How to Become a Police Officer in Arlington
The growing city of Arlington, Texas has a population of over 370,000 and is a part of the fourth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the county which is the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA.1,2 Here, the average annual salary for a police officer in Texas ($69,020 per year) can go far due to Arlington’s low cost of living (3% cheaper than the national average).3,4 The Arlington metro area has recently seen significant drops in crime thanks to the APD’s efforts; between August 2017 and August 2018, the department reported an 8.9% reduction in crime overall.5 As of 2017, the APD employed 195 professional staff and 649 sworn officers.5 Individuals hoping to become a part of the Arlington Police Department will find information on the application, selection and training process below.
Arlington Police Officer Requirements
The Arlington Police Department (APD) upholds the public safety of the city of Arlington. Applications from prospective officers are accepted during open recruiting periods and must be delivered in person to the department. Individuals wishing to become members of the APD should be able to present themselves professionally and read, write, and speak English fluently. In addition, applicants must:
- Be 21 years of age
- Be a US citizen
- Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- Have no class A nor felony convictions and must not be serving probation for a class C or above misdemeanor
- Have no relatives employed by the APD
- Have no DWI convictions within the past 10 years
- Have no more than 20/100 uncorrected visual acuity, corrected to 20/20, and must not have color or night blindness
- Have no more than a 30 decibel hearing loss (corrected or uncorrected)
Any tattoos or brandings must be covered while in police uniform or city-authorized attire. After completing a preliminary interview, selected applicants will have two opportunities to complete the five-event physical agility test.
For more information about becoming a law enforcement officer in a big city like Arlington, check out 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. For more recruitment information, visit the Arlington Police Department’s recruitment page.
Arlington Police Basic Academy
The Arlington Police Basic Academy provides all new APD recruits with 1,180 hours of rigorous instruction that includes classroom, scenario, driving, firearms, and leadership skills training.5 The Basic Academy is typically a 32-week program. Throughout training, probationary officers must conduct themselves professionally and in a self-disciplined manner. Physical fitness training is a core aspect of the curriculum; recruits should expect to complete regularly scheduled runs, calisthenics, and weight training. In addition to passing written exams during the Academy, potential cops will have to pass the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) exam prior to becoming a sworn officer.
Arlington Police Department Information
APD cops earn a starting salary of $61,991 per year, which increases to $68,344 after three years of service.5 Field operations, support operations, and management services make up the three bureaus of the APD. The Department’s four patrol districts, north, south, east, and west, are subdivided into beats. Law enforcement officers can work in a patrol district or one of the Department’s specialized units which include the economic crimes & ID theft unit, the K-9 unit, and the gang unit.
The Arlington Police Department follows a community policing model and has been held up as an example of community policing in practice by the US Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services Office. The APD’s social media presence has also been locally and nationally recognized. The department has been honored with a “Most Innovative Use of Social Media Award” from the Texas Center for Digital Government and a First Place Award from the International Association of Law Enforcement Planners.
The APD has many opportunities for citizen involvement. Residents of Arlington can start a Community Watch Group, made up of neighbors who share information on activity and events that happen in their community with police officers. Citizens ages 18 and older can apply to participate in the Citizens on Patrol (COP) program which allows citizens to patrol their neighborhoods and work to prevent crime. COP participants must meet the following qualifications.
Department Contact Information
Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook
Over 15,000 cops are employed in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area, earning an average annual salary of $69,020.3 In Texas, the number of police officers is projected to increase by 16.4% by 2024, translating into 1,450 positions annually.6 The exact number of new cops the city can hire will depend on the city’s budget and the number of police officers that retired the prior year. After hire, Arlington cops receive generous benefits including health and life insurance, differentials for shirts, bilingual pay, bonuses for field training, and increased detective pay. After five years of continuous service, officers are eligible for stability bonuses starting at $112 per year multiplied by years of service.5 The APD offers a 401k with a 50% match, and officers are eligible for retirement after 20 years of service.5 To view open listings for police officers in Arlington, visit our jobs board page.
- Texas Commission on Law Enforcement – The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, or TCOLE, establishes and enforces standards for law enforcement officers in Texas.
- The Fraternal Order of Police Texas State Lodge – A membership organization for current and retired Texas law enforcement officers that provides community events, insurance benefits, and legal defense services for actions arising from performance while on duty.
1. US Census Bureau, Arlington, TX: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045217
2. Largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas– Population: https://www.dol.gov/vets/grants/2015/Appendix-E.pdf
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_19100.htm
4. Sperling’s Best Places, Arlington, TX: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/texas/arlington
5. Arlington Police Department: http://www.arlington-tx.gov/police/
6. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm