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How to Become a Police Officer in North Carolina

Becoming a Police Officer in Charlotte, North Carolina

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD, 704-336-7600) and its more than 120 officers and civilian staff serve the more than 750,000 residents of Charlotte, North Carolina, the 21st largest city in the United States.

If you want to learn how to become a cop by meeting police officer requirements in Charlotte, you must understand all of the steps required to do so. Follow this guide for an understanding of what it takes to be eligible for Charlotte, North Carolina police jobs:

  1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment
  2. Submit a City Employment Application
  3. Take the Police Officer Examination
  4. Take the Physical Ability Test
  5. Complete the Application Packet
  6. Complete all Remaining Police Testing
  7. Complete Basic Law Enforcement Training

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment

If you are interested in becoming a police officer in Charlotte you should first determine if you meet the minimum eligibility requirements. These include:

  • You must be at least 21 years old at the time of application.
  • You must have a high school diploma or GED, although the Department encourages candidates to possess an associate’s degree.
  • You must either possess or have the ability to obtain a North Carolina driver’s license.
  • You must be a United States citizen.
  • You must have an honorable discharge from the military (if applicable).
  • You must have no visible tattoos or brandings that cannot be covered with a long-sleeve uniform.
  • You must reside in North Carolina or South Carolina at the time of appointment.
  • You must be able to read on a 10th grade level.

Step 2. Submit a City Employment Application

The first step to becoming a police officer in Charlotte is to submit an online City application (The Department will begin accepting applications in May 2013). Once the CMPD determines you meet all minimum eligibility requirements you will be invited to take the Entry Level Police Officer Examination.

Step 3. Take the Police Officer Examination

The Entry Level Police Officer Examination includes four parts and 169 questions. All candidates who pass the examination are invited to participate in the Job-Related Physical Ability Test.

Step 4. Take the Physical Ability Test

The Physical Ability Test is a pass/fail test. You must complete all sections of the test within 6 minutes and 18 seconds or less.

The sections of the test include:

  • 200-yard run (back and forth a distance of 50 feet 6 times)
  • Step-up 20 times
  • 15 push-ups
  • 15 sit-ups

You will be given a street address at the beginning of the test. Upon finishing the test, you will be required to recall the street address. If you cannot, you must repeat the 200-yard run. You will be required to present a valid driver’s license and waver/medical release form before taking the test.

You can prepare for the physical ability test by reading the Preparing for the Physical Ability Test.

Step 5.  Complete the Application Packet

Candidates who pass the written and physical ability tests will receive an application packet from the CMPD in the mail to complete. You must complete the application in full and return it, along with the required documents, which include:

  • A color photo of your head and shoulders
  • One copy of your birth certificate
  • One copy of your driver’s license
  • Two copies of your Social Security card
  • A copy of your high school diploma or GED certificate
  • A copy of your high school transcripts
  • A copy of your college diploma (if applicable)
  • A copy of your college transcripts (if applicable)
  • A copy of your marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • A copy of your divorce decree (if applicable)
  • A copy of your Selective Service Registration Card (for male applicants, ages 18 to 25)
  • A copy of your military discharge DD-214 form (if applicable)
  • A copy of your naturalization papers (if applicable)

You must also include court documents (and any other associated documents, including police reports, arrest reports, summons, etc.) if you received any citations or criminal summons or were arrested for any criminal offense. You can obtain these documents from the Clerk of Courts where the offense took place.

Upon completing the application, you must have the Application Booklet (F-3) and the Authorization to Release Information forms notarized.

Step 6. Complete all Remaining Police Testing

Only the most qualified candidates are chosen to complete the employment process and are assigned a recruiting officer who will begin a comprehensive background investigation.

In addition, the remaining testing will get underway. In particular, you will be required to take a polygraph exam; a psychological screening; a medical exam; and a drug screening before you can be begin Basic Law Enforcement training as a new recruit.

Step 7. Complete Basic Law Enforcement Training

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Training Academy’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Program (BLET) is 22 weeks long and consists of more than 900 hours of training (The State of North Carolina requires just 604 hours of training.).

Becoming a Police Officer in Durham, North Carolina

The Durham Police Department (919-560-4600) and its 512 sworn officers are responsible for upholding criminal and civil laws, providing safety education, and protecting and safeguarding lives and property in Durham, North Carolina.

