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How to Become a Police Officer in Indiana

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Police officers in Indiana include members of the state police -- called troopers -- police in cities and towns, and officers at Indiana University. Most of these organizations have similar educational, physical and skill requirements for police officers. The Indiana State Police is the largest organization, and troopers may serve anywhere within the state. To become a police officer in Indiana, you must be a U.S. citizen, complete specific training and pass a background check and polygraph test.

Skills and Characteristics

Certain skills and characteristics are necessary to become a police officer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that these include communication and leadership skills, empathy, good judgment and perceptiveness. Law enforcement also requires physical stamina and strength. Some organizations in Indiana may have additional requirements. For example, Indiana University requires that its officers have the ability to establish rapport with juveniles. Police officers must also be able to observe and accurately record what they see and be emotionally and psychologically stable.

Education and Training

Police officers in Indiana need both basic education and specialized training to perform their jobs. A high school diploma or GED is the minimum educational requirement. Specialized training occurs at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.

The basic training course takes 600 hours. It includes instruction in criminal and traffic law, firearms, emergency vehicle operations, physical tactics and conditioning, domestic violence, crime prevention, and drugs and narcotics. Recruits also receive training in vehicle crash investigation and criminal investigation.

Indiana also offers a town marshal course of 300 hours plus 50 hours of home study, but those who take this program are only eligible to serve in towns with no more than one marshal and two deputy marshals.

Other Requirements

To become a police officer in Indiana, you must meet other requirements. All law enforcement organizations require that you be a citizen of the United States. You must be at least 21 years old when you complete the police academy or become an officer. Upper age limits vary -- troopers cannot be older than 40 when appointed. In Indianapolis, officers cannot be older than 36.

A valid driver’s license is necessary. You may need to meet physical requirements such as weight in proportion to height or visual standards. Indiana University cadets must be full-time students at the university with a GPA of at least 2.0. Students don't have to meet the U.S. citizenship requirement to become a cadet but must be citizens to become a police officer.

Testing and Hiring

Once you have met educational and other requirements, you must complete testing and hiring requirements. A background check is the norm for Indiana police officers. If you have a conviction for a felony or domestic violence, you won't be eligible to serve. Indianapolis requires that you pass a written examination and physical standards test. Psychological examinations are a requirement for Indianapolis and Indiana University police applicants. Drug screening is also typical, and a background investigation may also take place. You may also need to pass a polygraph examination.


Beth Greenwood is an RN and has been a writer since 2010. She specializes in medical and health topics, as well as career articles about health care professions. Greenwood holds an Associate of Science in nursing from Shasta College.

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