, communication abilities, as well as relevant background information and your work history. If your interview panel is satisfied with your responses you will be invited back for an interview with the police chief.

The chief of police will ask you additional questions related to your previous work experience as well as your motivations for wanting to become a police officer in Helena. You will both get a chance to talk one-on-one about how your goals and the goals of the police department can fit together. If the chief is impressed with your interview you will begin the process of your background investigation.

Step 5. Background Investigation

You will now be assigned a background investigator who will look into the details of your life, both personally and professionally. You will fill out a background questionnaire where you will list:

  • Previous addresses
  • Previous employers
  • Former teachers and classmates
  • Friends, family, and relatives
  • Financial institutions with which you do business
  • Former spouses or partners
  • Any previous criminal history or court appearances
  • Any crimes you have committed even if you have never been caught
  • Any history or instances of illicit drug use, sale, or purchase

Your background investigator may conduct interviews with any persons listed on your background questionnaire, and the entire process can take several weeks to complete. If your background investigation makes no disqualifying findings, upon a successful completion you will be given a conditional offer of employment, provided there are vacancies.

Step 6. Medical Examination and Psychological Evaluation

Your medical examination will ensure you are in optimum physical health in order to be a successful police officer. This will include:

  • Medical physical
  • Drug test
  • EKG test
  • Vision and hearing screening
  • Cardiovascular evaluation
  • Respiratory test
  • Evaluation of your previous medical records

Your psychological assessment will be conducted by a licensed psychologist who will evaluate you on your tolerance of stress. You will also be checked for any psychological complications or instabilities that would be detrimental to the successful completion of your job duties.

Step 7. Attend the Law Enforcement Academies

Montana Law Enforcement Academy:

As stipulated by the Montana Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board, you will be required to complete the Montana Law Enforcement Academy’s 12-week training program within a year of being hired in order to be eligible for POST certification. This program will teach you everything you need to know about being a law enforcement officer in the state of Montana, and includes training in:

  • Police roles in society
  • Law and legal issues
  • Human psychology
  • Traffic enforcement
  • Patrol techniques
  • Investigation procedures

Helena Field Training and Evaluation Program:

The Helena police department also requires you to complete a 14-week field academy where you will learn additional valuable skills you will use every day in your job. Upon graduation you will begin a year of probation as a newly sworn in Helena police officer. Topics covered in the field academy include:

  • Firearms training
  • First aid and CPR
  • Driving maneuvers
  • Suspect pursuit and apprehension
  • Arrest techniques
  • Juvenile justice system
  • Domestic violence and family issues
  • First responder training

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