How to Become a Police Officer in Denver

The Denver Police Department is a well-respected law enforcement agency that has always been a popular choice due to the high quality of life the city of Denver offers. However, over the last few years, the department has lost quite a few officers who have retired and left the force. In order to increase the number of Denver cops in the department, the city is actively recruiting qualified candidates.

Anyone looking to become a Denver police officer must fulfill a long list of basic requirements as well as a number of physical and mental examinations. Once approved for the city’s police training academy, new recruits will face a rigorous training program before being eligible for active service. The steps to becoming a Denver cop are described in detail on this page.

Denver Police Officer Requirements

The Denver Police administration building

The Denver Police administration building

Like most major cities, Denver requires all police candidates to be a US citizen, at least 21 years old and hold a high school diploma or a G.E.D. All candidates are also required to be registered residents of Colorado and hold a valid driver’s license by the time of hire.

Additionally, applicants are subjected to an extensive background check and a polygraph test upon applying for employment. Any prior offense may come under scrutiny, but specific criminal charges can be an automatic disqualifier. For example, any candidate with a felony charge on record is not eligible to become a Denver cop. Additional disqualifiers are any serious behavioral charges such as domestic violence, cruelty to animals, resisting arrest, etc. Candidates must have no DUI charges within in the last five years and no illegal drug use in three years. Any major traffic violations within the last seven years may also disqualify a candidate.

Examinations Required for Denver Police Recruits

The Denver Civil Service Commission oversees the hiring and testing process for Denver police recruits. The process does include a number of mental, physical and psychological examinations before and during the police academy training.

The first test for new recruits is the Entry Level Police Officer Exam, which is a written exam that candidates are required to pass before entering the police academy. For more information on the testing schedule, please consult the Civil Service Commission.

Once the written test is passed, candidates will be subjected to a polygraph test, followed by an interview with a psychologist. At this point, an evaluation will be made on the candidate’s potential to join the force. Once the background check comes through, all approved candidates will be placed on an Eligible Register and will have to wait until called on by the DPD Departmental Panel Interview. After which point, approved candidates will face a round of medical and psychological evaluations and drug testing. Once this process is complete, eligible recruits may attend the Police Training Academy.

For more information, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our homepage and once you are ready to apply for a position, application information can be found at the Denver Police Department’s Career page.

The current Denver Police Chief is Robert C. White, who was appointed on December 12, 2011. He graduated summa cum laude from University of the District of Columbia with a BA in Public Administration and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavioral Science from Johns Hopkins University. He began his law enforcement career as a D.C. cop and went on to become the chief of police in Greensboro, NC and Louisville, Kentucky before joining the Denver Police Force.

Denver Police Department Information

The Denver Police Department is divided into six districts that cover the parameters of the city. Within those six districts, there are up to three different sectors, which consist of various precincts.

Denver law enforcement has five special operation units that include the following categories:

  • Denver Police Department Mounted Patrol
  • S.W.A.T. team
  • Metro Swat
  • Air Support Unit
  • HALO (High Activity Location Observation) Program

Denver Police Training Academy

Once applicants have met the requirements and been deemed eligible for service, aspiring Denver cops will attend the DPD Training Academy. New recruits enter as recruit officers and graduate as “police officer 4th class.”

Once these new recruits have more than three years of service, they are classified as “police officer 1st class.”

Entry level recruit training runs about 26 weeks. During this time, recruits will endure intense training, both academically and physically. The intensive schedule focuses on academics, physical fitness, defensive tactical strategies, firearms training, courtroom testimony, crime scene investigations and much more. In order to graduate from the DPD, candidates must pass a field training program to be certified as a solo patrol officer.

For more information on Denver recruit hiring and the police academy training process, consult the information found at the office of the Denver Civil Service Commission.

Denver Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

The average annual salary of a Denver Patrol Officer is $67,940.1 Pay increases as well as various promotional opportunities are common within the department. As of November 2017, the department is hiring and asks interested candidates to submit a Candidate Interest Form via their webiste.2

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

More Information on the Denver Police Department and Crime

Denver has a number of community programs that aim at connecting patrol officers with the community they serve. Programs like the Neighborhood Crime Watch are especially successful in bringing neighbors together with Denver Neighborhood Resource Officers.

Additionally, in an attempt to attract recruits at an early age as well as facilitate a sense of community early one, the Denver Police Department works on a program called the Denver Police Explorers. This program is associated with the Boy Scouts of America and works with young men and women (ages 14-20) who would like to learn more about the Denver law enforcement organization.

Contact Information

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/denverpolice
Twitter Account: @DenverPolice

Denver Police Department
1331 Cherokee Street
Denver, Colorado 80202
(720) 913-6010

Additional Resources

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_19740.htm
2. City of Denver: https://www.denverpolicerecruit.com/
3. Denver Police Department: https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/police-department.html
4. Denver Civil Service Commission: http://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/civil-service-commission.html

Image Credit: Jeffrey Beall