How to Become a Police Officer in Indianapolis
An estimated 853,000 people call Indianapolis home.1 Indianapolis has a low cost of living, at nearly 10% below the national average.1 However, Indianapolis also has higher violent crime and property crime rates than the US average as well as the average for similarly-sized cities.2 To combat crime, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) employs approximately 1,600 sworn officers and 250 civilian support staff.3 Prospective police officers in the city of Indianapolis can read about the city’s application and selection process, along with the training required, below.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer Requirements
Before applying to become a cop in Indianapolis, hopeful recruits in Indianapolis should first make sure they meet the basic requirements. To apply to be a cop at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, applicants must:
- Be a US citizen
- Be at least 21 years old and younger than 36
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Be a resident of Marion County, Indiana or one of the seven adjoining counties
- Not have any misdemeanor convictions of domestic violence
- Not have ever been arrested for or convicted of a felony
- Not have been dishonorably discharged from the military
The requirements to be screened for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department involve ten steps. Applicants must complete a preliminary application, after which they may be invited to take a written examination and complete an oral interview. Next, candidates must pass a physical agility test. Candidates who pass will complete a polygraph exam and a background investigation. Those still in the screening process at this stage will undergo a medical examination, a psychological examination, and a drug screening. Finally, approved applicants will be invited to attend training at the police academy as IMPD recruits.
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.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Law Enforcement Training Academy
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Law Enforcement Training Academy is one of the best in the state. Recruits attend the academy for 24 weeks, which includes 932 hours of training, in subjects such as administration, criminal justice, human behavior, law, emergency response, and police skills. Prospective officers do not live at the Academy, but attend Mondays through Fridays, mainly between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM. Once they complete the academy, officers enter the Field Training Officer Program.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Information
Established in 2007, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is a consolidated department that consists of the former Indianapolis Police Department and the former law enforcement division of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. The department functions with six policing districts, including an investigations division, traffic enforcement operations, and a variety of special units.
The IMPD offers numerous outreach programs for the community in which they serve. The Police Athletic League (PAL) Club offers youth services and the Explorer Program is sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America and allows youth a chance to explore a career in law enforcement. They also offer a Bears on Patrol program, which attempts to reduce the trauma suffered by children who are victims of abuse, a Body Safety Program, which empowers children to protect themselves, and a Gun Safety Program for 2nd and 3rd graders.
Department Contact Information
Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook
As recruits and probationary officers, Indianapolis police earn an annual salary of $39,446 per year.3 During their second year of service, police officers receive an increase to an annual salary of $47,651, which rises to $65,452 after three years.3 On average, Indianapolis police officers earn an average of $58,720 per year.4 Law enforcement officers at the IMPD enjoy benefits like take-home cars, overtime pay, vacation and sick leave, insurance, a pension, and deferred compensation.
The outlook for police officers in Indiana is positive, with 7.5% growth expected in the field through 2026, or 87 new jobs per year.5 With its relatively low cost of living, Indianapolis could be a good place for aspiring cops to make their home. For more information on current IMPD law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board page.
Cities and Police Departments Near Indianapolis
According to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 3,990 police and sheriff’s patrol officers working in the Indianapolis metro.4 For those seeking police work who would prefer a suburban environment, the towns surrounding Indianapolis can provide competitive law enforcement opportunities. The following table compares police employment and crime rates for cities in the Indianapolis area.
|City||Force Name/Abbreviation||City Population6||Police Dept. Total Employees7,8,9,10||Sworn Officers7,8,9,10||Civilian Staff7,8,9,10||Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People11||Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People11|
|Anderson||Anderson Police Department (APD)||55,076||N/A||74||N/A||0.44||4.17|
|Bloomington||Bloomington Police Department (BPD)||85,071||150||100||50||0.44||3.18|
|Carmel||Carmel Police Department (CPD)||92,198||139||115||25||0.03||0.87|
|Indianapolis||Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD)||867,125||1,806||1,612||194||1.37||4.79|
- Indiana Fraternal Order of Police: The Indiana Fraternal Order of Police provides memorial and family support for law enforcement officers statewide.
- Indianapolis Police Foundation: The Indianapolis Police Foundation works to support traumatically injured police and their families and also works to build community relationships that enhance the public’s perception of police and police work.
- Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police: The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police is a professional organization that advocates for police officers employed in the Indianapolis metro.
1. Sperling’s Best Places, Indianapolis, IN: https://www.bestplaces.net/city/indiana/indianapolis
2. US News & World Report, Best Places to Live, Indianapolis, IN: https://realestate.usnews.com/places/indiana/indianapolis/crime
3. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department: https://www.indy.gov/agency/indianapolis-metropolitan-police-department
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2017 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_26900.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. Anderson Police Department: https://www.cityofanderson.com/661/Uniform-Division
9. Bloomington Police Department: https://bloomington.in.gov/departments/police
10. Carmel Police Department: http://www.carmel.in.gov/home/showdocument?id=10651
11. 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