How to Become a Police Officer in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City is the capital of and largest city in the state of Oklahoma, with a population of over 631,000 in an area of approximately 700 square miles.1,2 While Oklahoma City has a lower crime rate than similarly-sized metros, its crime rate is higher than the US average, with an average of 490.8 violent crimes and 3,109.2 property crimes per 100,000 residents.3 To protect and serve this large city, the Oklahoma City Police Department (OKCPD) employs 1,169 sworn and 300 civilian employees.2 For those wishing to become part of the law enforcement team in Oklahoma City, the application, selection, and training process is detailed below.
Oklahoma City Police Officer Requirements
The OKCPD recruits qualified candidates to join the force and serve the people of the city. To meet the minimum requirements for applying to the OKCPD, candidates must:
- Be between the ages of 21 and 45
- Be a US citizen
- Hold a valid driver’s license with at least two years of driving history, a satisfactory driving record, and proof of liability insurance
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be able to demonstrate emotional stability and a good moral character
- Have a stable employment and credit history
- Not have any felony convictions
- Not have any visible tattoos
The first step to becoming an OKCPD recruit is submitting an application. Those with the right qualifications will be invited to take the physical fitness and written aptitude tests. To advance in the process, a candidate must meet the minimum fitness standards and pass the written test with a score of at least 70%. The tests are followed by a personal history questionnaire, a personality assessment, polygraph examination, and extensive background investigation. Candidates who make it to the final stages are medically and psychologically evaluated before being admitted to the OKCPD Academy for basic training.
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. If you are ready to apply now, find specific application information at Oklahoma City Police Department – Recruitment.
Oklahoma City Police Department Academy
New recruits offered employment by the OKCPD must complete 28 weeks of basic training at the non-residential Oklahoma City Police Department Academy. Recruits are provided with uniforms and equipment at no charge and are paid as trainees for the duration of the program. Topics covered in the academy include patrol tactics, criminal law, and the principles of investigation. Once recruit training is completed, police officer candidates must become certified by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training before being sworn in. After swearing-in, new officers will complete an additional four to six months of field training with the OKCPD.
Oklahoma City Police Department Information
The OKCPD is organized into a central police headquarters with five substations and several special units including the Equine Unit, Lake Patrol Section, Helicopter Unit, Airport Police Unit, and Motorcycle Unit. Officers are typically eligible to apply to special units after earning experience in patrol. Some positions are competitive and may require different combinations of education, experience, and training.
The OKCPD runs several programs that give city residents opportunities to learn about the department and what it takes to work as a cop. Several officers and other department employees offer their time to teach classes in the Citizens Police Academy. The academy takes place one evening per week for 12 weeks. Residents interested in participating must apply first, but there is no cost to attend. The OKCPD also runs a Police Athletic League and a Family Awareness and Community Teamwork (FACT) gang prevention program.
Department Contact Information
Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook
For recruits in the OKCPD police academy, the starting salary is $45,564 per year, which increases to $51,682 after the successful completion of basic and field training.2 Additional step raises are awarded each year. The OKCPD offers tuition reimbursement to officers pursuing higher education as well as college incentive pay, which is currently $75 per month for an associate’s degree, $150 per month for a bachelor’s degree, and $175 per month for a master’s degree.2 Another perk is the eight days on, six days off work schedule for patrol shifts. Officers also receive paid time off, health, life, and disability insurance, and a retirement plan through which officers are eligible for retirement after 20 years of service.2
The average annual salary for a cop in Oklahoma City is $52,570.4 Growth is expected to be positive for careers in law enforcement in Oklahoma. Projections show an increase in police employment of 10.8% through 2026 with an average of 90 new jobs added to the workforce each year in the state.5
Cities and Police Departments Near Oklahoma City
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are approximately 1,960 police officers working in the Oklahoma City metro.4 While the OKCPD is the largest police department in the area, there are also opportunities to work with police departments in the surrounding suburbs. The below table outlines police employment and crime data by city for the Oklahoma City area.
|City||Force Name/Abbreviation||City Population6||Police Dept. Total Employees7||Sworn Officers7||Civilian Staff7||Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 People8||Property Crime Rate per 1,000 People8|
|Bethany||Bethany Police Department (BPD)||19,402||41||30||11||0.31||3.53|
|Edmond||Edmond Police Department (EPD)||91,950||158||119||39||0.14||1.52|
|Norman||Norman Police Department (NPD)||122,843||237||176||61||0.27||3.21|
|Oklahoma City||Oklahoma City Police Department (OKCPD)||649,021||1,381||1,113||268||0.77||3.86|
|Shawnee||Shawnee Police Department (SPD)||31,232||75||52||23||0.85||4.54|
- Oklahoma State Fraternal Order of Police: The Oklahoma State Fraternal Order of Police is a networking and advocacy organization that works to promote the police profession.
- Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police: The Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police is the local bargaining unit for area law enforcement.
- Oklahoma Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (OSPOA): The OSPOA offers membership to all levels and branches of law enforcement and provides training programs, networking events, and other professional support.
1. Sperling’s Best Places, Oklahoma City, OK: https://www.bestplaces.net/city/oklahoma/oklahoma_city
2. Oklahoma City Police Department: https://www.okc.gov/departments/police
3. US News Best Places to Live, Oklahoma City, OK: https://realestate.usnews.com/places/oklahoma/oklahoma-city/crime
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Oklahoma City, OK: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_36420.htm#33-0000
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. 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