Selection and Recruitment for Police Officers

Selection and recruitment processes for police officers are an integral part of the law enforcement system. Since police officers play an extremely important role in ensuring public safety and welfare, significant emphasis is being placed on the career requirements in the police force. Although hiring standards and procedures used in different law enforcement agencies in the U.S. can differ to some extent, there are certain aspects implemented by all of them.

In terms of skills and abilities required, considerable attention is paid to the characteristics exhibited by a police applicant in terms of public service, communication, and conflict resolution. Contrary to the common perception, the large majority of calls responded by the police officers are not crime-related but rather require interactions with civilians (Grant & Terry, 2016). Therefore, some core competencies for police officers include the abilities to evaluate the situation, identify problems, develop solutions, multitask, take responsibility, as well as demonstrate courage and confidence. In addition, law enforcement officers have to be capable of showing empathy and compassion, acting in a dynamic and resourceful manner, demonstrating initiative, and engaging in collaborative work (Grant & Terry, 2016). Since all of these skills and abilities can be developed through personal and professional experience, police applicants can be recommended to volunteer in their local law enforcement departments or attend related training courses.

As mentioned above, the majority of police agencies currently have similar recruitment standards. The hiring sequence established by most departments consists of a number of steps that applicants have to follow to be recruited in the police. The initial step is completing an application that includes a basic questionnaire, which allows establishing applicants’ general eligibility and level of interest (Grant & Terry, 2016). If the review of the applicant’s answers shows satisfactory results, they are invited to take an entrance exam, which is a standardized test of general reading and writing comprehension, attention, memory, and problem-solving abilities. This step is followed by a video exam, during which applicants are presented with a case scenario that they have to analyze verbally. The responses are then used to evaluate applicants’ judgement and interaction skills.

After that, candidates are generally expected to take a physical fitness test that allows to assess their endurance, strength, and health level. Background investigation is another important aspect of the recruitment process; it allows ensuring that there are no issues that could preclude the candidate from service in the police force (Grant & Terry, 2016). Similar reasons justify medical, psychological, and drug testing, the specific types of which can vary depending on the agency. Many departments also use a polygraph test to verify the information provided by the applicants during the recruitment process. Finally, candidates are invited for a personal interview, where their communication skills, responses to the questions, and general understanding are assessed directly by the members of the police department.

It can be concluded that current recruitment standards for police officers are not too difficult. It may seem that there are many steps in this process, and that passing all the stages successfully is quite challenging for an individual with no particular experience in law enforcement work. However, considering the seriousness of the roles and responsibilities police officers have in today’s world, it can be argued that these hiring standards are reasonable and justified. Thus, I believe that there are no changes that need to be introduced into the selection and recruitment structure.


Grant, H. B., & Terry, K. J. (2016). Law enforcement in the 21st century. Pearson.

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DemoEssays. "Selection and Recruitment for Police Officers." March 16, 2023.