How to Become a Police Officer in Utah

Individuals who want to learn more about becoming a police officer in Utah should have realistic expectations regarding this position and be prepared to start at the bottom. Essentially, despite the fact that most cadets believe they will become a criminal detective once they finish the police academy, this is very unlikely to happen during the first few years on the job.

However, the good news is that in the end they will fulfill their dream of becoming a detective, but exclusively after they get those “street smarts” which only the experience on the job can provide. Let’s examine what the process of becoming a law enforcement officer entails.

Minimum requirements in Becoming a Police Officer in Utah

Utah legislation stipulates that in order to become law enforcement officers, interested candidates must first qualify for the police academy. The basic requirements that deem a candidate eligible for the police academy are not different from the ones required in the United States.

Therefore, the candidate must:

  • Be at least 21 years old at the time of appointment
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a driver’s license
  • Possess a clean criminal history background
  • Have a GED or high school diploma
  • Show that he is not using drugs (or has done so in the past 5 years)
  • Have a good moral character (not be accused of misdemeanors)
  • Be emotionally and mentally balanced

Immediate Dis-qualifiers

  • Does not possess U.S. citizenship.
  • A felony conviction (if the individual was convicted for a felony offense as a minor, their application might still be considered).
  • If found to have falsified the information entered in the POST application.

Potential Dis-qualifiers

  • Any misdemeanor conviction that involves unlawful sexual conduct, dishonesty and physical violence. A 4 year waiting period is required from the date of sentence or involvement.
  • Any involvement or conviction of a misdemeanor charge that is related to illegal drugs or substances. A 2 to 5 year waiting period is required from the date of sentence depending on the substance used.
  • A DUI conviction (for the 1st offense) or any other crime downgraded from a DUI charge. A 2 year waiting period is required from the date of sentence or involvement.
  • A dishonorable charge from the military.
  • A conviction of minor crimes except for traffic violations. A one year waiting period may be required depending on the severity of the criminal act.

Physical Fitness Requirements to Become a Police Officer in Utah

Besides the aforementioned criteria, applicants will need to successfully complete a physical fitness examination consisting of 5 tests:

  • 25 sit-ups performed in one minute or less
  • Vertical jumps (the candidate must be able to jump at least 15 inches off the ground)
  • Complete a 300 meter run in under 70 seconds
  • Finish a 1.5 mile run in approximately 15 minutes or less
  • 16 push-ups (even though there is no time constraint, the candidate will not be allowed to rest between push-ups)

Police Academy Training in the State of Utah

The Utah police academy training – as regulated by POST – mandates that cadets complete the two blocks in order to obtain certification. The two blocks imply a 5-week training in the Special Function program and 7 weeks of training in the Law Enforcement program. On a side note, these two blocks constitute a session and POST organizes 6 sessions every year.

Irrespective of the sessions cadets choose to enroll in, they will undergo courses on:

  • Firearms training
  • Basic training
  • Canine training
  • Curriculum development
  • Defensive tactics
  • Emergency vehicle operators
  • Physical fitness

Prerequisites for Police Certification

After graduating from the police academy, cadets will need to send a certification application for evaluation to the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training. It is important that the applicant follows the rules stipulated by POST, as not meeting all the prerequisites means they will not be certified.

Here is a list of the documents cadets need for applying for certification:

  • Basic application
  • 2″ x 2″ recent photos
  • Medical release
  • Driving record
  • Waiver of liability
  • Authorization to Release Information
  • GED/High School Diploma
  • Birth Certificate
  • Military DD-214
  • Entry Test Scores
  • Application for certification form

For more information on becoming a police officer in Utah, visit the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training website or call (801) 256-2300.

Click here to check out the various police officer jobs in Utah.

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