This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to become a cop in Durham by meeting the department’s police officer requirements:

  1. Meet Recruiting Requirements
  2. Attend an Open House Event
  3. Take the Written Test
  4. Take the Physical Fitness Evaluation
  5. Meet with Oral Review Board
  6. Undergo Background Investigation
  7. Complete All Remaining Employment Testing
  8. Attend the Police Academy

Step 1. Meet Recruiting Requirements

Before pursuing Durham police jobs, you should determine whether you meet the recruiting requirements as set forth by the Durham Police Department. In particular, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be at least 21 years old (within 30 days of graduating from the police academy)
  • Have adequate vision and hearing
  • Have an honorable discharge from the U.S. military (if applicable)
  • Have no domestic violence convictions
  • Have no DUI/DWI convictions within the last 5 years
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Have no serious misdemeanor convictions within the last 5 years
  • Meet credit requirements
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED certificate (some college is preferred)
  • Possess a valid driver’s license with no suspensions within the last 3 years

Step 2. Attend an Open House Event

Individuals interested in becoming a police officer in Durham are encouraged to attend an open house informational session (You can review the Open House Calendar here.) to familiarize themselves with the employment process and to receive a City of Durham application for employment (You can also view the application here).

All open house informational sessions are held at the Durham Police Headquarters on 505 West Chapel Hill Street. If you reside out of state, you can contact a recruiter at 919-560-4575 for more information.

Step 3. Take the Written Test

Provided you meet all minimum requirements for employment, you will be given a time and date at which to take the written test. Only those candidates who pass the written test are eligible to take the physical fitness test.

Step 4. Take the Physical Fitness Evaluation

The Physical Fitness Evaluation is a pass/fail test that includes the following components:

  • 300-meter run (within 82.9 seconds)
  • 1.5-mile run (within 17 minutes)
  • Bench press (maximum capable of lifting)
  • Push-ups (as many as possible in one minute)
  • Sit-ups (as many as possible in one minute)

Step 5. Meet with Oral Review Board

Only those candidates who pass both the written test and the physical fitness evaluation are eligible to continue the employment process, which includes meeting with an Oral Review Board.

Step 6. Undergo Background Investigation

Only those candidates recommended by the Oral Review Board are eligible to continue the employment process, which includes undergoing a background investigation.

Step 7. Complete All Remaining Employment Testing

Upon the successful completion of a background investigation, you will receive a conditional offer of employment, at which time the remaining employment testing will take place.  Remaining employment testing includes a medical screening; a psychological evaluation; a polygraph examination; and a drug screening.

Step 8. Attend the Police Academy

All new recruits must successfully pass the new recruit training program through the Durham Police Academy.

Becoming a Police Officer in Greensboro, North Carolina

The Greensboro Police Department is a full-service police organization that consists of 747 authorized employees, all of whom are dedicated to providing community policing services, crime suppression services, and an excellent quality of life for the residents of Greensboro, North Carolina.

This guide provides step-by-step instructions for individuals who want to learn how to become a cop in Greensboro by meeting the department’s specific police officer requirements:

  1. Meet Minimum Requirements
  2. Submit an Application for Employment
  3. Complete Pre-Employment Testing
  4. Undergo Background Investigation and Oral Board Interview
  5. Receive Conditional Offer of Employment and Complete Employment Testing
  6. Attend the Police Academy

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements

If you are interested in becoming a police officer in Greensboro, you must first review the Greensboro Police Department’s minimum eligibility requirements for employment, which include:

  • Must possess (or be able to obtain) a North Carolina driver’s license
  • Must be a United States citizen
  • Must have no felony or serious misdemeanor convictions
  • Must read at the 10th grade level or higher
  • Must possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Must be at least 21 years old by the time you complete the Police Academy

Step 2. Submit an Application for Employment

To apply for employment with the Greensboro Police Department you must complete an application packet, which includes the following forms:

  • City of Greensboro Employment Application
  • Fair Credit Reporting Notification/Acknowledgement form
  • Form F-3, Personal History Statement Booklet and Addendum
  • Greensboro Police Department Authorization and Release to Obtain Information form
  • Police Officer Application
  • Recruitment Questionnaire
  • Selective Services and Overtime Acknowledgement form

In addition to completing the above forms, you must provide the following documentation (make copies) in your application packet:

  • Birth certificate
  • High school transcripts
  • College transcripts (if applicable)
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Military Form DD-214 (if applicable)

Applications for employment are available at the following police substations:

  • 300 W. Washington Street
  • 1510 N. Church Street
  • 2602 S. Elm-Eugene Street
  • 300 S. Swing Road
  • 1106 Maple Street

You can also download and print the Police Officer Application.

