There are only about 1,750 police officers in South Dakota and each one of them completed their police academy training within one year of joining the force. In South Dakota, there is only one police academy for basic training so applicants are placed into a small but competitive pool. The training process can be long and grueling but this is the necessary challenge of providing new officers with the expertise and knowledge required to serve and protect the public. The basic certification course is 520 hours of instruction and cadets must be determined and focused to consistently obtain passing grades. As one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, police officers are extremely important to the well-being of the communities they serve.
Police Academy Training Qualifications
All police officers in South Dakota must be at least 21 years old and legal U.S. citizens. Every applicant must have their high school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license, and be able to pass several types of background checks. These background checks are for medical history, criminal history and psychological make-up. Any cadet with a condition that will either impair their ability to perform police work or make sound judgments will be turned away from service. Applicants must not have used any illegal substances in the past year and must be able to pass a drug test. For criminal history, any applicant convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor like domestic violence will be turned away from service. Interviews will be conducted by hiring agencies to ensure that all applicants are of good moral character and fit for police work. Once admitted into police academy training, cadets must begin training with a series of rigorous physical trials and written tests to determine their fitness for police work. Cadets that do not post adequate scores in any evaluations will not continue in basic training.
Popular Police Academies
There is only one police academy in South Dakota. The George S. Mickelson Criminal Justice Center is based in Pierre and offers three courses for basic training per year. The only people that may enroll in this type of academy training have already received an offer of employment from a prospective police department in South Dakota. Certification must be completed within one year of hiring. The training center accepts all types of law enforcement officers: municipal police departments, state troopers, tribal agencies. If you want to get employed in a specific department or under a certain jurisdiction, many agencies recommend volunteering with a local 911 dispatcher or specific department for job-experience and networking purposes.