How to Become a Police Officer in Fort Worth
Fort Worth is one of the largest metros in the state of Texas and is the 16th-largest city in the United States with a population of over 833,000 people.1,2 As part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro, Fort Worth is a major tourist destination in Texas. With a cost of living below the national average, Fort Worth can be a great place for future cops to begin a career.2 The Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) employs approximately 1,700 sworn and 500 civilian staff, with a jurisdiction covering over 353 square miles.1 Individuals wishing to become a part of the Fort Worth Police Department will find information on the application, selection, and training process below.
Fort Worth Police Officer Requirements
Prospective Fort Worth law enforcement officers must undergo a rigorous selection and hiring process. To become a member of the FWPD, hopeful candidates must:
- Be between 21 and 44 years of age
- Be a US citizen
- Have a high school diploma OR GED and 12 semester hours of college
- Possess a valid class “C” driver’s license
- Live within 30 minutes of designated station (within six months of employment)
- Have no convictions or court-related community supervision or parole for any offense above a class B misdemeanor
- Not have been convicted of a family violence offense
All potential cops who meet the qualifications above must pass a written test, a physical assessment test, a background check, a psychological exam, a polygraph exam, a medical exam, and an oral interview. The most competitive applicants will be offered conditional employment and will attend an upcoming recruit training class at the Fort Worth Police Academy before becoming sworn officers. For more information about becoming a law enforcement officer in a big city like Fort Worth, check out 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page.
Fort Worth Police Training Academy
All potential law enforcement officers must attend basic training at the FWPD Training Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The 32-week academy trains recruits on federal, state and local laws, defensive tactics, the use of firearms and TASERs, police driving, and community service and orientation.1 In late 2017, the FWPD was over its budgeted strength for sworn officers and announced that it did not plan to run any police academies in 2018.3 The number of police officers recruited and hired in future years ultimately depends on the city’s budget and priorities and the number of police officer retirements and resignations.
Fort Worth Police Department Information
The FWPD has three bureaus: the support bureau, the finance and personnel bureau, and police administration. The FWPD’s Patrol Division has two commands, the North Command and the South Command. The North Command is responsible for the Central, North, and West divisions and the South Command is responsible for the East, South, and Traffic divisions. The two commands are further segmented into 20 zones across the city. The FWPD’s Traffic Division has 93 sworn officers and four units: traffic investigation, radar and freeway, midnight shift, and the motorcycle unit. The Investigative Services division of the FWPD has two units: fugitive and human trafficking. Other units FWPD cops can work for include intelligence, K-9, and narcotics.
The FWPD has a focus on community engagement. The FWPD holds several public meetings throughout the year, some of which include public safety forums, diversity forums, deaf and hard of hearing forums, and youth forums. City residents can volunteer for Citizens on Patrol, a group similar to a neighborhood watch that works with neighborhood police officers to solve crimes in the area. The FWPD also conducts Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training which teaches citizens basic emergency response protocols and actions. The FWPD also offers a 12-week Citizens Police Academy for residents to learn more about police operations.
Hopeful cops or curious citizens will find that participating in the FWPD’s Ride-In program can give them a closer look at the daily duties of a police officer. Participants must be at least 16 to go on a ride-in and must have a parent or legal guardian signature if under age 18. Individuals may contact any patrol division for more information or to schedule a ride-in.
Department Contact Information
Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook
Over 15,800 cops are employed in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro, with an average salary of $69,020 per year.4 In Forth Worth, recruits receive a salary of $3,337 per month during training and a salary of $54,312 per year upon graduation.1 The FWPD offers additional monthly incentive pay to bilingual officers as well as to officers with college degrees. Officers also receive life and health insurance, paid vacations and holidays, and sick leave. All officers participate in the Fort Worth Employees’ Retirement Fund, which takes a deduction of 8.25% of their salary with a 19.74% contribution from the city (an 8.73%/20.46% option is also available).1 Officers are typically eligible for retirement at 65 years of age or after 25 years of service.
The number of cops in Texas is projected to increase by 16.4% through 2026, with an estimated 1,045 new job openings per year.5 To view open listings for police officers in Fort Worth, visit our jobs board page.
Cities and Police Departments Near Fort Worth
There are numerous police departments in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, employing an estimated 14,840 police and sheriff’s patrol officers.4 This indicates that beyond the Dallas and Fort Worth PDs, there are various suburban and rural departments where police officers can find rewarding opportunities. The below table compares police employment and crime data by city in the Fort Worth area.
|City||Force Name/Abbreviation||City Population6||Police Dept. Total Employees7,8||Sworn Officers7,8||Civilian Staff7,8||Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People9||Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People9|
|Arlington||Arlington Police Department (APD)||396,394||856||661||195||0.55||3.1|
|Burleson||Burleson Police Department (BPD)||46,145||82||61||21||0.18||1.8|
|Dallas||Dallas Police Department (DPD)||1,345,047||3,829||3,279||550||0.75||3.34|
|Grapevine||Grapevine Police Department (GPD)||53,982||146||N/A||N/A||0.16||2.3|
|Fort Worth||Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD)||895,008||2,007||1,566||441||0.5||3.14|
|Irving||Irving Police Department (IPD)||240,373||482||330||152||0.22||2.7|
- Texas Commission on Law Enforcement: Also known as TCOLE, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement is responsible for setting standards for police departments, academies, and officers statewide.
- The Fraternal Order of Police Texas State Lodge: This membership-driven organization serves active and retired officers across the state of Texas by working to improve wages, benefits, and safety for officers in the line of duty.
1. Fort Worth Police Department: https://police.fortworthtexas.gov/
2. Sperling’s Best Places, Fort Worth: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/texas/fort_worth
3. NBC Dallas-Forth Worth. “Fort Worth Police Department Is Overstaffed,” 3 Nov. 2017: https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/fort-worth-police-department-is-overstaffed/45437/
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_19100.htm
5. Projections Central: https://www.projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm
6. US Census Bureau, QuickFacts: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045221
7. 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
8. Grapevine Police Department: https://www.grapevinetexas.gov/448/Learn-About-Us
9. 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