The completed application packet and required documentation must be mailed to:

City of Greensboro
Human Resources Department
P.O. Box 3136
300 West Washington Street
Greensboro, NC  27402-3136

Step 3. Complete Pre-Employment Testing

Once the Department has received and reviewed your application packet you can expect to receive a letter with your testing date for both the physical and written tests. Both tests are held on the same day.

The first test, the Police Officer Physical Abilities Test (POPAT), includes a series of cardiovascular and weight-bearing exercises. Additional information on the POPAT can be found in the employment application packet.

You must complete this test in 10 minutes to move on to the written portion of the pre-employment testing process. The written test is not a test for which you can prepare or study.

Step 4. Undergo Background Investigation and Oral Board Interview

Provided you pass the written and physical fitness tests, you will be referred to the City of Greensboro Human Resources Department, where you will undergo a thorough background investigation. You will also meet with the Oral Board for a preliminary interview at this time.

Step 5. Receive Conditional Offer of Employment and Complete Employment Testing

Provided you pass the background investigation and oral interview, your information will be forward to the Department’s Selection Committee. The Selection Committee is tasked with reviewing all candidate information and recommending select candidates for a conditional offer of employment.

If you receive a conditional offer of employment, you can expect to undergo a psychological interview with a law enforcement psychologist; a medical exam; a drug screening; and a polygraph test.

Step 6. Attend the Police Academy

Once you have successfully completed all remaining employment testing, you will be seated in the Academy, where you will complete 27 weeks of academy training, followed by an additional 14 weeks of field training.

Becoming a Police Officer in Raleigh, North Carolina

The Raleigh Police Department consists of 777 sworn police officers, all of which work collectively to provide public safety and community services to the residents of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Individuals who want to learn how to become a cop in Raleigh must satisfy the department’s police officer requirements as outlined in this guide:

  1. Meet Minimum Eligibility Requirement
  2. Complete an Application Packet
  3. Take the Reading Comprehension Exam
  4. Take the Physical Ability Test
  5. Meet for Initial Interview and Polygraph Exam
  6. Meet with Oral Board
  7. Complete all Remaining Employment Testing
  8. Receive Final Offer of Employment from the Chief of Police
  9. Attend the Police Academy

Step 1. Meet Minimum Eligibility Requirements

Before applying for Raleigh police jobs, you should first ensure you meet the minimum eligibility requirements set forth by the Raleigh Police Department. In other words, to achieve Raleigh police jobs you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old (when sworn in)
  • Have 20/20 corrected or uncorrected eyesight
  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Possess a high school diploma or the equivalent certificate
  • Have no visible tattoos or body art that is visible when wearing the Department-issued uniform

Step 2. Complete an Application Packet

The Raleigh Police Department has two applications packets, both of which can be downloaded and printed:

It is important to read all upcoming Academy information for open hiring dates and closing dates.

Once you have downloaded, printed and completed the application, in full, you must gather all of the required documentation, which includes:

  • Certified copies of all civil record checks driving records, and criminal record checks in all of the counties in which you have resided as an adult (Contact the Clerk of Courts and the Department of Motor Vehicles in the appropriate counties/states to obtain this information.)
  • Copy of military form DD-214 (if applicable)
  • Copy of naturalization papers (if applicable)
  • Color copy of your original birth certificate
  • Color copy of your Social Security card
  • Color copy of your valid driver’s license
  • Copy of college diploma (if applicable)
  • Copy of your high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Official college transcripts (if applicable)
  • Official high school transcripts (sealed)

Using the enclosed checklist found in the application packet, ensure you have all parts of the application completed and signed and that all documents are included. Once you have done so, mail the packet to:

Raleigh Police Department Recruitment Office
6716 Forks Road
Room #331
Raleigh, NC 27615

Step 3. Take the Reading Comprehension Exam

Provided you meet all of the minimum eligibility requirements for Raleigh police jobs and have properly completed your employment application packet, you will be contacted by the Recruitment Office with a date and time to take the reading comprehension exam. You will need to present a valid photo ID before you can take the test. All candidates must be able to read at a 10th grade level to pass the reading comprehension exam.

