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How to Become a Police Officer in Jacksonville

Jacksonville is a growing city with a population of about 840,000.1 Residents of Jacksonville can enjoy the city’s white sandy beaches and a low cost of living, nearly 10% less than the national average.2 Sports enthusiasts will find an array of entertainment opportunities as the city is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the PGA Tour, and a host of college sporting events. Police officers will find that the city is a great place to start their career.

Men and women who wish to join the ranks of law enforcement in Jacksonville
should continue reading for the application, selection, and training process.

Jacksonville Police Officer Requirements

The City of Jacksonville Police Department and Duval County Road Patrol consolidated in 1968 to create the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO).3 To become a JSO police officer, hopeful recruits must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a US citizen
  • Possess a valid Florida driver’s license
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Have no misdemeanors involving domestic violence, perjury or false statement
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the military

There are several ways in which an aspiring cop can satisfy the educational requirement. In addition to a high school diploma and GED, candidates must have either some college experience from an accredited university or college or military experience. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, OR an associate degree plus four years of active military service or full-time law enforcement experience, OR 90 credit hours (135 quarter hours) plus two years of active military or full-time law enforcement experience. Candidates with military experience or some college credits are generally preferred.

JSO does not permit any tattoos above the collarbone or below the wrist. This includes tattoos on the neck, face, ear, hands and fingers.

For additional information about how to become a cop in a typical city, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. In depth recruitment information can be found at http://www.joinjso.com/careers/.

Sheriff John H. Rutherford is the top cop in Jacksonville, Florida. Sheriff Rutherford has over 40 years of law enforcement experience. Under his leadership, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has been awarded the “Triple Crown” for accreditation in law enforcement, corrections, and corrections health services.

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Information

The JSO employs nearly 3,000 individuals, 1,600 sworn police officers, 700 sworn correctional officers and 700 civilians. Officers patrol the city’s six zones and a substation location in each zone. In addition to the Departments of Corrections and Police Services, the Sheriff’s Office has several divisions:

  • Community affairs division
  • Patrol division
  • Homeland security division
  • Investigations division

Jacksonville Police Training Academy

Police recruits for the JSO must attend basic training at the Northeast Florida Criminal Justice Training and Educational Center in Jacksonville, Florida. The Academy is 56,000 square feet and sits on about 10 acres of land. At the Academy, law enforcement recruits will be trained in driving, defensive tactics, crisis intervention, firearms and electronic control weapons, and medical first responder training.

Jacksonville Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

About 2,600 cops are employed in the city of Jacksonville.4 Starting base salary for police officers is $36,240.5 Jacksonville cops’ salaries increase to $54,696 after six years of employment with the department and max out at $62,476 after 17 years.5 The number of law enforcement in Florida is projected to increase by 9.3% between now and 2022, with about 1,430 average job openings per year.6 With police officer employment on the rise and the number of retirements increasing, Jacksonville would be a great place for an aspiring cop to start a career. As hopeful cops apply, it’s good to keep in mind that employment for police officers is tied to local budgets.

For more information on current JSO law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board page.

More Information on the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Crime

The JSO has several ways for citizens to get involved and for hopeful cops to learn more about their office. Youth can get involved in the city’s police explorer’s program, which educates and involves youth in police operations and general law enforcement information. Youth who participate can compete with police explorers in other cities in friendly, organized challenges. The JSO’s Sheriff’s Advisory Council is a group of citizens and law enforcement officers who work together to address public safety issues in each of the six zones of the city. The JSO has two Citizen’s Police Academy classes per year. The 12-week class provides citizens with an opportunity to learn how agency divisions work.

“I think the more citizens that could take this class the better. The police ARE the FENCE between law abiding citizens and the criminal element. I believe if the law-abiding citizens of our city and the police would work hand in hand with trust in one another, Jacksonville could be one of the safest cities in the country.” -Don and Debbie Choate, Citizen’s Academy graduates.

Men and women wishing to become cops in Jacksonville should take advantage of the JSO’s Ride Along program to see what cops actually deal with on a day-to-day basis. To schedule a ride-along, individuals must be at least 16 years of age. If under 18, the participant must have written consent from a parent or legal guardian(notarized). To schedule a ride-along, contact JSO’s Public Information Office at 904-630-2133.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleSheriffsOffice
Twitter: @JSOPIO

Jacksonville Sheriff Office Headquarters
501 E Bay St
Jacksonville, FL 32202
http://www.coj.net/departments/sheriffs-office.aspx

Additional Resources

1. Florida Criminal Justice Standards & Training Commission: https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Content/getdoc/91a75023-5a74-40ef-814d-8e7e5b622d4d/CJSTC-Home-Page.aspx
2. Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police: http://www.fop530.com/

References:
1. US Census Bureau, Jacksonville, Florida: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/1235000.html
2. Sperling’s Best Places, Jacksonville, Florida: http://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/florida/jacksonville
3. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office: http://www.joinjso.com/about/organization.php
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Jacksonville, Florida: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_27260.htm)
5. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office: http://www.joinjso.com/careers/police_officers.php
6. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm