Charlotte Police Department Officer Requirements

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) works to build a spirit of partnership with its community in order to reduce crime, increase safety, and improve the quality of life in the Charlotte metropolitan area. Over 1,800 sworn officers work for the CMPD, which has a jurisdiction that covers 438 square miles and a population of over 847,000 people.1 There are four major service bureaus within the CMPD. The department's 13 patrol divisions are housed within the Field Services Bureau.

Steps to Becoming a CMPD Officer

  1. Meet the minimum qualifications for prospective officers (see below).
  2. Complete an online application.
  3. Pass the written and physical abilities tests.
  4. Complete a formal interview.
  5. Pass the psychological screening.
  6. Complete a background investigation and polygraph examination.
  7. Attend an interview with a command staff member.
  8. Pass a medical evaluation and drug screen.
  9. Complete police academy training.
  10. Complete 14 weeks of field training.
  11. Begin working as an officer with the CMPD.

How to Become a Charlotte, North Carolina Police Officer

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department requires applicants to complete a competitive hiring process. This process starts with an online application, a written test, and a physical abilities test. Applicants who pass the first stages of screening will be invited to a formal interview, after which they will complete the second phase of testing. This second phase consists of a psychological screening, background investigation, and polygraph test. Next, applicants complete a second formal interview with a command staff member. Applicants invited to the final stage of the hiring process will need to pass a medical exam as well as a drug screening before beginning police academy training.

Charlotte Police Officer Job Description

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is the largest metropolitan police department between Washington DC and Atlanta, Georgia.1 After graduating from the police academy, newly sworn officers are placed in a patrol unit. The duties of a road patrol unit include patrolling, maintaining order, enforcing laws and ordinances, making arrests, and enforcing traffic codes. The department provides its officers with advanced law enforcement tools such as laptops, license plate readers, and in-car and body-worn cameras.

Charlotte Police Officer Training, Prerequisites, and Education Requirements

To become a Charlotte police officer, candidates must reside within 45 miles of CMPD headquarters, be a US citizen at least 21 years of age, have a high school diploma or a GED, and have a valid driver's license with at least two years of driving experience. Candidates must pass all stages of the hiring process outlined above in order to be accepted as recruits and attend police academy training. Although a college education is not required to become a CMPD officer, applicants who have at least an associate's degree typically have an edge in the competitive hiring process.

Successful candidates are conditionally hired as police recruits and attend training at the CMPD Training Academy. The academy is approximately 22 weeks long and includes 903 hours of training. In addition to completing physical training, recruits will complete academic modules focused on laws and procedures, cultural diversity, effective communication, and computer proficiency. Academy graduates then complete 14 weeks of field training before beginning to work independently as Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers.

Charlotte Police Officer Salary and Job Outlook

A Charlotte police officer's entry-level pay is $42,009 per year.1 Officers with an associate's degree earn an additional 5% of their base salary per year, whereas bachelor's degree program graduates will receive 10% above the base salary for their pay grade.2 All officers receive paid life insurance, health insurance, vacation, and holiday pay, as well as retirement benefits and tuition reimbursement for qualifying programs. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 5,950 police and sheriff's patrol officers in the Charlotte metropolitan area, with an average annual salary of $47,400.2

Contact Information

Twitter: @CMPD_newsroom

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
601 E Trade St
Charlotte, NC 28202

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How do you become a police officer in Charlotte?

Answer: Applicants to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, colloquially known as the CharMeck PD, must meet the department's minimum hiring standards and complete police academy training in order to become sworn officers. The minimum age for prospective Charlotte police officers is 21, and it is recommended that candidates consider earning at least an associate's degree before applying.

Question: How much do Charlotte police officers make?

Answer: The base salary for newly sworn CMPD officers is $42,009 per year.1 Officers earn annual step increases based on longevity and can increase their pay by earning a college degree, working overtime, or qualifying for various incentive programs, such as bilingual pay differentials.

Question: Can I apply to the Charlotte PD if I am still in college?

Answer: While all sworn officers must be 21 years of age, the Charlotte PD runs a college cadet program for well-qualified students who are currently enrolled at a local college. This paid position prepares future recruits for police work and can count towards internship credit. See the CMPD website for more information and to apply.

1. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department:
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Charlotte:

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