How To Become A Police K9 Officer

Many people who have an interest in both law enforcement and animals find themselves attracted to the work of K-9 police officers. Law enforcement canine units are among the most coveted slots in police agencies, but just how do you become such an officer? Are there special requirements and training to consider?

STEP 1 : Obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent. Most law enforcement agencies require at least a high school diploma and some even require or prefer some college education like an Associate or Bachelor’s degree.

STEP 2: Check with the law enforcement agencies in your area about the physical requirements for basic police recruitment. These requirements can vary from one locality to another and from state to sate. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and in many communities, must meet some minimum requirements for height, weight, eyesight, and hearing. Rigorous physical exams are sometimes required. You should make sure the agency for which you apply has a police dog unit in its division before you decide to apply for the agency.

STEP 3: Check with law enforcement in your area for the training and testing requirements specific to those agencies. Generally, applicants must pass written tests measuring analytical skills. Background checks are also required. Recruits  must attend police academies for classroom training and if they pass all tests (including a civil service test), train with a senior officer for a period of time (usually several months).

STEP 4: You will spend three to five years minimum and sometimes longer (depending upon the jurisdiction) in regular uniformed officer duties before you’ll be able to apply for the K-9 unit. Preference for special units like a K-9 is usually given to officers with high performance ratings and commendations. So you must perform well in your job; it will assist your future K-9 application.

STEP 5: Donate your time to work with K-9s in training, apart from your regular officer duties. Get to know the current officers in that division. This will give you an edge when it comes time to apply for open K-9 officer positions.

STEP 6: Apply for K-9 officer positions when they become available and when you meet the minimum requirements in your agency. Be aware these positions will require additional training.

STEP 7: Spend time training with your new canine partner. The length and type of training will again vary from one agency to another. For instance, in Oregon, handler and canines have to complete a minimum of 400 hours of basic training and pass the Oregon Police Canine Association Standards.

Read more: How to Become a K-9 Police Officer |