How to Become a Police Officer in Miami

The Miami Police Force goes back to 1896 and since then, the department has gained a reputation for its professional law enforcement tactics as well as its expertise in police technology. Currently, there are 1,054 officers on active duty and the city is actively recruiting new candidates for service.1

In order to become a Miami cop, there are a number of requirements to fulfill. In fact, like most cities, there are quite a few strict stipulations required of candidates before they are eligible to enter the city’s police training program.These requirements are outlined in detail below.

Miami City Police Officer Requirements

miami-policeAt the time of hire, all Miami police applicants must be a US citizen, at least 19 years old and have proof of a high school diploma, GED or degree from a US Department of Education-approved college or university. Additionally, all police candidates must have a valid Florida Class E driver’s license at the time of hire.

For physical requirements, there are a number of physical tests applicants must take as part of the process. There is a Physical Agility Test and a toxicology screening as well as a post-offer medical examination. However, in order to be eligible for testing, applicants must have 20/50 vision in each eye, separately and without corrective methods. Alternatively, with glasses or lenses, vision can be corrected to an acceptable 20/30. Color blindness automatically disqualifies a candidate from pursuing the police recruit program in Miami.

Candidates must submit to a polygraph examination and fingerprint check as well as a rigorous background investigation. Candidates will be disqualified from the application process if they have been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors. In the case of simple charges, each individual situation will be judged on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, anyone who has received a dishonorable discharge from any of the US Armed Forces division is not eligible for the MPD.

Examinations Required for Miami Police Recruits

In addition to the requirements listed above, candidates must take and pass a number of written and physical exams. First, applicants must pass the Florida Basic Abilities Test (FBAT), which can be taken at the Miami Dade College, North Campus. It is a multiple-choice written examination consisting of 104 questions that measure an applicant’s ability to learn the essential job duties and responsibilities of a Miami law enforcement or correctional officer. In some cases, candidates that submit proof of successful completion of the CJBAT or the FDLE Police examination may also be accepted.

For more information, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our homepage. Further application information can be found in the career section of the Miami Police Department’s website.

The current Commissioner of the Miami Police Department is Marc Sarnoff. Mr. Sarnoff has been working in Miami Law Enforcement since he retired from his career as an aviation lawyer. He graduated from the University of Tampa in with a BA in Criminology with honors and continued his education in a LLM program in admiralty at Tulane University.

Miami Police Department Information

The Miami Police Department operates five distinct field operations: the north district, central district, south district, specialized operations and community relations. Additionally, there are 27 special units within the Miami Police Department including: Auto Theft, Missing Persons, Narcotics, Aviation Patrol, Bike Patrol, Burglary, Crime Scene Investigation, Training, Recruitment & Selection, Dive Team, Domestic Violence, K-9, Gang Unit, Homicide, SWAT, Marine Patrol, Intelligence & Terrorism, Bomb Squad, Motors, Mounted Patrol, Police Athletic League, Community Involvement, Robbery, Special Investigations Section, Special Victims, Youth Relations, and Field Training Officer.

Miami Police Training Academy

The Basic Law Enforcement Training Curriculum for Miami includes roughly 770 hours of training in multi-disciplinary categories and takes up to six months. Over these six months, candidates receive job related training and performance standards required for basic entry level police work. At the end of the program, candidates must pass all of the state mandated exams for each of their high liability courses.

For more information on Miami recruit hiring and the police academy training process, consult the information found at the Miami PD Career Office.

Miami Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

The Miami Police Department has faced a number of budget cuts over the last few years, which has affected the number of recruits hired for service. In fact, in the past three years, the police department has been operating with 40 to 100 fewer officers than years prior.2 However, recently in late 2013, the city’s commissioners approved a new budget that provides for 35 new police officers for the upcoming fiscal year and in October 2013, 13 new recruits were recently sworn in.3

The current pay for a certified police officer in Miami is $48,765 and the department routinely offers supplemental pay as well as annual pay increases. Miami officers also receive $2,700 Crime Prevention Pay added to base salary as well as Special Assignment Pay and various promotional opportunities.4

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

More Information on the Miami Police Department and Crime

The Miami PD is very active in many community programs. One of their more successful programs is the Citizens on Patrol Detail, which encourages active citizen involvement to help fight local crime. Through the department’s “Community Policing philosophy” the police department and local residents often work together to improve local neighborhoods.

In fact, in 2010, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) presented a special award to the MPD for its community policing initiatives aimed at improving homeland security. The Department was singled out from over 18,000 police departments across the US.5

Contact Information:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/City-of-Miami-Police-Department-Official/534192640004617
Twitter: @MiamiPD

Miami Police Department
400 NW 2nd Avenue
Miami, Florida 33128
(305) 603-6640
Email: mptc@miami-police.org

Additional Resources:

1. Miami Fraternal Order of Police: http://www.fopmiami.com/
2. Florida Department of Law Enforcement: http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/cms/home.aspx

1. FBI.gov: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/78tabledatadecpdf/table-78-state-cuts/table_78_full_time_law_enforcement_employees_florida_by_city_2012.xls
2. WLRN: http://www.wlrn.org/post/why-city-miami-finds-it-hard-hire-new-cops
3. CBS Miami: http://miami.cbslocal.com/2013/10/07/more-than-a-dozen-new-miami-police-officers-sworn-in/
4. City of Miami: http://www.miamigov.com/employeerel/pages/PORecruitment/PO_Wages_Benefits.asp
5. Miami Police Department: http://www.miami-police.org/docs/20100927%20Miami%20Police%20recognized%20by%20IACP.pdf
6. Miami Police Department: http://www.miami-police.org/
7. The City of Miami: http://www.miamigov.com

Image credit: Adam First