So you want to be a cop? If this statement applies to you, then you need to ask your self if you are properly prepared to become a police officer. You should know it is one of the most stressful jobs with a very high rate of PTSD, stress, alcohol abuse and more.
Every year I get numerous people tell me they would like to be a police officer. Half the time they are fresh out of high school, I usually roll my eyes as they are idealistic and still believe the law and justice are blind as it is supposed to be. The reality is not. Thankfully in Canada, the RCMP and almost all police forces will not take people fresh out of high school. They usually want people 25 and older with life experience and bachelors which are all great requirements to set in place. This is because, with such requirements, the individual has had time to grow, experience and get a bit of an education. After all, no one wants a meathead cop with no life skills or education.
The average young person who wants to be a cop usually has between 5-8 years before they will even be near a gun and badge (again I can only speak for Canada, though I know much of the USA has issues with low standards for being a police officer). So what is an ambitious young person to do with all that time? Aside from the obvious which is get a BA, the less obvious is get trained in some form of hand to hand combat style and shooting for tactical purposes.
Unfortunately not enough people do the later of the two as they assume wrongfully they will get enough training in the police academy of their choosing.
In my experience, this is a dangerous mentality as most police academies do not spend sufficient time on hand to hand combat and when they do are often teaching antiquated or terrible techniques. I say this because almost everyone I know who goes in with previous training is often shocked at what is taught and can think of a million reasons why it is garbage. I even know one individual who was a high-level grappler with MMA experience tell me they had to sit them self out during that hand to hand because the refused to do what was taught. (They still became a police officer, so don’t worry.)
With regards to shooting, while all candidates need to qualify on their pistol, in Canada at least, after they become police officers they usually get little range time to keep their skills up. Assuming that once you are an officer of the law, you will time to continue to train is also false.
In Canada, the RCMP at least are subject to 4 days of 12-hour shifts with four days off. However, they end up doing a lot of overtime, due to the poor way in which the organisation is structured. Add on family obligations, rest and other general tasks and training usually falls away as a priority. This is a dangerous mistake, as skills can be lost and is not beneficially to you as the officer, or the public you are sworn to protect.
So what is an ambitious young person who wishes to be a police officer to do right out of Highschool? The answer should be obvious by now. Train! Get that BA if it’s a requirement, and get some general life skills or field experience such as volunteering for community policing or do security. But above all else TRAIN! If it is going to be 5-8 years maybe even longer before you become a police officer that is more than enough time to attain a Blue, Brown or Black Belt in any particular appropriate style.
Of course, I prefer, Krav Maga, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo or other styles suitable for policing but the reality is training in combatives is important for you to understand violence and be competent enough to apply it appropriately as a job when under duress, which you will be constantly.
In the end of the day, Grades mean nothing when you are approaching a violent suspect or criminal and will do nothing to protect you but proper training will. In addition to hand to hand combat, it is advised you put in the time at the range or at the very least practising dry fire with pistols, shotguns and carbines as these are the platforms most police will need to know.
So you want to be a cop? Great, I hope you make a great one. But if you are fresh to the adult world put together a proper plan to give you the correct skills that you may not actually get in the police academies even though they are ones you need. And Trust me, you will not get proper training to the level you require. Much of the training you will get is to do with the laws and paperwork. If a training academy is only 3-6 months long how can you possibly attain proper proficiency in hand to hand combat or shooting when mastery takes far longer than that. So would you risk putting your life on such a limited amount of training? I certainly would not.
Your plan should include, getting an appropriate education, getting into shape and achieving high physical fitness and training yourself properly in Hand to hand combat and shooting PRIOR to becoming a cop. Again, trust me, you probably won’t have much time after, and by then it’s too late.
So you want to be a cop? Train now, Apply later.