How to Become a Police Officer in Memphis

Memphis is a great city for a cop to begin his or her career. The southern city has a rich musical history and is home to the National Civil Rights Museum. Memphis is also an affordable city. It is 27% cheaper than the average city in the US and housing is 61% cheaper.1 The city has population of over 650,000.2

Men and women wishing to become a part of the Memphis Police Department will find information on the application, selection, and training process below.

Memphis Police Officer Requirements

The Memphis Police Department (MPD) employs more than 2,400 sworn officers and over 400 civilians.3 Within the first three years, MPD cops can earn between $45,170 to $53,573, in addition to being enrolled in the city’s pension plan.3 To join the MPD, potential law enforcement officers must:

  • Be 21 years of age
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Have 54 credit hours from a regionally accredited college or university or two years of continuous active military service with an honorable discharge
  • Have no guilty pleas or felony convictions
  • Be 18 years of age
  • Be a US citizen
  • Pass a background investigation

In addition to meeting the minimum requirements stated above, candidates must pass a physical assessment test and a written exam that tests basic knowledge. Candidates must also pass a psychological exam and a medical assessment.

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. For more recruitment information, visit their applications page.

In 2015, Michael Rallings was appointed as Interim Director Chief to lead the Memphis Police Department. Interim Director Chief Rallings has been with the Memphis Police Department since 1990 and was appointed Deputy Chief in 2009. A native of Memphis, Deputy Chief Rallings earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Shelby State Community College and is a 30-year veteran of the US Army and US Army Reserve.

Memphis Police Department Information

The MPD has nine precincts across the city. Each precinct is broken down into wards where police patrol. The Department has five divisions: administrative, investigative services, uniform patrol I and II, special operations, and information technology. Law enforcement officers can work in crime prevention the organized crime unity, special events, special services, or traffic.

Memphis Police Training Academy

If an applicant meets all of the above requirements and passes the necessary exams, he or she will attend the 21-week Memphis Police Academy(MPD). The Academy is located at the John D. Holt Training Facility. Firearms training occurs at the Andy Allissandratos Firing Range. Basic training for MPD recruits will include physical training, instructional classes, and firearms use and handling. Instructional topics include: criminal law, report writing, principles of investigation, defensive tactics, police vehicle operations and firearms training.

Over 140 applicants will attend the 120th basic recruit session. The Department plans to hire 300 new cops by 2017.4

Memphis Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

Nearly 3,500 cops are employed in the Memphis metropolitan area and they earn an average annual salary of $46,360.5. The number of cops in Tennessee is projected to increase by 10.9% between now and 2022, creating an average of 490 annual law enforcement openings.6 The exact number of police officers recruited and hired depends on the city’s budget and priorities and the number of police officers who retire during the year.

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

More Information on the Memphis Police Department and Crime

The MPD has several community programs, including Neighborhood Watch and National Night Out, events across the city to increase community awareness about cops. The Department offers a Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA) to provide community members with a better understanding of police operations. The Citizen’s Police Academy is a 9-week course designed to familiarize citizens with police policies, daily duties of cops, and help reduce their chances of crime victimization. While in the CPA, participants may ride-along with active police officers. The Academy also teaches citizens how to file a police report. One of the CPA goals is to enable more citizens to serve as liaisons between the community and the MPD.

The Clergy Police Academy (CLPA) was developed in response to a meeting with the police director and local ministers in the city. The CPLA is a five-week training academy that exposes members of the faith-based community to law enforcement problems that directly affect clergy members and their parishioners.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mpd1827
Twitter: @mpdMemphis

Memphis Police Department Headquarters
201 Poplar Ave
Memphis, TN 38103

Additional Resources

1. Sperling’s Best Places, Memphis, TN: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/city/tennessee/memphis
2. US Census Bureau, Memphis, TN: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/memphiscitytennessee/PST045217
3. Memphis Police Department: http://www.memphispolice.org/
4. MPD: 140 applicants to attend the 120th Basic Recuit Session: http://wreg.com/2015/05/21/mpd-140-applicants-to-attend-the-120th-basic-recruit-session/
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Memphis, TN: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_32820.htm#33-0000
6. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm