How to Become a Police Officer in El Paso
Located in western Texas, El Paso has a population of over 683,000.1 El Paso has a lower than average violent crime rate for a big city, with a 2016 average of 363.4 violent crimes per 100,000 people.2 El Paso is also an affordable place to live; the cost of living is about 16% lower than the national average.3 The El Paso Police Department, which employs over 1,000 sworn officers, works to keep residents and visitors safe within the 256.3 square miles of its patrol area.4 Men and women who want to join the El Paso Police Department will find information on the application, selection and training process below.
El Paso Police Officer Requirements
The El Paso Police Department (EPPD) uses a competitive selection process to screen and hire prospective police officers. The process begins with meeting the department’s minimum qualifications for hire. To become a law enforcement officer in El Paso, applicants must:
- Be 21 years of age with a high school diploma or GED and at least 12 semester hours from an accredited college or university OR be 18 years of age with a high school diploma or GED and hold an associate’s degree
- Be a US or naturalized citizen
- Possess a valid driver’s license and liability insurance
- Not have been convicted of three or more moving violations and/or motor vehicle accidents (at fault) within the past three years
- Not have been on court-ordered community supervision or probation for any offense above a class B misdemeanor nor for a class B misdemeanor within the past ten years
- Not have been convicted of any court offense involving family violence
- Not have been dishonorably discharged from the military
Applicants who meet these qualifications must first complete an online application through the EPPD recruiting website. Qualifying applicants will be contacted to schedule the written examination, which consists of three parts: Situational Judgment and Human Relations, Written Report Writing, and a multiple-choice reading test. Applicants who pass the written exam will next complete a job simulation physical agility test. After successfully completing the job simulation test, applicants must undergo a background investigation and polygraph examination, as well as a structured oral interview. Those who are still in the selection process at this stage will complete medical, psychological, and physical exams. Applicants must also pass a drug test. The EPPD will invite the top-performing applicants to an upcoming police academy class as recruits.
For more information about becoming a law enforcement officer in a big city, check out 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page.
El Paso Police Department Training Academy
The El Paso Police Department Training Academy offers a 30-week training curriculum that all EPPD recruits must attend and pass in order to become sworn officers. CrossFit training is the main strength and conditioning program used at the academy. Prospective officers also learn skills in subjects including defensive tactics, investigations, report writing, and police vehicle operations. Recruits typically attend the training academy Monday through Friday during normal work hours, though some night and weekend hours are required. Police academy cohorts are typically started each February and June.
El Paso Police Department Information
The EPPD has five regional commands, each with its own Commander and special units. Due to the rate of population growth in El Paso, the department is currently evaluating adding a sixth command center.4 Law enforcement officers can apply to work with one of the department’s many units, some of which include: cybercrimes, special, victims unit, Mexico liaison, homeland security, narcotics, vice, SWAT, and aviation.
As part of its community policing model, the EPPD has created a Community Advisory Board to serve as a liaison between the community and law enforcement. Each Regional Command has its own community advisory board. El Paso encourages neighborhood watch groups to be the eyes and ears of the community and to help keep community members safe. The EPPD has a Police Explorers Program for youth looking to learn more about police operation and training. It is paid for by the El Paso Police Foundation.
Hopeful cops and curious citizens wishing to participate in the EPPD’s ride-along program may contact an officer at any regional command center for more information.
Department Contact Information
Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook
During police training, El Paso police recruits are paid an hourly wage of $16.60 per hour.5 Sworn officers start at a base salary of $42,047 per year and receive annual step increases up to $48,674 per year after four years.5 Officers who qualify for promotion to advanced officer/detective can make between $51,108 and $59,164 per year; after nine years with the department, an EPPD officer’s base salary starts at $60,939.5 On average, El Paso police earn $66,010 per year.6
Benefits for police officers in El Paso include health, dental, vision, and life insurance, paid vacations and holidays, and a tuition assistance program for higher education. EPPD police officers also participate in a pension plan in which the city will contribute up to three times the officer’s individual contribution each pay period, to a maximum of 18.5% of the officer’s salary.5 Officers are eligible to retire after reaching the age of 50 and providing 25 years of service.
The number of cops in Texas is projected to increase by 16.4% through 2026, creating an average of 1,045 new law enforcement jobs per year.7 The exact number of police officers recruited and hired depend on the city’s budget and the police officer retirements and resignations during that period. To view open listings for police officers in El Paso, visit our jobs board page.
Cities and Police Departments Near El Paso
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 1,700 police and sheriff’s patrol officers employed in the El Paso area, excluding federal law enforcement.6 This indicates that there are opportunities for aspiring police in the smaller towns surrounding El Paso for those who desire a less urban environment. The following table outlines police employment and crime rates in the El Paso metro.
|City||Force Name/Abbreviation||City Population8||Police Dept. Total Employees9||Sworn Officers9||Civilian Staff9||Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People10||Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People10|
|El Paso||El Paso Police Department (EPPD)||682,669||1,236||1,013||223||0.39||1.81|
|Las Cruces (NM)||Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD)||101,712||256||182||74||0.25||4.7|
|Socorro||Socorro Police Department (SPD)||34,048||41||29||12||0.13||0.89|
- Texas Commission on Law Enforcement: The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, or TCOLE, is responsible for setting standards for police officers and departments statewide. TCOLE also administers basic and advanced police training and certification exams.
- El Paso Municipal Police Officers’ Association: The El Paso Municipal Police Officers’ Association provides networking and professional development for its member officers, as well as life insurance, legal support, and other benefits.
1. Data USA, El Paso, TX: https://datausa.io/profile/geo/el-paso-tx/
2. US News & World Report, Best Places to Live, El Paso, TX: https://realestate.usnews.com/places/texas/el-paso/crime
3. Sperling’s Best Places, El Paso, TX: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/texas/el_paso
4. El Paso Police Department: https://www.elpasotexas.gov/police-department
5. El Paso Police Department Salary and Benefits: https://www.joineppd.com/salary-benefits.php
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, El Paso, TX: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_21340.htm
7. Projections Central: https://www.projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm
8. US Census Bureau, QuickFacts: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045221
9. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Full-time Law Enforcement Employees by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-26/table-26.xls/view
10. Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports, Offenses Known to Law Enforcement by State by City: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-6/table-6.xls/view