How to Become a Police Officer in Idaho
Police work is a rewarding experience that allows one to experience may different thrilling events from fights and pursuits to assisting crime victims and helping people who are at their worst. Becoming a police officer in Idaho can be a great career. Idaho is a state that is popular for its outdoor recreation opportunities with its mountains, rivers and lakes. As of 2015 calculations, the population was 1,654,930.10 There are several prospects for those entering law enforcement careers in this attractive state.
Idaho Police Officer Requirements
The minimum requirements for police officers in Idaho are set by the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) council.6 The P.O.S.T Council’s members are representatives from law enforcement agencies within the state of Idaho appointed by the governor. The group’s purpose is to establish and enforce training, education and employment standards.
Although each department can set their own job requirements, the minimum requirements established by P.O.S.T. are:
- Be at least 21-years-old
- Be a United States Citizen
- Possess a high school diploma, G.E.D or equivalent
- If having prior military service, must be honorably discharged
- Valid Idaho driver’s license with a good driving record
- No felony convictions
- Misdemeanor convictions of any federal, state or local crime may be grounds for elimination. Especially any misdemeanor sex crime, crime of deceit, or drug offense within the past five years. A conviction of DUI within the past two years is a cause for rejection.
- Candidates must be fingerprinted and pass a comprehensive background investigation
Police Officer Testing in Idaho
The process of completing all the steps to become a police officer can take several months. There are multiple tests, evaluations, interviews and background investigations. The process usually starts with a written test that often covers reading comprehension, writing and mathematics, along with a critical attitude and personality assessment.
In Idaho, applicants for police officer and deputy sheriff positions must successfully pass a physical fitness test. The test covers a 300-meter run, vertical jump, push-ups, sit-ups and a one and a half mile run.12 Passing this test is required for acceptance into and upon graduation from the Idaho Peace Officers Standards & Training Law Enforcement Academy.
The screening also requires that a candidate go through at least one interview. After successfully completing these steps, psychological evaluation must be completed and a medical evaluation often follows. All departments must conduct a thorough background investigation.
Idaho Police Job Outlook
Many opportunities exist for police officers in the state of Idaho. The long-term occupational projections for police officers and sheriff deputies look promising for those hoping to enter law enforcement. Average annual openings of 1,050 are predicted during the period 2014-2024 with an annual average growth rate of 12.2%.11
Police officer pay is competitive, and most officers are fairly compensated. Police and sheriff patrol officers earn an average of $24.07 per hour and an average of $50,060 per year.13 People in the field of police work generally receive generous benefits that include medical, sick leave, paid holidays and paid vacation. Officers also usually are eligible for a valuable retirement plan.
Police Departments in Idaho
Idaho presents several opportunities for individuals hoping to get into police work. Police officer careers exist within city, county and state government.
Boise is the most populated city in Idaho. The Boise Police Department has approximately 300 sworn police officers, and the department has opportunities for specialty assignments and advancement opportunities. The department is a proponent of community policing and providing public service.
The Boise Police Department’s minimum requirements are: be at least 21-years-old by the date of hire, be and United States citizen, have 60 semester credits from a regionally accredited college or have a combination of prior military service with 30 semester credits.3 A P.O.S.T. Intermediate Certificate or and out-of-state Intermediate Certificate equivalent may be substituted for the college requirement.4
Candidates must pass a written exam, physical fitness test, interview, polygraph and background evaluation. The Boise Police also requires candidates to pass a psychological evaluation, meet their vision requirements, and pass a medical evaluation and drug screen.
County Sheriff Departments
Idaho has 44 counties, which are protected and served by sheriff deputies. Ada County is the most populated county in Idaho. The Ada County Sheriff’s Department requires their candidates to be a United States Citizen, be at least 21-years-old and possess a valid Idaho driver’s license. Sheriff patrol candidates must have 64 semester credits or an associate degree from a regionally accredited college or university, unless the applicant has two years of full time experience as a commissioned law enforcement officer or four years of full time military service.
