Columbus Police Department Officer Requirements
Over 1,800 sworn officers and 300 support personnel work for the Columbus Police Department.1 The department’s focus is on increasing safety in Columbus while treating residents with respect and fairness. The Columbus Police Department is also increasing its efforts on community policing with regular “Connecting Columbus with Dialogue” community meetings, citizen ride-alongs, and other programs.
Steps to Becoming a Columbus PD Officer
- Meet the minimum qualifications for prospective officers (see below).
- Complete an online application and personal history questionnaire.
- Take the civil service exam for entry-level police officers.
- Complete a pre-interview and background investigation, including a polygraph exam.
- Complete an interview with an oral review board.
- Accept conditional appointment as a police recruit.
- Pass a supplemental background check, which includes a second polygraph exam regarding drug use.
- Pass the medical exam and psychological screening.
- Complete the Columbus Recruit Training Program.
- Complete 15 weeks of field training.
- Begin working independently as a Columbus police officer.
How to Become a Columbus, Ohio Police Officer
The first step to becoming a Columbus police officer is to file an application with the Columbus Civil Service Commission. Once the commission approves the application, the candidate will be contacted to schedule and take the four-part civil service test. How well the recruit does on the exam determines where he or she will be placed on the eligibility list; the applicants with the highest scores receive priority.
Applicants who are accepted to the next stage must undergo a complete background check as well as provide pictures and fingerprints. The applicant will then take a polygraph exam. Those still in the recruiting pool at this time will complete an oral interview with a board of three veteran officers. Accepted recruits will be conditionally appointed, pending a secondary background check as well as psychological and medical evaluations. Recruits will then be placed in the Recruit Training Program at the Columbus Police Academy. A ride-along is required prior to the start of Academy training. To start the process, candidates should go to the department’s recruiting website.
Columbus Police Officer Job Description
Columbus police officers uphold the law, serve and protect citizens, and work to ensure public safety. Officers patrol their beats and maintain public order. There are various divisions within the department, including patrol, SWAT, narcotics, and K9 units, that work together to keep the peace. Police officers in Columbus are expected to uphold the department’s core values, which are expressed in the acronym PRIDE: professionalism, respect, integrity, discipline, and enthusiasm.
Columbus Police Officer Training, Prerequisites, and Education Requirements
The minimum education requirement to become a Columbus police officer is a high school diploma or GED. An applicant must also be a US citizen, have a valid driver’s license, and be 21 years of age by the time he or she graduates from the Columbus Police Academy. Applicants must pass all stages of the hiring process to be conditionally hired as police recruits.
Once accepted into the police academy, recruits will complete a six-month training program. The academy covers a variety of topics including criminal law, emergency vehicle operations, gang activity, defense tactics, firearms training, search and seizure, and rules of evidence. The Columbus Police Academy curriculum also includes intense physical conditioning. Recruits must continue to meet performance and academic standards throughout the academy, and are on probationary status for one year from the start of training.
Columbus Police Officer Salary and Job Outlook
Police officers in Columbus earn an average annual salary of $66,050.2 As recruits, officers draw an annual salary of $53,934, which is increased to $56,576 after one year, with additional step increases thereafter.1 Officers are also eligible for benefits such as tuition reimbursement, health insurance, and paid leave for vacation and holidays. After three years with the department, an officer may take the sergeant’s exam to become eligible for promotion to supervisory ranks.
Columbus Police Department
120 Marconi Blvd
Columbus, OH 43215
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is the average police officer salary in Columbus?
Answer: The average police officer salary in Columbus is $66,050.2 Entry-level officers make $56,576 after their first year, $59,446 after two years, $70,990 after three years, and $82,576 after four years.1
Question: What can I do to increase my competitiveness when applying to become a Columbus police officer?
Answer: The Columbus Police Department offers several preparation programs for prospective recruits, including police seminars and fitness programs. Visit the department’s website to learn more.
Question: Do I have to live in Columbus to be a police officer in the city?
Answer: No. While US citizenship is a requirement, currently Columbus does not require applicants for police officer positions to be residents of the city.
1. Columbus Police Department: https://www.columbus.gov/police/
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Columbus, Ohio: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_18140.htm