Serving the State of Louisiana as a Police Officer
The boot that is Louisiana is full of tradition and unique communities. From New Orleans, The Big Easy, to Baton Rouge the home of the Louisiana State Tigers, spirit and liveliness rises from every corner of the state.
If someone wanted to serve a region full of music, culture, and appreciation, pick a parish or town in Louisiana.
In the state of Louisiana, a person must be hired before their attending a state-approved police academy. They must find a department that has determined them able to participate and serve within their given community.
Requirements differ from department to department, such as Louisiana Highway Patrol, Sheriff Offices, and Municipal Police Departments.
For the Louisiana Highway Patrol, one must be a U.S.citizen of at least twenty-one years of age. They also require working post graduation as a peace officer, sixty hours of college education, or three years of active service of military duty. They must be of a good moral character and pass a thorough background check and drug testing. These tests may include blood, saliva, and hair follicles. Louisiana Highway Patrol has a particular written test they give as well as a stringent agility test. Also required is a valid driver’s license and clean driving history. At the end of the process, there is a paneled interview of high-ranking officers to test a candidate’s ability to think on their feet and face stressful situations.
The written test is a pass/fail exam. The Louisiana Highway Patrol will get back to the potential within 4-6 weeks. They will receive a letter advising whether they passed or failed. In the event of passing, a package and instructions for the next steps are also delivered. Upon failure, a letter is sent with potential retesting dates. Most departments comply to same standards.
As with any department, one would apply to in Louisiana; a physical agility test will is delivered to every candidate. Requirements range depending on the department, however, the highest standard, the Lousiana Highway Patrol requires three physical assessments. The three tests of physical ability are pushups, situps, and 1.5 miles. Most departments have a scale that is also candidate-age related in the minimum required.
Once the agility and written tests have a passed score, the next step in most cases is going to be an oral interview. This interview is conducted face-to-face and will consist of high ranking officers within the department as well as elected officials. This oral exam is to ensure quality and the ability of one to think on their feet and under duress.
Some agencies within Louisana will deliver a polygraph test either before or after the panel interview. Before, after, and during the polygraph portion of the testing, any Louisiana law enforcement agency has the right to do thorough background checks. This in-depth look at a candidate’s life includes interviewing family, friends, ex-employers, and even school teachers or college professors. This investigation is done to ensure moral and ethical character. The polygraph is to back up the information gathered as well as fundamental questions of drug use and ethical work behaviors.
Lastly, there is a series of psychological exams, physical check-ups, and drug testing. Each department may approach these different ways. The Louisiana Highway Patrol has medically licensed employees on staff to evaluate their candidates. That is likely not the case in most communities. It will be a departmentally specified series of doctors and pathology labs. During these exams, the physical will conclude with another check of the agility qualifications.
Not allowing the daunting testing process overwhelm is a sign of strength and drive to serve the state of Louisiana and the parishes within it. Letters of the intent of candidacy are mailed out once processed through the series of checks and balances, and the Academy is next.
Curriculum & Out of State Transfers
Louisana Police Academies can differ in length and focus depending on what department a potential police officer has applied to become employed. The core curriculum still bases itself around firearm training, driving training (which the department supplies the vehicle for), report writing, basic knowledge in law as well as hand to hand, Traser, and pepper spray usage.
Out-of-state transfers may be eligible for certification if they meet the following requirements; if they can present a valid out-of-state Police Officer certificate of training, complete the Louisiana Law Enforcement Basic Training Manual, “Legal Aspects” Section, and Firearms section and qualify with their firearms in the state of Louisiana, and pass the statewide exam for peace officers with a minimum score of 70%.
Pay & Compensation
The average annual wage for police and sheriff’s patrol officers is $39,400 for officers in Louisiana, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For example, the largest police department in the State, The New Orleans Police Department, begins recruiting at $48,000 to $51,000 Annually depending on education level. They are nearly always looking for candidates to join their team. New Orleans Police Department also offers dental, vision, and health insurance along with a state-sponsored retirement fund. New Orleans, as a Patrol Officer, provides many opportunities to grow into a specialized unit like Detective, Investigator, Forensics, or K9 unit.
The mission of the New Orleans Police Department is to provide professional police services to the public to maintain order and protect life and property. They are committed to the philosophy of Community Oriented Policing. Most departments in Louisiana holds the same mission statement.
Whether serving a rural area of Louisiana or the Big Easy, the culture, local color, and community-focus give a Peace Officer a chance to not only protect law and order but also to be a part of communities of appreciation that give back with their Southern gratitude. Regardless of transfer from another state or starting out, Louisiana is always in search for like-minded Officers to serve.