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What skills should I work on going into the police academy after gradation?

I understand that I should be capable in the physical sense of the job, but I wanted to know if there are any skills required for better consideration of the position? #police-academy

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Kim’s Answer

This is a really good question, Miranda! I think probably the skills you will use the most are the ability to talk to people, ask them questions, get the facts (and get them right!) and write reports. Really good reports, that will stand up to the scrutiny of attorneys if the case goes to trial. You will also need to be able to be observant - so perhaps as you are driving down the highway, ask yourself, "what kind of car just went by? what color was it? How many people were in it? Which seats were they in?" or work on being able to describe peoples' physical appearance, and what they are wearing. Some PDs use an entrance test where you look at a picture for a minute, and then answer questions about it. (what time did the clock on the wall say?) You should be able to find some examples on-line.

Beyond those, I encourage you to work on taking control, making decisions, sticking to those decisions, being able to justify them after the fact, and delegating. It was not uncommon for me to have to tell senior officers what to do, if I was the primary officer handling a particular call ("Hey, cuff that guy and put him in my car." )Law enforcement depends on teamwork. Even if you don't get along with someone, you still have to work well together. Being involved in sports could help to show that you have this skill. When you first get to a call, and are trying to get to the bottom of what happened, the various people there will start telling you how you are making a mistake and they're going to file charges on you, etc etc etc. You need to be able to listen, very selectively, to what they are saying, but tune out all the stuff that makes you second guess your judgment. Also, you need to be able to accept responsibility for your actions, right or wrong. You will also want to practice job interview skills. PDs use a review board, with several people on it. Boards can be very intimidating.

Law enforcement is an exciting career field, and I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve as an officer. I encourage you to look into getting into a citizens police academy, or some other similar program where you have the opportunity to ride-out on patrol. It's important to have a true understanding of the nature of the job - I have yet to see a TV show or movie that really portrays it as it is!

Let me know if you have any other questions!

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