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Total posts: [14]
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Police Academy/Training:

Does anyone know much about getting into the police force? Would you have to go to a police academy, and at what age? What would the requirements be?

Would it be plausible for an orphan to get in?

Yes, you must enter the police academy for the training, before they let you into the force. The entry standards vary for police academies around the world — but from what I know of them here, it is highly recommended you are of legal age (17 ans. and above) and with a high school diploma at the least. There might be higher standards for the actual certification as an officer.

They check your background (academics, physical fitness, psychological makeup, criminal records  *) before they let you in. The only marks that can be considered acceptable would be no more than two speeding tickets in a one year period, no other convictions of any kind can appear on the applicants record, and the applicant cannot be a convicted felon.

Also to consider are psychological evaluations, polygraph exams, drug screenings and qualifications with a firearm and driving skills, as conditions of employment. While I hear some places allow open enrolment in police academies, many require cadets to be hired by a police department first in order to attend.

Of course, it's quite plausible for an orphaned one to enter. I don't think parentage enters much into the factors. Perhaps if you're relatives with known crime figures though, that might be a different story.

edited 29th Nov '10 8:30:51 PM by QQQQQ

NY State Police Academy has only 26 weeks of training. That seems a bit short.

^ How long do you think would take for one to become a full-fledged police officer?

edited 29th Nov '10 9:20:07 PM by melloncollie

The above post covers most of the important factors in police officer recruitment. If you want good, spot-on information for a police academy, check with your municipality's website, or you can check with your state's government employment directory either at your revenue office or online. The standards vary from city to city, from county to county, and from state to state.

If you're writing a police academy scenario into your story, I recommend doing some research on the various types of law enforcement organizations that could fit into your story. You have your pick among federal agencies, paramilitary groups, intelligence agencies, and local offices. Of course, if you're posting this topic, I can assume you already know this by now. Just make sure you don't have heavily armed government agents doing low-level patrol duty, or vice versa, local police officers hunting high-value suspects outside of their jurisdiction. It seems obvious, but a lot of novels and television shows don't properly portray the kind of training officers need for their respective roles.

Many hiring agencies require applicants to take both an entry and exit exam within a 3 to 4-year period, both written and physical. In some jurisdictions, a person applying for law enforcement with prior experience working for a municipality or state government can receive expedient approval from a certified supervisor.

I also suggest doing research on training programs used by various nations. Some countries have more militaristic training programs than others, and in some cases, the police academy and military basic training can even overlap for qualifying citizens.

Edit: 26 weeks sounds short, but it really isn't. Most citizens train nights and weekends while tending to their day jobs and family responsibilities, so it's a bit stretched out. Also bear in mind that after graduating from a police academy, an officer is typically placed under a probationary status for roughly 2 or 3 years before they can patrol and investigate under a fully operational capacity. During the probationary period, an officer will be supervised by a veteran who will submit monthly progress reports until the satisfactory patrol requirements have been met.

edited 29th Nov '10 9:37:44 PM by Aprilla

On the contrary, I believe 26 weeks (six months) training is longer than average. Considering the gritty, constantly busy urban New York, they might need to be this toughened up.

I think the usual rate is 13 weeks or so, and then after the examinations, you graduate with a shield and a firearm. I forgot to mention the probationary months afterward as well; where you ride along with an experienced officer for some hands-on, sidelines learning. Like being an apprentice or so.

Hm. Then you might have the Police Training Officer (PTO) program as a sort of post-graduate learning; in which recruits are further trained in problem-based learning. Running over 16 weeks, it's broken down into four three-week stages — including non-emergency, emergency, patrol and criminal investigation. It is a recent thing, meant to replace the 30-year old Field Training Officer (FTO) program.

edited 29th Nov '10 9:38:51 PM by QQQQQ

Right. You could think of PTO as the law enforcement equivalent of AIT (advanced individual training) that comes after military basic training, although the officer in question will have fairly extensive field experience by that point.

Some jurisdictions use a rotation system for those seeking specialized areas such as K-9, counter-narcotics, SWAT, and criminal investigation. To prevent cliques from forming between patrol officers and detectives, some cities rotate each position every six months, sometimes longer depending on the case currently being worked. SWAT and K-9 are often considered independent branches of law enforcement, and SWAT teams tend to have a stand-by status very similar to the one used by fire fighters. Officers in counter-narcotics tend to be more educated, and some training programs require them to have a college degree, preferably in criminal justice, chemistry, or some other related field.

edited 29th Nov '10 9:44:36 PM by Aprilla

Wow, so much glorious detail [lol]. Thank you smile

I'm constructing a backstory for an ex-cop character, at the moment I'm mostly concerned with timeline and plausibility.

edited 29th Nov '10 9:51:41 PM by melloncollie

What time period are you using?

In the present.

Wait, you mention college degrees. Would the average police officer be required to have a college degree?

edited 29th Nov '10 9:51:56 PM by melloncollie

Specific qualifications required vary. They may require a high school diploma, or a related post-secondary diploma, or equivalent. A degree in criminology/criminal sciences can come in handy here.

edited 29th Nov '10 10:03:28 PM by QQQQQ

Bumping this, 'cos I have a new police-related question.

So there's usually divisions, like missing persons, homicide, criminal surveillance, etc., right? What would the process of transferring divisions be like? Or transferring cases (if that happens)? Like a missing persons case turns out to be a homicide, which I'm sure happens often.

edited 14th Mar '11 10:58:01 PM by melloncollie

If you're wanting to transfer voluntarily, you send a letter of transfer to your section superior — including detail of where you wanting to go, and for what reasons. So long as you're not preoccupied with an important case, and if your reasons stand sound (you're not moving just so you can take a load off your back grin), you can have a transfer within a matter of a day or two. They have to update your track record. Giving head is optional.

Don't forget that you need to have experience in whichever department you're going to, also.

For case matters, the case is simply issued towards the appropriate division — if it looks to be homicide, or if it's petty world domination. But sometimes disagreements would rise between case heads, because one or both of 'em have beef with getting accomplishments.

edited 21st Mar '11 10:11:58 AM by QQQQQ

One or two days is pretty fast o__O. I suppose if you're expecting to transfer, it would be reasonable to refuse assignments?

Don't forget that you need to have experience in whichever department you're going to, also.

Experience? So one would get this experience by helping out on cases outside their department?

edited 22nd Mar '11 3:03:28 PM by melloncollie

One or two days is pretty fast o__O. I suppose if you're expecting to transfer, it would be reasonable to refuse assignments?

Were you imagining a lot of red tape and bureaucratic nonsense? Fill in form S3.9 and sign here, here and here? (That is the red-haired Devil speaking.) Joking aside, if you expect to transfer soon, you would need to relegate the case to your case partner(s). You can still work on the assignments, right up to the last second.

Experience? So one would get this experience by helping out on cases outside their department?

Some jurisdictions use a rotation system for those seeking specialized areas such as K-9, counter-narcotics, SWAT, and criminal investigation. To prevent cliques from forming between patrol officers and detectives, some cities rotate each position every six months, sometimes longer depending on the case currently being worked.

Or otherwise, when idle members need something to do, they can assign themselves to another case — perhaps out of their department. Since I suppose the members share the same basic training, they can learn the specialties of other departments hands-on, with assistance from the experienced people there.

edited 22nd Mar '11 4:18:55 PM by QQQQQ

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Total posts: 14
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