How to Become a Police Officer in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is often listed as one of the best places to live in the country, especially among larger cities. With a population over 465,000, Colorado Springs is large but maintains a small-town feel and is close to many opportunities for outdoor recreation.1 Approximately 1,260 uniformed officers work in the greater Colorado Springs metro area.2 While it is ranked as the #2 Best Place to Live by US News & World Report, the city does have a higher than average crime rate of 404.8 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.3 The Colorado Springs Police Department is continually seeking to hire new officers to its force in order to lower crime levels. The process of joining the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) is outlined below.
Colorado Springs Police Officer Requirements
The process to becoming a police officer in Colorado Springs is competitive. To be hired as a police recruit by the CSPD, prospective officers are expected to meet minimum requirements. All candidates must:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Have high school diploma or GED
- Have a valid Colorado driver’s license
- Hold an associate’s degree or at least 60 hours of college credit towards a degree or meet the requirements for the department’s Alternate Education Program
- Be free of any felony convictions
- Not have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence or other disqualifying misdemeanors
- Not have been dishonorably discharged from any branch of the military
For applicants who meet these requirements, the first step in the process to becoming a CSPD officer is to fill out an online application, or, if the application process is not currently open, a job interest card to be notified to apply during an open recruiting period. Applicants who meet the minimum requirements will be invited to fill out a personal history questionnaire and take a written test and a physical ability test (PAT). Those who pass the tests will be scheduled for an oral board interview. Continuing applicants must pass a background check, a polygraph exam, and medical and psychological exams. From this point, applicants may be offered conditional employment as CSPD police officers and will be placed in a recruit training class at the police academy.
If you are ready to apply to the CSPD, you can find specific application information on the Colorado Springs Police Department website. For more information about how to become a cop in a typical big city, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page.
Colorado Springs Police Department Training Academy
The Colorado Springs Police Department Training Academy is nationally accredited and is responsible for preparing all new recruits to work as full-time, sworn officers in the CSPD. Only recruits offered employment by the department may attend the 26-week academy. The training program consists of demanding physical training as well as rigorous academic coursework. During classroom hours, cadets learn the fundamentals of criminal justice and the criminal justice system; arrest, search, and seizure; risk assessment; community policing; police tactics; and other critical skills for law enforcement officers. At the conclusion of the academy, recruits must pass the Colorado Peace Officer Standards Test before becoming a sworn officer.
Colorado Springs Police Department Information
The CSPD has been in operation since 1872.4 The modern department is comprised of two main divisions: the Patrol Bureau, which is divided into five patrol divisions responsible for patrolling the city and responding to calls of residents, and the Operations Support Bureau. The latter is further divided into specialized enforcement units including investigations, management, professional standards, and vice, narcotics, and intelligence.
The CSPD is currently combating an unusual increase in crime rates across the city, with incidents in 2017 outpacing incidents in 2016 by wide margins.5 The city of Colorado Springs has also seen a disturbing recent increase in fatal traffic-related crashes; the CSPD has pointed to speeding, drunk driving, and aggressive driving as culprits in many of these incidents.6
The CSPD believes in a community policing model based on relationships with the public. The Citizens’ Academy is one way that residents of Colorado Springs can get involved with and learn more about the CSPD. The academy teaches participants all about what the department does and is free to attend. Younger residents can participate in the Teen Academy to learn about the department and what it means to be a cop.
Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook
New recruits to the CSPD earn $4,271 per month.4 Once a new recruit has finished training and begins working as a sworn officer, the base salary goes up to $4,706 per month.4 Cops receive a pay increase on each anniversary of the hire date up to three years of service, at which time an officer’s salary is $6,462 per month.4 On average, a police officer in Colorado Springs earns $68,980 annually.2 The benefits that cops with the CSPD can expect to receive include health insurance, a wellness program, paid vacation, sick, and personal days, and tuition reimbursement. CSPD officers also participate in the statewide defined benefit pension plan.
The outlook for new jobs in law enforcement in Colorado is promising for those hoping to get into this line of work. Jobs growth for Colorado police is projected to be 13% through 2026, which translates to an average of 126 new positions opening up each year.7 For more information on current CSPD law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board page.
- Colorado Springs Police Protective Association – The CSPPA serves both sworn and civilian officers in the Colorado Springs Police Department by advocating for benefits and workplace protections.
- Police Foundation of Colorado Springs – The Police Foundation of Colorado Springs is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote excellence in the local law enforcement profession while improving public safety.
1. Data USA, Colorado Springs, CO: https://datausa.io/profile/geo/colorado-springs-co/
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Colorado Springs, CO: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_17820.htm#33-0000
3. US News & World Report Best Places to Live: https://realestate.usnews.com/places/colorado/colorado-springs/crime
4. Colorado Springs Police Department: https://coloradosprings.gov/police-department
5. KRDO, “Colorado Springs Police Department Violent Crime Stats Significantly Higher in 2017,” 25 Jan. 2018: https://www.krdo.com/news/crime/colorado-springs-police-department-violent-crime-stats-significantly-higher-in-2017/691403220
6. KKTV 11 News, “Colorado Springs on Route for Deadliest Year on Roads,” 20 Aug. 2018: https://www.kktv.com/content/news/Colorado-Springs-on-route-for-deadliest-year–491273771.html
7. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm