How to Become a Police Officer in Cleveland

Cleveland is one of the 50 largest cities in the US and has a population of over 390,000.1 The cost of living in the city is 21% less than the national average and housing costs are 70% lower.2 The city has amenities to offer everyone that include a variety of professional sports teams, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, great restaurants, and festivals. Aspiring cops will find that Cleveland is a great place to start their law enforcement career.

Individuals wishing to become a part of the Cleveland Police Division will find information on the application, selection and training process below.

Cleveland Police Officer Requirements

The Cleveland Police Division (CPD) is the second-largest police agency in Ohio.3 Over 1,600 cops and civilians are employed by the CPD.3 The Division has three main operations: administrative, field, and homeland operations. Uniform patrol is housed in field operations. To become a member of the CPD, applicants must:

  • Be between the ages of 21 and 40
  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Be honorably discharged from the military
  • Be interviewed, fingerprinted, and photographed
  • Pass a background investigation

All potential cops must pass the City of Cleveland civil service written exam and take the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) assessment. Applicants are also required to complete a personal history questionnaire, pass a medical exam and undergo a psychological evaluation.

For more information about becoming a law enforcement officer in a big city like Cleveland, check out 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page.

Calvin D. Williams was appointed to serve as Chief of Police in 2014. Chief Williams began his career with the Cleveland Police Division in 1986. Over his nearly 30-year career, Mr. Williams has worked as the supervisor of the SWAT, fugitive, and vice units. He was Commander of the Third District and was eventually promoted to Deputy Chief of Field Operations.

Cleveland Police Division Information

The Cleveland Police Department has five districts. Each district is further segmented into zones. The Department has many units that hopeful law enforcement officers can work in, some of which include:

  • Aviation unit
  • Bomb squad
  • Community services unit
  • Forensics
  • K-9
  • Narcotics
  • SWAT
  • Vice unit

All cops of the CPD will receive full healthcare benefits, tuition reimbursement, and uniform allotment. After five years of police service, law enforcement officers will receive a yearly longevity bonus.

Cleveland Police Training Academy

Police recruits must attend the six month Cleveland Police Academy before becoming a CPD cop. During their six months in the Academy, recruits are compensated for their time. They earn a standard pay rate of $10.50 per hour until they are sworn in as police officers, at which point their salary will increase to $44,761.60.5

Cleveland Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

Over 4,500 cops are employed in the Cleveland metropolitan area.6 Those cops earn on average $57,500 per year.6 The number of cops is projected to increase by 5.9% between now and 2022, creating about 25 job opportunities annually for potential cops.7 The exact number of police officers hired depends on the city’s annual budget and police resignations and retirements for the year. The projected growth of law enforcement officers makes Cleveland a great place to start a career as a cop.

To view open listings for police officers in Cleveland, visit our jobs board page.

More Information on the Cleveland Division of Police and Crime

The CPD has several opportunities for youth and adults to build relationships with law enforcement officers. The Department has the following programs for adults:

  • Brown bag safety seminars – short sessions that allow police to present safety information to the general public
  • Safe and Smart Program – educates citizens on basic crime prevention strategies
  • Senior Power – a group that connects police, EMTs, the fire department, and the Department of Aging with seniors in an effort to educate them on public safety matters specific to the older population

THE CPD also offers a Citizen’s Police Academy. This Academy is for residents 18 and older and includes a tour of police headquarters, the outdoor range, and the Cleveland Police Museum. The Academy includes several presentations and attendees will be able to learn about police processes and operations.

There are also youth participation programs sponsored by the CPD. The Department has a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program aimed at teaching 5th graders how to deal with peer pressure and resist the temptation to do drugs. The Department also has a Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program to teach children to abstain from gangs. The Eddie Eagle Gun Safety Program is a program that shows children the dangers of firearms and how to handle themselves if they find a gun.

The CPD also has a Police Explorer’s program. The Explorer’s program is presented in partnership with Boy Scouts of America for young boys and girls to learn more about the careers of law enforcement officers. Children must be between the ages of 14 and 21 to participate.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClevelandPoliceDept
Twitter: @CLEpolice

Cleveland Police Division Headquarters
1300 Ontario St
Cleveland, OH 44113

Additional Resources

1. US Census Bureau, Cleveland, OH: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/clevelandcityohio,US/PST045217
2. Sperling’s Best Places, Cleveland, OH: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/ohio/cleveland
3. City of Cleveland Division of Police, Cleveland Police Division: http://www.city.cleveland.oh.us/CityofCleveland/Home/Government/CityAgencies/PublicSafety/Police/About_Cleveland_Police
4. City of Cleveland Division of Police, Frequently Asked Questions:

5. Cleveland Department of Public Safety: http://www.city.cleveland.oh.us/CityofCleveland/Home/Government/CityAgencies/PublicSafety/SafetyRecruitment
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Cleveland, OH: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_17460.htm
7. Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, 2022 Ohio Job Outlook: http://ohiolmi.com/proj/Projections/Ohio_Job_Outlook_2012-2022.pdf