Steps to Become a Police Officer in Tennessee – Requirements to Become a Cop
How to Become a Police Officer in Tennessee
All police officers in Tennessee are certified by the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Commission. POST not only establishes the requirements to be a peace officer in the state, but also the training required before certification.
Requirements & Disqualifying Factors
Minimum standards established by POST are U.S. citizenship and age no younger than 18 years old. All candidates must have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent, and not have been convicted or pleaded no contest to any felony charge or any violation relating to force, violence, theft, dishonesty, gambling, liquor or any alcoholic beverage, or controlled substances.
Any candidate who has served in the U.S. armed services must have been discharged under honorable conditions. Any discharge less than honorable disqualifies certification as a peace officer in Tennessee.
The Application/Hiring Process
The state has published a complete list of requirements to become a police officer Here. In addition to the above, the requirements include being fingerprinted for a background check, and passing physical and psychological examinations.
Individuals who meet the minimum requirements and who are hired by a police agency must complete the POST Basic Law Enforcement Training Course within six months of being employed at a Tennessee POST certified school.
There are a number around the state, including the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy in Nashville. Training will be arranged through the department that has hired the new officer. Links to Tennessee police departments can be found here:
Police Training Academy Standards
Basic Training requirements can be found at here. This course was set up by Tennessee POST and all POST certified schools must follow this curriculum that includes 40 hours of firearms training, 10 hours of emergency medical training and 25 hours of interpersonal communications.
In addition the course requires three hours of professional and ethical conduct training, 40 hours of physical defense tactics, 50 hours of criminal and Constitutional law and Procedures, 10 hours of written communications training.
Trainees also must take 30 hours of course work in human relations, 11 hours about the criminal justice system, nine hours on law enforcement stress, and 40 hours of emergency vehicle operations.
The entire course is 400 hours and will include physical fitness training that will involve push-ups, sit-ups and running two miles in 18 minutes or less. These are the minimum physical fitness standards and depending on the institution attended, physical fitness requirements may vary.
All, however, will require students to demonstrate ability to physically control suspects, go into various unarmed self defensive tactics, and physically control the emotionally disturbed, all of which will require a high-degree of physical capability on the part of the new officer.
Average Salary For Cops in Tennessee
According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics (2010), a police officer in the state of Tennessee makes between $39,450 – $43,220 per year. However the data collected by BLS is not very accurate because it does not record overtime pay or off duty work like private security work, special assignments and etc. These factors, if included in the data, would drastically increase the average salary of a police officer in TN.
Police Jobs in TN
There are several law enforcement job openings in Tennessee. Simply visit our Career Job Opening or go to the official website of the agency you are interested in to complete an application of employment. Below is a list of law enforcement agencies in the state of TN.