How to Become a Police Officer in Atlanta

The Atlanta Police Department has 1,751 sworn officers serving the greater Atlanta area.1 Dating back to 1853, Atlanta law enforcement has a long history of public service. Today, the APD is constantly recruiting new members for the police force as well as other administrative jobs within the department. Anyone looking to become a police officer in Atlanta must fulfill the many requirements established by the city, which are outlined in detail below.

Atlanta Police Officer Requirements

atlanta-policeIn order to be eligible for active service in the Atlanta Police Force, applicants must be a US citizen, at least 20 years old and hold a valid driver’s license. They must hold a high school diploma or GED and/or an honorable or uncharacterized discharge from a US military branch. Vision of 20/100 or more in each eye uncorrected, or a corrected 20/20 is also required.

As is the case with most cities, anyone who applies to the Atlanta police force must submit to a full background check. Anyone with a felony is immediately ineligible for service as is anyone who has been found guilty of any of an offense that indicates a disregard for the law, “a lack of good moral character or disposition towards violence and disorder.” Additionally, any past conviction that may prohibit firearm ownership would also disqualify a candidate from service. For a complete list of disqualifying conditions, please consult the APD website.

Examinations Required for Atlanta Police Recruits

In addition to the requirements listed above, Atlanta cop recruits musts must pass a number of medical and cognitive skills examinations as well as a personality assessment before being eligible for service.

All candidates for the Atlanta PD should have the required passing scores on either the Compass Test, SAT, ACT, OR the Georgia POST Entrance Exam. Once these scores have been verified, the candidate will be submitted to a complete background check. Candidates will then be evaluated by the Atlanta Chief of Police who will order a conditional employment letter to approved candidates. At this time, the candidate will have to take a series of pre- employment psychological, medical and physical agility tests.

For more information, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our homepage and once ready to apply for a position in the NYPD, application information can be found at Join Atlanta APD page.

George N. Turner is the current Chief of Police in Atlanta, Georgia and has worked with the Atlanta Police Department since 1981. Mr. Turner has been the chief of police since 2010 when he was sworn in by current mayor, Kasim Reed.

Atlanta Police Department Information

In order to be available to local residents, the Atlanta Police Department consists of numerous mini-precincts, foot patrols, and bicycle patrols. Field Operations are divided into six geographical zones that cover the city parameters.

Additionally, the city has a number of Special Operation Sections that include youth and community services, cyber crimes, homeland security, K-9, mounted patrol, DUI task force, SWAT and much more.

Atlanta Police Training Academy

Once recruits have been deemed eligible for the Atlanta Police Academy, candidates must complete a vigorous 22-week training program plus 12 weeks of field and classroom training by veteran officers. The intense program includes 80 hours of physical training, 80 hours of defensive training, 48 hours of firearm training and hundreds of hours of classroom instruction.

For more information on APD recruit hiring and the police academy training process, consult the information found at the APD Career Page.

Atlanta Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

The salary of an Atlanta Police Officer can vary depending on education, experience, and rank. There is a higher pay grade for those with associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Additionally, officers receive an annual uniform allowance, various benefits and multiple opportunities for promotions. Although the exact salary can range widely between departments, the average annual salary for a patrol officer is $41,650.2

The graduating class of 2015 from the Atlanta Police Training Academy consisted of 25 newly trained male and female officers, and the city is in a constant cycle of recruitment throughout the year.3

For more information on current Atlanta law enforcement positions, take a look at our state job board page.

More Information on the Atlanta Police Department

The Atlanta Police Department makes community participation a top priority. The force is constantly looking for ways to connect Atlanta cops with the local communities they serve. The department has a number of ongoing programs and annual events that aim to bring the communities together such as the Annual Policeman’s Ball, Crime Stoppers Atlanta, the Annual “Crime is Toast” Breakfast, Link Up Against Crime, etc.

There are also a number of youth programs for Atlanta children such as the Police Athletic League (PAL), which uses sports and recreation to introduce community children to the officers on a regular basis as coaches and mentors. The program often has a variety of seasonal activities including summer camp, sports activities, mentoring, homework assistance, etc. In addition, the APD Internship Program encourages college students to work within the department for a specified time.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AtlantaPoliceDpt
Twitter: @Atlanta_Police

Atlanta Police Department
226 Peachtree ST SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

Additional Resources

1. Atlanta Police Department: https://www.joinatlantapd.org/aboutapd.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_12060.htm
3. Atlanta Police Department: https://patch.com/georgia/buckhead/apds-newest-police-officers-graduate-week-0

Photo credit: Dave Conner