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How to Become a Police Officer in Indiana

The future looks good for anyone hoping to work in Indiana as a cop or sheriff’s deputy. There are 11,300 police and sheriff’s patrol officers working in the state, serving the population of over 6 million residents. With an annual average salary of $47,810, patrol officers can earn a good living in this affordable midwestern state.1

To enjoy a rewarding career in Indiana law enforcement, whether with the Indiana State Police or a local department, requires training at one of the state’s official police academies as well as being able to meet certain minimum standards.

Indiana Police Officer Requirements

There is no single organization that set standards for law enforcement minimum requirements in Indiana. Recruits must first apply to a local police department, sheriff’s office, or the Indiana State Police and either be hired or sponsored. Each department sets its own basic hiring requirements and procedures. Some of the requirements common across most departments are:

  • US citizenship
  • A minimum age of 21
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • A valid driver’s license

Once offered employment, a candidate must then complete a program at a police academy within one year. Those recruits not hired, but sponsored, may become tuition-paying students at an academy. These students must pay tuition to attend and can then seek employment at one of the state’s law enforcement departments. The programs and instructors at the police academies are certified by the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board. There are several physical fitness standards that must be met before a recruit can begin academy training:

  • Jump vertically at least 13.5 inches
  • Complete 24 sit-ups in one minute
  • Run 300 meters in 82 seconds
  • Complete 21 push-ups
  • Run 1.5 miles within 18 minutes and 56 seconds

Indiana Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements

The troopers of the Indiana State Police number over 1,300.2 Every state trooper career begins with highway patrol, but every individual has the opportunity to move into other areas of state law enforcement. These include traffic control, traffic crash investigation, criminal investigation, transportation of emergency medical supplies, or training. To be hired as a state trooper and attend the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy, recruits must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be at least 21 years old, but under 40 years old
  • Have vision that can be corrected to 20/50
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Hold a high school diploma or a GED
  • Be willing to live and serve anywhere in the state of Indiana

Indiana Sheriff Deputy Requirements

As with local police departments, recruits in Indiana hoping to work as a deputy sheriff with one of the county offices must be hired and then attend a state training academy. Each county sheriff’s office sets its own minimum requirements for employment and has its own application procedure. Most offices require recruits pass a written test of basic skills and knowledge before being hired or sponsored for an academy.

Marion County
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, employs 740 sworn personnel.2 The Sheriff’s Office looks for recruits that demonstrate physical strength and endurance and good interpersonal and written communication skills and that can pass the tests required to be sponsored for a training academy.

Lake County
Lake County is the second most populous county in Indiana, after Marion County, and is located along the scenic coastline of Lake Michigan. New recruits at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office must be hired after meeting minimum requirements, such as passing a written test and demonstrating good moral character, and then complete a training academy before working for the county as a deputy.

Police Departments in Indiana

Those recruits hoping to work in a local or city police department in Indiana have many to choose from. The three largest city police departments alone employ thousands of full-time officers. Each department has its own hiring procedure and requirements. All new recruits must complete a state police academy within a year of being hired.

Indianapolis
Indianapolis is the largest city in Indiana and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department employs 1,582 sworn officers and 250 civilian employees.2 Probationary officers earn a starting salary of $39,446, but quickly move up the pay scale to $60,967 by year three.3 To be considered for the Metropolitan police force candidates must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be between 21 and 36 years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Not have a domestic violence conviction
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • Live in Marion County or one of the seven surrounding counties
  • Pass a drug test

Fort Wayne
Fort Wayne is the state’s second largest city and has a sizable police force. To be considered as a recruit for the Fort Wayne Police Department, candidates must complete a physical fitness test, a written test, an oral interview, a background test and a psychological test. Minimum requirements for hiring include:

  • US citizenship
  • Being between 21 and 35 years of age
  • A high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Correctable 20/30 vision
  • Good moral character
  • Allen County or adjacent county residence
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Solid communication skills
  • A clean drug test

Evansville
Evansville employs 286 police officers in its Evansville Police Department and offers regular opportunities for new recruits.4 The minimum hiring requirements ensure that a recruit must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be between 21 and 35 of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Not be convicted of domestic abuse or a felony
  • Demonstrate good moral character
  • Pass a background check including a polygraph and psychological evaluation
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Pass a drug test

Police Training Academies in Indiana

Indiana has several police training academies which are certified by the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board. The Indiana Law Enforcement Academy serves the entire state, while other training academies are regional. Candidates for the Indiana State Police attend the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy. The following is the complete list of police training academies in Indiana:

  • Indiana Law Enforcement Academy – Plainfield, IN
  • Indiana State Police Recruit Academy – Indianapolis, IN
  • Fort Wayne Police Department Academy – Fort Wayne, IN
  • Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Academy – Indianapolis, IN
  • Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy – Gary, IN
  • Southwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy – Evansville, IN
  • Indiana University Police Academy – Bloomington, IN

Indiana Police Jobs Outlook

Hopeful new cops and sheriff’s deputies in Indiana have plenty of opportunities to be hired and to train in the state. The growth in police and sheriff’s jobs in the state of Indiana is expected to be six percent between now and 2022.5 There is expected to be an average of 410 new positions opening up every year during that period.5 With average salaries around $47,810 in 2014 and a cost of living that is 13.4% lower than average, prospective cops can expect to make a decent living in the state of Indiana.1,6

For more information about current law enforcement openings, take a look at our Police Jobs page.

Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in Indiana

City Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Indianapolis-Carmel 2,980 $52,460
Fort Wayne 720 $50,880
Evansville 680 $47,620
Spokane 460 $68,560

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Indiana: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_in.htm
2. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2008: https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/csllea08.pdf
3. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department: http://www.indy.gov/eGov/City/DPS/IMPD/Employment/Sworn/Pages/benefits.aspx
4. Evansville Police Department: http://www.evansvillepolice.com/
5. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
6. Sperling’s Best Places, Indiana: http://www.bestplaces.net/state/indiana