How to Become a Police Officer in Alabama

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Rising to the challenge of learning how to become a police officer in Alabama allows you to find a new side to yourself.

As an ALEA Trooper, you’ll have a new responsibility to protect the public and your community from potential threats.

You’ll first need to consider an assortment of requirements before you’re sworn in and can begin your new career.

Police Training in Alabama

The state of Alabama has a diverse number of policing opportunities for interested candidates.

With several job opportunities available, you can rise through the ranks to take on more senior roles.

Officers are granted several benefits for their service, which can make it an enticing opportunity.

Some of the most common benefits you’ll experience with these job opportunities include:

  • Subsistence pay (daily)
  • Paid leave benefits
  • Retirement plans
  • Worker’s compensation programs
  • Heath coverage

Above all else, the most significant benefit to becoming a police officer is that you’ll protect and serve your community.

With plenty of training under your belt, you’ll feel adequately prepared to handle several diverse situations.

Also, with more experience, you can apply for higher positions to experience significantly larger benefits, such as higher pay.

What Do You Need to Be a Police Officer in Alabama?

Many of the minimum requirements for becoming a police officer in Alabama are the same as in other jurisdictions.

You’ll need an assortment of things, including a medical examination, a background check, and prove their physical requirements.

Let’s take a look at the most prevalent requirements every prospective officer will need to consider.

What Age Can You Become a Cop in Alabama?

One of the most common questions before applying to be a police officer is what age you can start the process.

As expected, prospective law enforcement officers must be at least 21 years old before applying for a position.

With that said, Alabama doesn’t have a maximum age limit for applicants.

Residency, Education, and Licensing

When applying to become an officer of a specific jurisdiction, you’ll undoubtedly need to prove your residency.

Every applicant will need to be a citizen of the United States and own a valid Alabama driver’s license.

Regarding education, all law enforcement officers must have a high school diploma or GED.

Other educational requirements include an associate’s degree (or higher) from a college or university and a BAT (Basic Ability Test) Certification.

Every prospective officer must meet the ALEA and Alabama Peace Officer’s Standard and Training Commission requirements.

These requirements include an agility test as well as a physical ability test.

Background Checks

Undoubtedly, all police officers within a law enforcement agency will need to pass background checks.

What makes the state of Alabama unique is that they also require their officers to undergo polygraph tests.

If you’re interested in a law enforcement position, your background check cannot contain felonies or misdemeanors.

This includes ensuring your background doesn’t contain any charges or convictions for illegal drugs.

With the lie detector test, questions will be asked about your history and cross-referenced for accuracy.

You could also be required to provide additional information about previous employers to prove your moral character.

Occupational Availability

As with any employment opportunity, cops will be required to provide information on their availability.

With that said, likely, you won’t have much of a say in the hours you work in this profession.

Every applicant should be prepared to work 24 hours per day, seven days a week, including weekends and holidays.

Examinations and Screenings

The other essential tenet of applying to be a police officer is to undergo examinations and screenings.

Aside from pre-screening for misdemeanor convictions, these examinations can be a lengthy process.

You’ll be required to undergo a drug screen as well as a psychological evaluation if deemed necessary.

Medical examinations are also required to check your general health and physical qualifications.

These tests are typically required in all jurisdictions, including the Birmingham Police Department and Montgomery Police Department.

How to Become a Police Officer in Alabama

Another important aspect of being an officer in Alabama is to go through the training process.

There are many steps to ensure every candidate has ample experience before becoming an ALEA Trooper.

Let’s take a look at the training and hiring process for these professionals.

1. Apply

The very first thing you’ll need to do is apply for a prospective position within the ALEA.

During this process, your application will be forwarded to the department’s recruiting coordinators.

If accepted, the coordinator will contact you to arrange a questionnaire appointment.

Individuals who successfully complete the questionnaire can then move onto the pre-employment phase.

During pre-employment, you will be required to show evidence of your ample training and knowledge.

2. Physical Examination

The next step of the process is to go through a physical assessment and examination.

During this phase, you will be required to go through the PAAT (Physical Agility/Ability Test) assessment.

The PAAT includes the following:

  • Obstacle Course

Candidates will need to push a vehicle 15 feet as well as drag a 165-pound dummy 15 feet.

You will also be required to climb a six ft fence or wall, walk along a balance beam, and crawl through a small window.

All of these requirements must be passed within 90 seconds.

  • Perform 22 push-ups in 60 seconds
  • Complete 25 sit-ups in 60 seconds
  • Complete a 1.5 mile run in 15 minutes and 28 seconds

There’s likely to be additional training as well, which can include:

  • Defensive tactics
  • Combat training
  • Service training

3. Background Check

Once you have proven your physical agility, it’s now time to move onto the background packet.

This point is where the coordinator/recruiter will take a look into your history.

You will also be required to take a polygraph test to determine the validity of the information you’ve provided.

4. Psychological Examination

Every police officer must go through a psychological examination to determine their mental fitness.

During this process, you’ll work with a licensed psychologist to answer questions as well as have one-on-one interviews.

All of your answers are documented as support for your mental fitness to recommend admission to the department.

5. Trooper Academy Admission

Once you have finished the pre-check service training steps before joining the academy, your information is sent to a review board.

The review board goes over your qualifications, determining whether you’ll be a valuable contribution to the team.

If approved, you will then be granted admission to the ALEA Trooper, Trainee program.

In the Trooper Academy, you’ll go through further physical training as well as in-class instruction.

Recruits will also have access to real-world simulations, allowing you to apply your learned skills with service training.

Upon successful completion, you are then brought through the graduation process and can begin searching for employment.

How Long is Police Academy Alabama?

To begin your career in law enforcement in Alabama, expect to allocate 14 weeks of your time to training.

Your introductory course will be 560 hours in total, which is sufficient enough to ensure you have fundamental entry-level skills.

However, once you graduate from the police academy, your training will continue.

You’ll likely be on probation with the department for up to one year, working alongside a senior officer.

This officer will be responsible for assisting you to perform regular officer duties while grading your performance.

Once you prove your proficiency in the law enforcement community, you’ll then be able to perform standard officer-related duties independently.

What is a Police Officer Salary in Alabama?

As there is an assortment of tiers and positions for officers in Alabama, the salary expectations differ considerably.

As a general guideline, most Troopers earn between $34,387.20 and $57,504.00 annually.

Every individual will start at the bottom end of the scale until they garner more experience and education in their law enforcement community.

Most Troopers who have a two-year degree can expect to earn $35,256.00 to start.

With a four-year degree, your entry-level salary could be as high as $37,051.20.

Interestingly, your salary will begin as soon as you attend the Training Academy, rather than after graduation.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to become a police officer in Alabama is relatively simple, but the process can be arduous.

With intense physical requirements and plenty of classroom instruction, the Training Academy can be challenging.

Once you graduate, you’ll have all of the essential skills required for you to be a positive contribution to the department.

See also

Don’t forget to check out our articles about how to become a police officer in the following states:

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