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Tips for Preparing for the Police Academy

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Becoming a police officer requires extensive training usually completed through a local or state police academy. Police officer candidates typically complete both physical and classroom training. Police officer candidates can prepare for the academy training.

Physical Training

Police officers typically have to meet minimum physical standards to qualify for a position on the force. Topend Sports Network notes the various training requirements for police departments in both the U.S. and elsewhere. These vary greatly by location, but each applicant can check with their local law enforcement agency to determine exact requirements and create a training plan. For instance, male applicants under age 29 in Akron, Ohio, must be able to do 40 sit-ups in one minute, 33 push-ups in a minute and a 1.5 mile run in 11 minutes and 58 seconds, or less.

Doing several sets up timed push-ups and sit-ups every other day while doing a timed run on the days in between is an effective way to train for such requirements.

Psychological Preparation

Training at the police academy can be similar to basic training in the military at times. An article by "Criminal Justice Salary" noted that in the first few weeks of police academy training, instructors may try to psychologically break down cadets to make them mentally strong. Mentally prepared for this psychological shellacking.Doing mental visualization every day is one way to prepare. Spend 10 to 15 minutes visualizing the way you may be spoken to by a drill sergeant and imagine yourself responding in a positive and disciplined manner.

The Napa Valley Criminal Justice Training Center notes that law enforcement training is largely about discipline. Applicants can mentally train by spending several weeks in self-reflection and self-discipline. For example, someone who likes junk food might abstain from eating any as a way to discipline the mind. Taking courses in karate or other martial arts disciplines is yet another way to learn discipline and self-control.

Legal Preparation

Part of the training that police officers receive at the police academy is coursework in the legal aspects of a career in law enforcement. If you have time, take an online class through a community college or online school. Take courses in introductory criminal justice and criminology, criminal law, criminalistics and criminal procedures, interrogation, patrol techniques, law enforcement vehicle operation and custody and control of criminals.

Firearms Training

Another focus of police academy training is firearms and marksmanship. One way to prepare for this in advance is to take a basic firearms safety course and take regular target practice at a local firing range.


Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.

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