After applying to the Ada County Sheriff’s department, those who pass the initial application screening must take the physical agility test and written exam. Upon passing those, candidates go through the oral board interview. Then a conditional offer of employment may be given. At that point, there will be a criminal records check, polygraph test, credit check, psychological examination and medical evaluation.2
The Ada County Sheriff’s Office conducts a thorough background investigation on prospective deputies. There are some automatic disqualifiers.1 Anyone with adult felony convictions and certain misdemeanor convictions will be disqualified. Items considered are DUI convictions, driver’s license suspensions, illegal drug use, sales, transporting or manufacturing. Smoking of tobacco products within the last three months is also grounds for elimination of an applicant. During the hiring process, candidates must not attempt to deceive, omit information or deliberately lie.
Idaho State Police
The Idaho State Police are responsible for enforcing traffic laws, investigating collisions, patrolling the state’s highways and assisting other local police agencies and sheriff’s offices with other law enforcement duties as needed.
Minimum Qualifications to be a trooper for the Idaho State Police:8
- Be a United States Citizen
- Have a high school diploma or G.E.D.
- Have at least two years of responsible work experience or attendance of at a school of higher learning after graduation from high school.
- Possess a valid driver’s license
- Pass a fingerprint clearance by the Idaho State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the FBI.
The Idaho State Police also has a drug policy of which applicants must meet the requirements. The department considers the frequency of use, quantity involved and the type of drug. Illegal drug use and prescription drug abuse are all considered. Candidates for the Idaho State Police must past a hearing test and meet vision standards.
All candidates must meet the physical fitness standards. Troopers’ job makes being physically fit a necessity; therefore, the state requires troopers to pass a physical fitness test during the hiring process and after employment on a semi-annual basis. The test consists of a vertical jump, sit-ups, push-ups and a timed run.
All probationary state police recruits must go through and pass the 20-week Idaho State Police Advanced Training Class.9 It is held in Meridian, Idaho at the Idaho State Police Training Complex. This course teaches the concepts and skills to be a successful trooper. Probationary recruits must then complete the field-training program, and all troopers receive continuing education over the course of their careers.
Idaho Police Academies
The Idaho P.O.S.T. Council has established that all peace officers must successfully complete a 10-week basic academy.5 The state of Idaho has one police academy located in Meridian, ID. There police recruits learn the basics of law enforcement: laws, firearms training, emergency vehicle operations and other skills necessary for police work.
Police recruits hired by a law enforcement agency are sponsored by their agency to attend the basic academy. At times, the Idaho basic police academy accepts self-sponsored students into the program.7 Check their website for availability of openings in the self-sponsored program.
The requirements to self-sponsored attendance the Idaho P.O.S.T. Academy are meeting the minimum P.O.S.T. police officer requirements mentioned above. Additionally, candidates must get a score of at least 75% on the Police Officer Selection test, pass a physical agility test, meet minimum vision and hearing standards.7 One must pass the required medical and psychological exams, pass a polygraph test and successfully complete a background investigation that includes work, criminal history, prior drug use, credit and reference checks.7
Another option for those who want to become police officers in Idaho is through a college program. There is a college self-sponsored academy program offered by the North Idaho College in Coer d’Alene, Idaho. This is a 13-week basic patrol academy. Certification as an Idaho patrol officer can similarly be obtained by attending one of three Idaho P.O.S.T certified college programs. For a college program, one must meet the requirements set by the school, and one must pass a criminal background check conducted by P.O.S.T.
- Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Careers: https://adasheriff.org/careers
- Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Hiring Process: https://adasheriff.org/Careers/Hiring-Process
- City of Boise, Boise Police Department Requirements: http://police.cityofboise.org/home/join-bpd/requirements/
- Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training, Frequently Asked Questions:https://www.post.idaho.gov/FAQ/FAQ.html
- Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training, Police Academy:https://www.post.idaho.gov/PatrAcad/Patrol.html
- Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training, Post Professional Standards:https://www.post.idaho.gov/ProfessionalStandards/ProfStandards.html
- Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training, Self-Sponsored Student Program:https://www.post.idaho.gov/SSStudents/SS_Student.html
- Idaho State Police Minimum Qualificationshttps://www.isp.idaho.gov/hr/trooper_info/qualifications.html
- Idaho State Police Training Program: https://www.isp.idaho.gov/hr/trooper_info/training.html
- Infoplease, Idaho: http://www.infoplease.com/us-states/idaho.html
- Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections:http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- Public Safety Testing, Idaho Physical Ability Test Requirements:https://www.publicsafetytesting.com/informationcenter/info/index/page/test-requirements-policesheriff-physical-id
- United States Department of labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Idaho: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_id.htm