Montana Law Enforcement Academy

2260 Sierra Road East, Helena, MT 59602

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy is the premier law enforcement and public safety educational and training institution for state, county, city and tribal officers throughout the state. The mission of…


Phone: 406-444-9950

Police work is nothing like the movies. A lot of people fall in love with the idea of becoming a police officer from watching television shows and movies. However in all reality police work is very hard work.

Police officers have to have a lot of integrity and bravery, remember as the old saying goes; police officers run to, what you run from.

So in reality once you get past the allure, why does a person want to become a police officer in Montana?

In most cases people are becoming police officers, because they want to make a difference.

How can they make a difference?

Well most officers will tell you they can make a difference by just taking of their sectors. One step at a time, one neighborhood at a time.

Future Outlook

Now if you are thinking about becoming a police officer in Montana, then you will be glad to know that job growth for Montana police departments is looking good for the future. Montana has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the United States and one of the growing states, seeing their population grow at about 10%. All that means, police departments will be hiring police officers, and a police officer can look at making an annual salary of about $50,000, which is certainly not too bad.

Minimum Requirements And Examinations

Now if a person has hopes and dreams of becoming a police officer there is certain minimum requirements a candidate must meet to be considered for hire. First, they must be a United States citizen. Second, they must be at least 18 years old. Third, they must have a high school diploma or GED. Now if a candidate has some college credits, or a college degree, that will give them a little advantage over those who do not.

Now if a candidate meets those requirements, then they can look forward to having certain examinations they will need to pass. A potential candidate will have to pass a medical examination. The reason that is important is departments want to make sure the potential candidate is in general good health. They will also have to pass a physical fitness test, to show they are capable of handling the physical parts of the job, and also the very hard training of the police academy. They will also have to take a written examination which will include math, reading and writing.

Background Investigation

Now as the candidate moves through the process, the department will do a background investigation. This is where they will learn all about you and see if you are a good fit for their police department. They will do a fingerprint check to see if you have a criminal history, they will also look at your drug screening, to make sure you have no addiction issues. They will check all the credentials that you supplied to make sure that they are valid. They will also talk to past employers, co-workers, family, neighbors and references that you will provide. At that point they will put all the pieces together and provide to the hiring supervisor their findings. At that point they will determine whether or not to have you come in for an interview. In some cases you may need to go through an oral board or polygraph as well.

Academy Life

Now if a candidate makes it through this part of the process, then more then likely they wil, go through a certified police academy. In real life, the police academy is nothing like the movie. You can expect to be pushed harder then you ever have been pushed before. The drill instructors will break you all the way down and humble you, and then build you back up. A wise recruit will start his physical training before he gets in the academy so he does not kill themselves in the academy.

You can expect to do physical training, and the physical training will be very hard. They know the job you are applying for is very physically demanding. You can look forward to doing a lot of running, push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, leg lifts and other intense workouts.

Along with physical training, you will also go through classroom training, on things like the state criminal and traffic codes. Knowing your codes is vital to your job, because you need to know what charges fit what crime. In the classroom you will also learn about Miranda warnings, report writing and rules for stop and frisk.

Now outside the classroom a recruit will learn proper ways to handcuff a suspect, proper ways to search a suspect for drugs and weapons. Now you will also go on training exercises like courtroom procedures. There is a certain courtroom demeanor that all officers must follow.

Now two of the most popular training classes are firearms training and defensive driving. Now the firearms training will take place at the shooting range. The firearms instructor will teach the candidate how to take apart your firearm and put it back together. They will also teach you how to clean your firearm as well. Now of course you will be taught marksmanship, and combat shooting techniques as well. Lately but probably the most important thing they will teach you is when to shoot and when not to shoot.

Now another fun course of training is defensive driving. When a recruit gets to sit under the steering wheel and gets to turn on the lights and siren, it is a fun feeling. All recruits should have valid drivers license when they enter the academy but high speed driving is something altogether different, because there is different obstacles that may pop up, that you may not be looking for. You will have to drive through an obstacle course, and they will teach you how to position your vehicle for safety. They will also teach you when to do pursuit driving and when not, because every time an officer engages in a pursuit, they put themselves and other drivers at risk.

Post Graduation

Now once a recruit graduates the academy, then the hard work kicks in. A rookie police officer will also go through field training, with a veteran police officer. Now a field training officer goes through classes to become a field training officer. Their job is to teach the rookie how to apply what they learned in the academy to the streets. Now after a rookie comes off field training, then they will be on their own.

This is when the rookie officer gets a chance to show what they are capable of. An officer can start to think abut their future, and their retirement. All officers should think about moving up in rank,and by moving up in rank they can move up,in pay rate. Another great thing about police work is that an officer can have the opportunity to work in different specialized units, like community policing, detectives, major crimes, narcotics and other units. Police work has a vast array of opportunities and now is a great time to become a police officer in Montana.

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