In order to be a Reserve Officer you must be able to pass all the same tests as a regular full-time officer for the most part, meaning some cities and or counties will vary in their testing process. However, you can be assured the requirements are pretty strict when it comes to the testing portion. Now then, if you have a blemish on your criminal record as an example it will be up to the department if in fact they can live with whatever you have on your record. Personally, I believe in second chances and hope those of you who have the passion to take on such a job as a Reserve Officer will give it your best shot and not give up on your journey to becoming an officer.
Preparation for the job
First and foremost, I believe you must be ready mentally. What I mean by this is if you’re in debt financially for an example, it would probably be better that you get that all taken care of first so you can focus. Plus, you have to ask yourself some pretty important questions such as, “Can you take the life of another?” Or, “Can you shoot someone?” “Are you ready for the mental challenge under extreme emergency circumstances?” These are merely a few questions of serious topics in police work. Many people are not mentally prepared when coming into police work, mostly because they really do not know what to expect. If you have a burdensome job for example, it may cause you to much stress to take on the position as a Reserve Officer. You have to remember the position is very demanding and if you’re not mentally ready for such changes in your life you’d probably want to wait until you’re completely focused in life.
Get Ready for Academy Life
Look a lot of people believe they’re ready for the academy but in all seriousness they are not at all ready. If you’re not in top physical condition going in you undoubtedly will endure major stress and probably will not make it. You must be able to run several miles, not on the asphalt but uphill and you better be able to do at least 100 push ups, 10 chin ups, and 50 sit ups at the minimum. If not then you’re fooling yourself and it will be very difficult for you. Part of the reason is you will be given homework assignments as well and they will bury you in paper. Of course, the people who are body builders or runners may not have much trouble…but if those people are not good academically they too are doomed. I say this because I’ve seen it more often than not. So then, you get the picture as you must be in mental and physical condition before going into the academy. People will drop like flies and get up and walk off due to the stress. If you can’t handle it at the academy level you surely will not be able to handle the streets.
How to apply
Many people will put themselves through a P.O.S.T. academy but they may not be hired while attending the academy. So, for those of you who have not been hired yet….well get ready because it will be a daunting task. Most agencies you will have to fill out a paper application as most agencies who are online only have application processes for full-time officers. In a way, most agencies still do it the ole fashion way. Which is fine, because this way it becomes more personable and you can gain some points this way. Once you apply, and get an invite go for it! You may have to ask around to see what the testing process consists of, so maybe if you go on a couple of ride-a-longs you can get some valuable insight as to the testing. Whatever you do, do not over extend your mouth when you’re on your ride-a-along, nobody likes a “know-it-all.”
Where to work
Okay, you might disagree here but that’s okay, it’s better that you at least try and understand what I am about to say. Some people are cut out to work for big agencies and some are not. Some people are great college cops and some are better suited for rural areas versus a metro area. Only you truly know yourself and where you’ll fit in. This is very important because you really don’t want to start jumping from department to department if you don’t have too. After all, every time you do, training starts over again for the most part and you have to in a sense prove yourself once again. Interestingly enough, people get big ideas in their head and seem to have to play them out before they realize reality. My suggestion is to go on many ride-a-alongs and see where you fit and if you like what the department has to offer. This will surely help you along and give you a better chance at survival. I wish you the best of luck. You can email me if you have any questions. .