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. 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)
In addition, any tattoos or brandings must be covered while in police uniform or city-authorized attire.
Steps in the Arlington Police Department Hiring Process
The Arlington Police Department follows a multiple-step process in order to ensure that only the most-prepared recruits are hired. This process tests candidates’ aptitude for police work as well as their commitment to serving as an officer. Those who meet the qualifications above will work through the following steps:
- Complete and submit the department’s formal application, which includes a personal history statement.
- Attend a preliminary interview, which starts with completing a short essay and questionnaire, followed by an interview with a three-member panel of senior police officers.
- Complete the department’s physical agility test. The test is pass/fail, and candidates can use up to three attempts to pass all five segments of the test (which must be passed on the same testing date).
- Be invited to Phase II of the hiring process, which begins with a polygraph examination.
- Complete medical examination given by a licensed physician contracted by the Department.
- Complete a comprehensive psychological examination given by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist that assesses suitability for law enforcement work.
- Undergo a background investigation that thoroughly examines candidates’ employment, credit, legal, social, drug, and driving history.
- Be interviewed by an Oral Review Board, with questions focusing on personal background, reasoning, interpersonal skills, and other qualities relating to police work.
- Successful recruits will receive a conditional hire offer and be invited to the Arlington Police Basic Academy (more on this below).
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.
Preparing for the Arlington Police Testing Process
If you are working towards becoming an Arlington police officer, you should be prepared for the Department’s intense testing process. It is particularly recommended that candidates train for the physical agility exam. The following resources can help you prepare for the APD’s hiring process.
- APD Police Hiring Process Guide and Application
- APD Recruiting Portal
- The APD recommends candidates thoroughly review the APD website and City of Arlington website prior to the preliminary interview.
To pass the APD’s physical agility exam, candidates must be in peak condition. Prospective recruits must be able to meet the following five benchmarks on the same testing day:
- Complete an obstacle course that includes a two-foot wall hurdle, four-foot solid board wall, six-foot solid board wall, 12-foot tunnel, and 25-foot serpentine run in 30 seconds or less.
- Complete six repeat trigger squeezes in four seconds or less in one hand with no support.
- Drag a 175-pound dummy 60 feet in 60 seconds or less.
- Ascend and descend a 20-foot metal ladder, holding a shotgun in one hand, in 60 seconds or less.
- Complete a quarter-mile run that simulates a foot pursuit with terrain including stairs in 130 seconds or less.
For more information on the APD testing and recruiting process, visit the Department’s website.
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.
Cities and Police Departments Near Arlington
Over 15,000 cops are employed in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area, with Arlington located in the middle of this large metroplex. Although Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington are the largest cities in the metro area, there are various other small and medium-sized cities where police officers can find promising careers. The table below provides further information on police employment and crime statistics in the Arlington area.
|City||Force Name/Abbreviation||City Population1||Police Dept. Total Employees7||Sworn Officers7||Civilian Staff7||Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People8||Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People8|
|Arlington||Arlington Police Department (APD)||398,112||844||649||195||0.55||3.11|
|Grand Prairie||Grand Prairie Police Department (GPPD)||194,614||384||257||127||0.3||2.33|
|Irving||Irving Police Department (IPD)||242,242||482||330||152||0.21||2.68|
|Mansfield||Mansfield Police Department (MPD)||56,368||225||95||130||0.11||1.38|
- 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, Quick Facts: 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: https://www.arlingtontx.gov/city_hall/departments/police
6. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
7. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Full-time Law Enforcement Employees by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-26/table-26.xls/view
8. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Offenses Known to Law Enforcement by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-6/table-6.xls/view