How to Join the Police Department

Updated on February 9, 2018
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years of successful experience in medicine, psychology, STEM courses, and aerospace education (CAP).

Columbus Ohio Police Ford Interceptor SUV.
Columbus Ohio Police Ford Interceptor SUV. | Source

The following are specific qualifications and processes for attaining the job title of Columbus, Ohio Police Officer. Check your local city or town website for specific information in your area.

How to Become a Police Officer

Minimum Qualifications of Columbus Police Officers

  • High School graduation, or a valid Certificate of high school equivalency, like the Ohio GED Certificate. If you have a GED from another state check with the Ohio Board of Education to ensure that your state's GED transfers acceptably to Ohio.
  • You must be at least 20-years-old on the date your application and at least 21-years-old when you are appointed to the police officer training class. (There is no maximum age limit in Columbus as of 2009.)
  • You must have a current and valid Ohio Motor Vehicle driving license.
  • Required - You must be a Citizen of the USA.
  • Residency: Applicants must live within Franklin County or within an adjoining county (one that borders directly on Franklin County) in order to start attending the 28-week training course at the Police Academy.

The City of Columbus needs police officers that:

  • Show honesty,
  • Are safe drivers and will protect life and property,
  • Respect the rights of All individuals,
  • Respect the law and are willing to enforce it,
  • Have a consistently good employment history,
  • Demonstrate good attendance,
  • Show consistently reliable and effective judgment that produces positive results.

A background investigation is conducted for all job applicants with the Columbus Police force. This includes a polygraph test (a lie detector test) to determine level of honest in all applicants, a complete family history,a professional experience survey, a complete military history, traffic citation record, gambling history, criminal activity and records, substance abuse history, and a full credit history form the three major credit bureaus.

President Obama in Ohio for the Graduation of the Columbus Police Division’s 114th Class.
President Obama in Ohio for the Graduation of the Columbus Police Division’s 114th Class. | Source

The Trainee Selection Process

Candidates, if selected, will ensure the safety of all citizens, and personally uphold the law, ensuring that the rights of citizens are foremost.

The City of Columbus Division of Police provides intense training and continuing education of its police officers and staff. Since 1999, the Columbus Division of Police has been one of the largest police agencies in the country

Prior police experience is not required to serve on the Columbus Police force, and there is no upper age limit at all.

The first step in the testing process is to file an application and Abbreviated Background Questionnaire (ABQ) with the Columbus Civil Service Commission for the Police Officer position.

Application-filing periods are announced by the city Civil Service Commission. Contact Civil Service at (614) 645-0800 or online at http://www.csc.columbus.gov/. If your application and ABQ are approved, the Civil Service Commission will notify you of the time and place to report for the examination.

Police Examination Sections

  • Phase I - Multiple Choice;
  • Phase II - Writing Sample [Yes, police need to be able to write well!];
  • Phase III - Oral Board (BPAD),
  • Phase IV - Physical Test.

Phases I and II are pass/fail. Candidates who pass all four phase go into one of three bands (90, 80, or 70 band) on the eligible list based on Phase III scores and approved Veteran's Preference Credit.

90th Percentile (Top 10%)

Beginning with the "90-band" or top 10% of job candidates, a personal history questionnaire will be provided by the Columbus Division of Police. You will then appear at Police Headquarters for a pre-interview with a background investigator. Pictures, fingerprints, and waivers will be completed to assist in an extensive background investigation.

Polygraph

The applicant will be given a polygraph verify the accuracy of all the information they have given thus far.

Information Review

Civil Service Commission will review your entire package so far to make sure there are no violations of the background removal standards.

An assigned background investigator check of your employment history (all of it), references, and criminal record, They will visit you in your home and speak with your spouse, significant other, or family (for 2 to 3 hours).

Information is put together in a report about your background and polygraph results. This is sent to the Oral Review Board (3 veteran police officers). You will interview with them and they will ask you questions. Oral Review Board recommendations are reviewed by the Police Administrative Subdivision chain of command and the City of Columbus Public Safety Director.

The Safety Director will decide if you will be sent a Conditional Letter of Appointment (acceptance).

Columbus Police Headquarters.
Columbus Police Headquarters. | Source

Physical Examination by Licensed Doctors

This is a rigorous medical examination to evaluate your physical fitness. It includes a mandatory cardiovascular stress test and a psychological evaluation.

The vision requirements are "correctable 20/20 in both eyes" and no more than 20/125 uncorrected in any eye (most laser surgery corrections are acceptable).

The total medical exam must be passed before a Final Offer of Employment goes out.

Notification

Candidates will be notified by letter of an appointment date for Police Academy training.

Additional Information

The number of people that can be hired as Columbus Police Officers will depend on several circumstances. These things include such aspects as the city budget, the Police Department budget, the number of officer and staff retirements, and the need for the Division of Police for additional or new recruits. Since all of these factors vary from year to year, it is hard to name a specific number of people that will be hired in any particular year.

Many people state their interest in becoming employed with the City of Columbus Division of Police. Because the recruit selection process is highly competitive, with a limited number of individuals that will be successful, the sheer numbers of applications are overwhelming. The number of qualified men and women who are deeply committed to becoming an outstanding Police Officer drops dramatically after the initial intake and application process. Many simply do not or cannot commit themselves to requirements. If and when you are ready to commit, you will be rewarded in many ways that you will not regret!

Questions & Answers

    © 2007 Patty Inglish MS

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Pamella 

        6 years ago

        I am going through this process right now, i will let y'all know how it turns out. :)

      • profile image

        Benedick Louw 

        6 years ago

        Insightful, just a lot of requirements attached to the recruitment process.

      • profile image

        acquah richard 

        8 years ago

        i like the united states police force a lot.

      • profile image

        joseph  

        8 years ago

        i am joseph ogundipe a citizen of nigerian presently in nigeria. i wish to state my interest in joining the police in your country,i will like you to aquint me with all necessary infomations regarding how international can join the police.

        joseph

      • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

        Patty Inglish MS 

        8 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

        Thanks for all the comments. Police offcers, fire fighters and other service people are very important. Hats off to anyone that pursues these careers!

      • johnb0127 profile image

        johnb0127 

        8 years ago from TX

        Great hub!!

      • GlstngRosePetals profile image

        GlstngRosePetals 

        9 years ago from Wouldn't You Like To Know

        Hi I tried to become a Police Officer, the hardest part for me is getting over the wall. I really enjoyed reading your article, I hope you also check out my articles and enjoy them as much as I did yours.I have one article on there about being in love with a police officer.I'll be checking more on your articles I find them interesting.

      • profile image

        chanzeb 

        9 years ago

        i wish the join the deparment of police

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