There are various departments in the law enforcement body. They include the criminal investigation department (FBI), public safety department (state police, highway patrol police, capitol police, water police, campus police, state hospitals police, and game wardens), Sheriff’s department (county police), and municipal police department. The main responsibility of the police regardless of the department it is affiliated to is to maintain law and order in the society. The entire police departments, except the FBI, have similar recruitment procedure for their personnel. The recruitment process in the law enforcement body is usually done in bulk; that is, recruitment of large number of personnel is done in a single recruitment process.
The recruitment process of police officers starts by advertising the recruitment exercise through the media (Police Recruit Application and Selection Process, 2012). The concerned police department places an advert on one or more of the national newspapers, and attracts potential candidates to send their applications. Potential candidates are usually given a period of approximately one month to prepare their applications and send them to the headquarters of the concerned police department.
Once the applications are received, they are scrutinized to check whether the applicants meet the minimum qualifications. Minimum qualifications for an individual to join any of the police departments, apart from the FBI, are: one should be between the ages of 21 and 37, must have a high school graduation certificate or equivalent, be a citizen of the US with no criminal history, possess a valid driving license, and be in excellent physical health. However, age waivers are provided to individuals with previous work experience in a Federal civilian law enforcement body (Recruitment and Selection Process of Capitol Police, 2012). Those who meet the minimum qualifications proceed to the next stage of recruitment process, which is a written and physical agility test.
Written tests evaluate the IQ and analytical abilities of a candidate. Physical test entails checking the physical ability of the candidates. This is to evaluate whether a candidate would be physically ready to handle the responsibilities of police officers. Those candidates who pass the tests undergo medical examinations. The purpose of the medical examination is to ensure that the candidate does not have any medical issue that might prevent him/her from conducting the duties of a police officer. This includes ensuring a candidate meets the hearing and visual requirements of a police officer (Recruitment and Selection Process of Capitol Police, 2012). Candidates who pass this stage are hired into the police force. However, the placement is conditional, until an individual undertakes a full training course provided by the police departments in their designated institutions.
For the FBI police, the recruitment process also begins with advertisement of the recruitment process. Potential candidates then send their applications through online application or hand delivery. Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications are invited for written test and panel interview (FBI Police, 2012). Minimum qualifications for FBI police are: one must be at least 21 years, be a US citizen of good conduct, must possess a valid driving license, and be able to pass the FBI background investigation. In addition, an individual must meet the education requirement for the grade applied. An individual without any form of specialized education must possess a Bachelors degree in Police Science or its equivalent (FBI Police, 2012). Those who meet the minimum qualification requirements undergo written tests and panel interviews. This is to assess their IQ, problem solving, and reasoning capacities. Those who pass the written test and interviews are given conditional employment, which are confirmed once an individual undergoes the required FBI training.
Currently, the law enforcement body has adopted new recruiting trends, whereby candidates are required to send their applications online, as opposed to hand delivery to the respective departments or sending via post. This is an adaptation of the information technology in the recruitment process. The law enforcement body has networked its database with the database of other government agencies, including the department of registration of persons. This way, the law enforcement body is able to compare the bio-data information as well as education background provided by candidates. This trend has been successful because the law enforcers have been able to detect falsification of information, thus disqualifying candidates who try to give fake information. This trend has also been successful in assisting the various police departments to avoid hiring people who do not meet the minimum qualifications. It has also enabled them to avoid cases of nepotism and corruption in the recruitment process. Computerized verification of information has also enabled the various police department to avoid problems associated with human error during the recruitment process.
As earlier mentioned, candidates who successfully undergo the recruitment and selection process undergo training in designated law enforcement institutions. Here, the recruits undergo classroom-based kind of training, which takes between twelve and twenty-four months, but they still receive full salary (Police Recruit Application and Selection Process, 2012). The trainees are trained in areas such as criminal law, psychology, search and seizure, physical defense, police procedures, physical efficiency battery, and pass physical abilities tests, among others. Once they complete the training, the trainees graduate from the institutions. They are then sent to various stations where each is assigned a field-training officer. The field-training officer undertakes the police trainee through on-the-job training for a period of twelve weeks. After this, the officer is ready to undertake any of the police duties on his/her own.
However, for law enforcement officers, training does not stop here; they undergo continuous training throughout their careers as police officers. These include continual in-service training, public relations, physical fitness, and firearm adeptness training (Recruitment and Selection Process of Capitol Police, 2012). For the law enforcement personnel working in the FBI, they first undergo a normal training program known as Uniformed Police Training Program (UPTP) conducted at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. After graduating from FLETC, they attend specialized training at FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia. They also undertake continuous training programs in areas such as physical fitness, firearm proficiency, and public relations (FBI Police, 2012).