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How to Become a Police Officer in Tulsa

Tulsa, Oklahoma boasts a diverse economic base and a population of over 400,000.1 Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state and is often referred to as the hub of arts and culture for Oklahoma. However, the city has higher than average crime rates, at 588.9 violent crimes and 3,622.3 property crimes per 100,000 residents.2 To combat these and other crimes, the Tulsa Police Department (TPD) employs 734 sworn officers and 169 non-sworn staff.3 For those hoping to join the dedicated Tulsa Police Department patrolling and protecting the city, the application process is outlined below.

Tulsa Police Officer Requirements

The Tulsa Police Department is continually recruiting well-qualified applicants. To meet the minimum requirements to be considered for a job as a cop with the TPD, candidates must:

  • Be between the ages of 21 and 45
  • Have US citizenship
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of a C+ average
  • Be free of any felony convictions
  • Demonstrate adequate vision, including color vision, and hearing
  • Establish residence in the Tulsa metro area after hire

The first step in applying for a position with the TPD is to fill out an extensive, online background information questionnaire. If the questionnaire demonstrates that a candidate meets the minimum requirements, he or she may then be invited to take the written and physical fitness tests. Those who pass the tests may then be interviewed and offered conditional employment. New recruits must pass medical and psychological screenings and basic training before becoming sworn officers.

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 through Tulsa Police Department – Recruiting.

Chief of Police Chuck Jordan is the 39th leader of the Tulsa Police Department and has been in the position since 2010. Throughout his career, which began with the TPD in 1969, Chief Jordan has held several different positions, including as one of the first members of the SWAT team in 1978. Chief Jordan earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix.

Tulsa Police Academy

The Tulsa Police Academy has been in operation since 1967 and today’s location is a state-of-the-art training facility. New recruits must pass the 25-week rigorous training program as well as 16 weeks of subsequent field training before becoming sworn officers on the force. Basic training is typically held during the day Monday through Friday, though some evening and weekend work may be required. Current officers also receive 40 hours of in-service training through the academy each year.

Tulsa Police Department Information

The TPD serves a large city and consists of patrol officers as well as police working in specialty units including a motorcycle squad, K-9 unit, air patrol, and dive team. New officers typically become eligible to test or apply for special assignments after earning experience in patrol.

The Tulsa Police Department recently established a citizen advisory board that works in concert with police department representatives as the Tulsa Commission on Community Policing. The aim of the commission is to improve the TPD’s relationships with community members and evolve its community policing model. The TPD is currently working to improve officer visibility, hosting regular crime-fighting education meetings with citizens, and soliciting community collaboration on policies and strategies, among other measures.4

The TPD offers a few ways in which residents can get involved and learn more about the department and crime in the city. Adults 18 years and older can participate in a Citizen Ride Along, which gives residents a unique view into the daily activities of officers. Young people between the ages of 15 and 18 are encouraged to join the Tulsa Police Explorers, a program that gives teens specialized training and experience with law enforcement careers.

Department Contact Information

600 Civic Center
Tulsa, OK 74103
(918) 596-9222
TPD Website
TPD Facebook
TPD Twitter

Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook

A new officer with the TPD earns a starting salary of $39,767 during police academy training.3 Following graduation from the academy, the starting salary for sworn officers is $46,425 per year, which can rise to up to $71,448 per year after several years of experience.3 Officers receive a $100 per month additional stipend for holding a bachelor’s degree and a $150 per month additional stipend for holding a master’s degree.3 In addition to the salary, cops in Tulsa also receive several benefits including longevity pay, vacation and sick leave, medical and life insurance, and retirement benefits.

After 20 years of service, officers are eligible to retire with 50% of their average salary for their highest-paid 30 consecutive months of service within the 60 months previous to retirement.3 The 50% average is raised by 2.5% for each year after the 20th year that the officer continues to work, up to a maximum of 75% for retiring after 30 years of service.3

The average salary for a cop in Tulsa is $52,090 per year.5 Economic projections suggest that growth in law enforcement jobs in Oklahoma will be positive in the future. Predictions are that growth will be 10.8%, or an average of 90 new jobs every year, through 2026.6

Additional Resources

References:
1. Sperling’s Best Places, Tulsa, OK: https://www.bestplaces.net/city/oklahoma/tulsa
2. US News & World Report Best Places to Live, Tulsa, OK: https://realestate.usnews.com/places/oklahoma/tulsa/crime
3. Tulsa Police Department: https://www.tulsapolice.org/
4. City of Tulsa Community Policing Dashboard: https://www.cityoftulsa.org/government/performance-strategy-and-innovation/dashboards/community-policing/
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Tulsa, OK: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_46140.htm#33-0000
6. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm