Austin Police Department Officer Requirements
Over 2,500 sworn officers and support personnel work for the Austin Police Department (APD), which services the 11th-largest city in the US.1 The APD’s mission is to keep individuals, families, and the greater Austin community safe by upholding the values of integrity, courage, accountability, respect, and ethics, embodied in the acronym “I CARE.” The APD’s community policing efforts include a uniquely intensive Citizen Police Academy and the annual Blue Santa program, as well as the real-time online crime reporting application Raids Online.
Steps to Becoming an APD Officer
- Meet the minimum qualifications for prospective officers (see below).
- Submit a police cadet interest card and background history statement.
- Once contacted by the department, schedule and complete the physical exam, a reading test, and psychological screening.
- Attend a formal interview with representatives from the APD.
- Undergo a background investigation and polygraph exam.
- Accept conditional hire as a recruit and attend an orientation session.
- Complete officer recruit training at the Austin Police Academy.
- Begin working as an officer with the APD.
How to Become an Austin, Texas Police Officer
There are numerous steps in the Austin Police Department hiring process, the first of which is to fill out an interest card and provide a background history. The next step is two days of Phase 1 testing, which starts with a day of exams including a physical fitness test, reading comprehension test, and psychological questionnaire. On the second day, candidates complete a formal interview in front of a board of current Austin police officers. The next stage for those who pass Phase 1 testing is a background investigation and Phase 2 testing, which includes a polygraph exam, psychological interview, and medical/ physical assessment. Accepted applicants will be given a conditional hire offer and attend the Austin Police Academy for training.
Austin Police Officer Job Description
All new officers are assigned to road patrol for at least the first two years of employment, after which they may be eligible to transfer to other divisions. The duties of a road patrol unit include patrolling one of nine sectors of the city, maintaining order, enforcing laws and ordinances, making arrests, and enforcing traffic codes. Officers also conduct preliminary investigations, participate in community policing efforts, and respond to service calls.
Austin Police Officer Training, Prerequisites, and Education Requirements
To become an Austin police officer, a candidate must be a US citizen, have a valid driver’s license, and be between the ages of 21 and 46 by the time he or she enters the police academy. Candidates must also meet the department’s physical and health requirements, have a clean criminal history, and have a responsible driving record. Prospective officers will also have their credit histories evaluated on a case-by-case basis; the department seeks candidates who have a stable and responsible financial background.
Once hired, recruits attend the Austin Police Academy, an eight-month training program that incorporates physical conditioning as well as academic work. Topics include state and federal laws, how to conduct lawful search and seizure, firearms, ethics, and emergency vehicle operations, along with many others. Academy graduates will then complete 12 additional weeks of field training.
Austin Police Officer Salary and Job Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, sworn police officers in Austin earn an annual mean salary of $68,410.2 During academy training, a cadet will make a salary of $40,000 per year and will have options for insurance coverage.3 After graduating from the academy, an officer’s salary is raised to $65,850 per year, with regular step increases thereafter.3 The Austin Police Department offers several options for officers to increase their pay through incentives for fluency in a second language, working evening/night shifts, and/or earning a bachelor’s degree. About 3,870 police officers worked in the greater Austin metro area as of 2015.2
Austin Police Department
715 E 8th St
Austin, TX 78701
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: When does the Austin Police Department hire new applicants?
Answer: The APD accepts applications on an ongoing basis. Qualified applicants are hired for academy start dates in March and November of each year.
Question: How much do Austin police officers make?
Answer: The average annual salary for police officers in Austin is $68,410.2 However, longevity and special skills can increase an officer’s salary. The base salary for officers with six years of experience is $77,766, which with regular increases reaches $95,270 after 16 years of service.3 Incentives are also offered for holding a college degree, working shifts that start after 2 PM, and/or becoming certified as a crisis intervention officer.
Question: What career paths are there for Austin police officers?
Answer: All new officers must work two years in patrol before becoming eligible for special duties or promotion, and there are a wide variety of opportunities within the APD for career officers. These include posts with such units as the air enforcement team, motorcycle unit, metro-tactical unit, homeland defense team, or fugitive apprehension unit, as well as promotion to supervisory ranks.
1. Austin Police Department: http://www.austintexas.gov/page/apd-administration
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Austin: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_12420.htm
3. Austin Police Department Recruiting: http://www.austintexas.gov/page/benefits-and-salary