How to Become a Police Officer in Miami
The City of Miami Police Department’s history dates 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. While the city’s crime rates have been on a downward trend since 2011, Miami does have higher than average rates of violent and property crimes.1,2 To combat crime, the Miami Police Department employs approximately 1,600 sworn and civilian employees.2 The requirements for becoming a cop in the city of Miami, the hiring process, and more information about Miami PD careers are outlined in detail below.
Miami Police Officer Requirements
In order to become a Miami cop, there are a number of requirements to fulfill. At the time of hire, all Miami police applicants must:
- Be a US citizen
- Be at least 19 years old
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Possess a valid Florida Class E driver’s license
- Have 20/50 vision in each eye separately and without corrective methods or have corrected vision to 20/30
- Not be colorblind
- Not have any felony convictions or convictions for disqualifying misdemeanors
- Not have been dishonorably discharged from the US Armed Forces
Candidates who meet these requirements must first pass the Florida Basic Abilities Test (FBAT), which can be taken at the Miami Dade College, North Campus. The FBAT 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. Qualified candidates who submit an application to the Miami PD after passing the exam will be invited to attend an orientation. Candidates next proceed with the Physical Agility Test. Applicants who pass the agility test must undergo a thorough background investigation, which includes a polygraph examination and fingerprint-based criminal history check. Finally, applicants undergo a toxicology screening as well as a post-offer medical examination. Top-performing candidates will be invited to the Miami police academy for recruit training.
For more information, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our homepage. Further application information can be found in the careers section of the Miami Police Department’s website.
Miami Police Department Academy
The Miami Police Department Academy 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 police work. Training modules include the fundamentals of patrol, legal studies, criminal investigations, traffic stops, first aid, and firearms and defensive tactics. At the end of the program, candidates must pass all of the state-mandated exams for each of their courses in order to be sworn in as Miami police officers.
Miami Police Department Information
The Miami Police Department operates five field units: the north district, central district, south district, specialized operations, and community relations. Additionally, there are 27 special units within the Miami Police Department including Narcotics, Aviation Patrol, K-9, Gang Unit, Intelligence & Terrorism, and Special Investigations. Officers must typically gain experience in patrol before becoming eligible to apply to specialized units.
While the Miami Police Department has made progress in combating crime, the department has been investigated by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in recent years over the use of excessive force, including officer-involved shootings and allegations of police brutality, many of which were not promptly investigated.3 As a result, the Miami Police Department has a judicial oversight settlement agreement with the DOJ that calls for reforms within the department to reduce the number of use of force incidents, including through enhanced training and community monitoring, and improve the department’s investigative processes for similar incidents.4
The Miami PD is active in implementing community-based 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 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.1
Department Contact Information
Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook
During training and probation, Miami police officers earn a starting annual salary of $48,655.5 Once officers have been sworn in and have completed the probationary period, the salary rises to $51,088, with further annual increases up to a maximum of $85,910 per year.5 The department routinely offers supplemental pay such as overtime, an annual $2,700 crime prevention pay incentive, special assignment pay, and various promotional opportunities.5 All officers also receive vacation and sick leave, health and life insurance, and a four day/10 hour shifts workweek. Officers may elect to save for retirement through the City of Miami Fire Fighters’ and Police Officers’ Retirement Trust.
The average annual salary for Miami metro area police officers is $69,330.6 Job growth for Florida law enforcement officers is expected to continue on a positive trend, with projections calling for a 12.9% increase in employment through 2026.7 For more information on current Miami law enforcement positions, take a look at our state job board page.
- Miami Fraternal Order of Police – The Miami Fraternal Order of Police advocates for City of Miami police officers and offers member benefits such as an assistance trust and scholarships.
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement publishes standards for police officers statewide and is the primary agency in charge of setting training minimums and establishing training curriculums for law enforcement in Florida at both the basic and advanced levels.
1. Miami Police Department: http://www.miami-police.org
2. US News & World Report Best Places to Live, Miami, FL: https://realestate.usnews.com/places/florida/miami/crime
3. US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Report on DOJ Investigation of the City of Miami Police Department: https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/crt/legacy/2013/07/09/miami_findings_7-9-13.pdf
4. US Department of Justice, “Justice Department Reaches Agreement with the City of Miami and the Miami Police Department to Implement Reforms on Officer-Involved Shootings,” 25 Feb. 2016: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-reaches-agreement-city-miami-and-miami-police-department-implement-reforms
5. City of Miami: http://www.miamigov.com/employeerel/pages/class_pay/default.asp
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_33124.htm
7. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm