There are not as many options for police academy training in Alaska as in other states. The only facility qualified to train police officers and state troopers is located along the southern coastline of the state. The Alaska Public Safety Academy offers trainees a 15-week course. Cadets must live on-site and are offered room and board by the police academy. This increases the cost of tuition quite, but the school requires its cadets to maintain the campus grounds to keep overhead costs down and offer the lowest tuition possible. Unfortunately, as the main option for officers in the state, there is little choice. Fall courses begin in August and spring courses in late February. Instruction is provided by qualified officials from the Sitka Police Department, as well as from national experts in the field.
Once training is complete, cadets can go on to hold positions as municipal police officers or state troopers. Employment is not offered to all graduates however, with only 60% of trainees receiving employment upon graduation. In order to maximize the chances of successful training and subsequent employment, it helps to receive higher levels of education in additional to basic training. College programs that provide educations in criminal justice and civics are a great addition to the resume of all potential police officers.
In order to become a police officer in Alaska, there are several requirements. All applicants must be at least 21 years old, have completed high school or equivalent GED, hold a driver’s license, and be legal residents of the United States. Background checks are performed on all applicants to discover any records of criminal convictions and their credit scores. Any applicant convicted of a felony or flagrant misdemeanor will not be accepted. The list of offenses that will warrant rejection include all felonies, misdemeanors from the past decade related to dishonesty, poor morals, or physical injury to others, two or more DUIs, and any contact with illegal substances in the past year. Physical requirements include vision, hearing, and fitness tests. For an idea of basic requirements, the minimum fitness standards for Alaska police cadets is the ability to do 32 push-ups in one minute, 32 sit-ups in one minute, and a 1.5 mile run in under 15 minutes. There are a number of tests that applicants must pass, and once accepted into the program, they must maintain an overall average of 70% on their coursework. Any students who do not maintain these standards will be cut from the training program.