How to Become a Police Officer in Columbus

Columbus is the capital city of Ohio and has a population of over 820,000 people.1 The city has a vibrant arts scene featuring several galleries and museums, theaters like the historic Lincoln Theatre, ballet companies, film screenings, and more. With a cost of living that is 18% lower than the national average, Columbus would be a great city for law enforcement officers to call home.2

To learn more about the application, selection and training process for the Columbus Police Division continue reading below.

Columbus Police Officer Requirements

The Columbus Police Division (CPD) offers a competitive salary and benefits package. The annual salary for a cop starts at $50,585 and increases to $77,459.20 after four years on the job.3 The CPD has six subdivisions: the investigative bureau, the administration bureau, homeland security bureau, patrol south, patrol north, and support services bureau. To join the CPD, candidates must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Have no visible piercing (ears are acceptable) or tattoos on the head, neck or hands
  • Have no felony convictions or domestic violence convictions within the past 10 years

For a full list of automatic disqualifiers, click here.

Potential law enforcement officers must pass a multiple choice exam, submit a writing sample, take the Columbus Oral Police Exam (COPE), and pass a physical fitness test. Candidates must also undergo a background investigation, polygraph exam, and a medical evaluation. Lastly, hopeful law enforcement officers must be interviewed by an oral review board.

For additional information about becoming a law enforcement officer in a big city, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page.

Chief Kim Jacobs was promoted to Chief of Police in 2012. She has a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Ohio State University. Chief Jacobs has over 35 years of law enforcement experience with the CPD. Chief Jacobs was the first woman to be promoted to Commander in 1995 and subsequently to Police Chief.

Columbus Police Department Information

The CPD is separated into five zones and has 20 precincts within each zone.4 As of 2013, the division had 1,848 sworn officers and 369 civilian personnel.5 Future law enforcement officers can join one of the CPD’s specialized teams which include:

  • Bicycle officers
  • Crisis intervention
  • Community response
  • Dive team members
  • Field training officers
  • Hostage negotiators
  • SWAT team

Columbus Police Training Academy

CPD recruits are trained at the Chief James G. Jackson Columbus Police Academy and Regional Training Center in Columbus. Recruits attend over 1,000 hours of basic training at the Academy. For six months, recruits train in topics including defensive tactics, patrol operations, law and legal procedures, criminal investigation and firearms, physical training, human relations and applied behavioral science.6 Upon completion, recruits must complete 15 weeks of field training.5

Columbus Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

There are 4,840 law enforcement officers employed by the city of Columbus.7 By 2016, it is projected that the number of cops in Ohio will increase by 0.6%, resulting in an additional 750 job openings by 2016.8 Between now and 2018, projections show that there will be about 52 job openings per year in Ohio.9 Projections show that nationally, 5.9% more law enforcement officers will be hired within the next seven years.10 The number of new cops hired by the Columbus Police Division is largely dependent on the city’s budget and the number of retirements and resignations.

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

More Information on the Columbus Police Department and Crime

Columbus residents can get involved in the Citizen Police Academy, offered in Spanish and English. The Citizen Police Academy is nine weeks and covers CPD’s community policing philosophy and gives citizens more information about the operation of the police department. The Columbus Police Explorers is a program for youth from ages 14 to 18. Explorers also learn about daily police work and compete in national conferences. There are many other opportunities for community involvement.

CPD has a ride-along program available for adults and Police Explorers to interact with officers and ride in cruisers during any shift. To schedule a ride-along, contact the Columbus Police Patrol Administration at 614-645-4580 or complete the ride-along form.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColumbusPolice?ref=ts
Twitter: @ColumbusPolice

Columbus Police Department Headquarters
120 Marconi Blvd
Columbus, OH 43215

Additional Resources

1. US Census Bureau, Columbus, Ohio: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/columbuscityohio,US/PST045217
2. Sperling’s Best Places, Columbus, Ohio: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/ohio/columbus
3. Columbus Police Division: https://www.columbus.gov/police/
4. Columbus Police Division Precincts: https://www.columbus.gov/police-precinctsmap/
5. Columbus Division of Police, 2013 Annual Report: https://www.columbus.gov/workarea/downloadasset.aspx?id=66688
6. Columbus Police Division, Selection Process: https://www.columbus.gov/police-officer/selection-process/step-eight/
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Columbus, Ohio: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_18140.htm
8. 2018 Ohio Job Outlook: http://ohiolmi.com/proj/projections/edr/EDR4.pdf
9. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm