All law enforcement officers must be properly trained before they officially begin employment as a law enforcement officer. Some law enforcement agencies hire an applicant and then send him or her to a specific law enforcement training center at the cost of the agency. Many others, however, expect applicants to have already completed the required training before applying for a position. When selecting a law enforcement training center, accreditation, post-graduation employment rates, and first-hand recommendation from local law enforcement agencies should be considered before making a decision.
A law enforcement officer must be trained in a number of critical areas before "hitting the streets." Most law enforcement training programs train the students in firearms and basic laws, as well as psychology and investigative techniques among other subjects. Choosing the appropriate law enforcement training center could be the difference between receiving an offer of employment or not.
When searching for a law enforcement training center, accreditation is very important. There are a variety of state and federal accreditation options within the United States, such as the Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation (FLETA), as well as many state agencies. When a prospective student is researching programs, one of the first questions that should be asked is whether or not the program is accredited and by whom.
Another way to gauge the quality of a law enforcement training center is to look at the post-graduation employment rates. A quality program should not hesitate to provide statistics showing how many of their former students are now employment as a law enforcement officer. In addition, many programs will provide a prospective student with the names of former students and a point of contact to ask additional questions. Both former students and current students are an excellent resource. Spending a day at the center and talking with current students may also yield beneficial information that will help a prospective student to make a decision.
Inquiring directly with local law enforcement agencies should not be left out of the decision process, particularly if the student plans to apply to a local agency. Even if the agency does not send new hires to a specific law enforcement training center, they may have a preference or a list of centers that they will suggest to a prospective applicant. The added benefit to inquiring directly with a law enforcement agency is that an applicant may also obtain additional information that can help him or her in the application process.