Step 4. Take the Physical Fitness Test

Individuals who pass the reading comprehension exam will have the opportunity to take the Physical Ability Test immediately following the written exam. The Physical Fitness Test is based on the Cooper’s Institute Guidelines. The test involves the following:

  • Height and weight measurement
  • Bench press
  • Sit-ups (one-minute)
  • Push-ups (one-minute)
  • Vertical jump
  • 1.5-mile run
  • 300-meter run

Step 5. Meet for Initial Interview and Polygraph Exam

Upon successfully passing both the written and physical testing, the Recruitment Department’s command staff will review your application packet and test results. Provided you meet the Department’s standards for employment you can expect to be contacted by a Recruiter who will schedule a date and time for a polygraph exam and initial interview.

Step 6. Meet with Oral Board

The Command Staff’s Oral Board will meet with all qualified candidates for an oral interview. Only the top candidates will receive a conditional job offer.

Step 7. Complete all Remaining Employment Testing

Upon receiving a conditional offer of employment, you will be scheduled to complete all remaining employment testing, which includes:

  • Fingerprinting
  • Medical exam and drug screen
  • Psychological exam

Step 8. Receive Final Offer of Employment from the Chief of Police

Upon completing all remaining phases of the employment testing process, your final background summary will be presented to the Chief of Police for a final decision of employment.

You should expect the entire application process to take anywhere from 3 to 8 months.

Step 9. Attend the Police Academy

All new recruits are required to complete 26 to 30 weeks of basic law enforcement training and then 18 weeks of field training upon graduating from the Academy.

Becoming a Police Officer in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

The Winston-Salem Police Department’s 561 sworn officers are responsible for patrolling the city’s 133 square miles and protecting the more than 230,000 residents that call this city home. The Winston-Salem Police Department is made up of three Divisions:

  • The Office of the Chief of Police
  • The Field Services Bureau
  • The Investigative and Support Services Bureau

Individuals who want to learn how to become a cop by meeting police officer requirements in Winston-Salem should use this guide as an instructional manual for attaining Winston-Salem police jobs:

  1. Meet Minimum Qualifications for Employment
  2. Take a Reading Comprehension Test and Physical Abilities Test
  3. Apply for Employment
  4. Complete Oral Interview and Suitability Screener
  5. Undergo Background Investigation
  6. Receive a Conditional Offer of Employment and Complete Post-Conditional Offer of Employment Testing
  7. Receive Final Offer of Employment and Begin Academy Training

Step 1. Meet Minimum Qualifications for Employment

Individuals interested in becoming a police officer in Winston-Salem should first determine if they meet minimum qualifications for employment, which include:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must be at least 20 years old.
  • You must possess a high school diploma or GED.
  • You must have no DWI convictions in the last 5 years.
  • You must either possess, or be able to possess, a North Carolina driver’s license.
  • You must have no felony or serious misdemeanor convictions.

Step 2. Take a Reading Comprehension Test and Physical Abilities Test

You must take a reading comprehension test (All North Carolina police officers must be able to read at a 10th grade level.) and physical abilities test (modified Police Officer Physical Abilities Test) before you can receive an application for employment.

The Winston-Salem Police Department’s Recruiting Staff holds these pre-employment testes throughout the year at the Public Safety Training and Support Center. You can view available test dates and sign up online here.

You must bring a valid photo ID and a signed waiver/release form with you on the day of the test.

The modified physical abilities test is a baseline test that assesses your ability to perform your job. It is a pass/fail test. If you fail, you are permitted to retake the test on the next available testing date. If you fail the test twice, you must wait for a period of one year before retesting.

Step 3. Apply for Employment

Once you have passed the written test and the physical abilities test, you will receive a formal application package for employment, along with a submission date. You must return the completed application and all required documents to the Winston-Salem Department Recruiting Unit before this submission date to continue on with the employment process.

Step 4. Complete Oral Interview and Suitability Screener

The Recruiting Department will contact all eligible candidates upon review of the application packages to schedule an oral interview and a suitability screener (written exam). The oral interviews are conducted by a three-member panel of Department officers.

Step 5. Undergo Background Investigation

Only those candidates recommended by the Oral Interview Panel will continue with the employment process, which includes undergoing a background investigation.

Step 6. Receive a Conditional Offer of Employment and Complete Post-Conditional Offer of Employment Testing

Upon extending a conditional offer of employment, the Recruiting Department will schedule post-conditional offer of employment testing, which includes a drug screen; a medical exam; a polygraph examination; and a psychological interview.

Step 7. Receive Final Offer of Employment and Begin Academy Training

The Chief of Police, upon review of the candidates’ application packages and testing results, will extend a final offer of employment to a select few candidates, who will then attend the Recruit School. The Recruit School includes about 28 weeks of training.

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