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How to Become a Police Officer in Indiana

There are 11,920 police and sheriff’s patrol officers working in Indiana, serving a population of over 6.5 million residents.1,2 With an annual average salary of $53,260, police officers can earn a good living in this affordable midwestern state.1 To embark on a career in Indiana law enforcement, whether with the Indiana State Police or a local department, candidates must meet the hiring department’s minimum standards. Continue reading to learn more about requirements for police officers in Indiana at the state and local levels.

Indiana Police Officer Requirements

Unlike most other states, there is no state-level organization that enforces standards for police hiring in Indiana. Recruits must meet the standards of the police department to which they apply, which may be a local police department, sheriff’s office, or an agency like the Indiana State Police. Qualifications that are common across most departments include requiring that candidates must:

  • Have US citizenship
  • Be a minimum age of 21
  • Hold high school diploma or GED
  • Hold valid driver’s license
  • Not have any felony convictions or convictions for serious misdemeanors

Departments also typically follow the same selection process, which will include a written exam, a physical fitness test, a medical exam, a psychological evaluation, and a drug test. Applicants should also expect to undergo a comprehensive background check.

Once offered employment, a candidate must complete training at a police academy within one year. Recruits who are sponsored but not officially hired may become tuition-paying students at an academy. While there are no state requirements for police hiring, there are state requirements for entering and graduating from an in-state basic training academy certified by the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board. These physical fitness standards include the ability to:

  • Jump vertically at least 13.5 inches
  • Complete 24 sit-ups in one minute
  • Run 300 meters in 82 seconds
  • Complete 21 push-ups
  • Run 1.5 miles within 18 minutes and 56 seconds

Indiana Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements

The Indiana State Police (ISP) employs over 1,300 officers.3 Every state trooper career with the ISP begins with highway patrol, though there are opportunities to move into other areas of state law enforcement including criminal investigation. To be hired as a state trooper and attend the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy, recruits must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be at least 21 years old, but under 40 years old
  • Have vision that can be corrected to 20/50
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Hold a high school diploma or a GED
  • Be willing to live and serve anywhere in the state of Indiana

Indiana Sheriff Deputy Requirements

As with local police departments, recruits in Indiana hoping to work as a deputy sheriff with one of the county sheriff’s offices must be hired and then attend a state training academy. Each county sheriff’s office sets its own minimum requirements for employment and has its own application process. However, most offices require recruits to pass a written test of basic skills and knowledge before being hired or sponsored for an academy.

Marion County

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) employs nearly 500 sworn officers and over 300 civilians.4 The MSCO looks for prospective sheriff’s deputies who possess physical strength and endurance along with strong interpersonal and written communication skills. The starting salary for MSCO deputy sheriffs is $35,122 per year.4 The department requires that candidates:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Hold a valid Indiana driver’s license
  • Have no convictions for felonies or disqualifying misdemeanors, including battery
  • Be willing to work any shift
  • Have an acceptable credit rating and employment history

Lake County

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) is the furthest northwest county in Indiana and has a population of nearly 500,000.5 The department employs over 500 staff across divisions including County Police, Court Security, Animal Control, and Corrections.5 Potential recruits must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be available to work any shift
  • Not have any felony convictions

Police Departments in Indiana

Candidates hoping to work in a local or city police department in Indiana have many to choose from. The three largest city police departments in Indiana alone employ thousands of full-time officers. Each department has its own hiring procedure and requirements. However, all new recruits must complete a state police academy within a year of being hired.

Indianapolis

Indianapolis is the largest city in Indiana and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) employs over 1,500 sworn officers and 250 civilian employees.6 Starting in June 2019, probationary officers will earn a starting salary of $51,000, and move up the pay scale to $70,139 by year three.7 To be considered for the IMPD candidates must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be between 21 and 36 years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Not have a domestic violence or any type of felony conviction
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • Live in Marion County or one of the seven surrounding counties
  • Pass a drug test

Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne is Indiana’s second-largest city and has a sizable police force with approximately 460 sworn officers.8 To be considered as a recruit for the Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD), candidates must complete a physical fitness test, a written test, an oral interview, a background test, and a psychological test. Minimum requirements for hiring include:

  • US citizenship
  • Being between 21 and 35 years of age
  • A high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Correctable 20/30 vision
  • Good moral character
  • Allen County or adjacent county residence
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Solid communication skills
  • A clean drug test

Evansville

The Evansville Police Department (EPD) employs 289 police officers and offers regular opportunities for new recruits.9 The minimum hiring requirements stipulate that a recruit must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be between 21 and 35 of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Not be convicted of domestic abuse or a felony
  • Demonstrate good moral character
  • Pass a background check including a polygraph and psychological evaluation
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Pass a drug test

Police Training Academies in Indiana

While police departments in Indiana may have different hiring requirements, all departments in the state require recruits to successfully pass a certified training academy. Indiana has several police training academies which are certified by the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA). Candidates for the Indiana State Police attend the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy.

Training academies in Indiana include:

  • Indiana Law Enforcement Academy – Plainfield, IN
  • Indiana State Police Recruit Academy – Indianapolis, IN
  • Fort Wayne Police Department Academy – Fort Wayne, IN
  • Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Academy – Indianapolis, IN
  • Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy – Gary, IN
  • Southwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy – Evansville, IN
  • Indiana University Police Academy – Bloomington, IN

For a complete list of certified police training academies in Indiana, visit the ILEA website.

Indiana Police Jobs Outlook

Hopeful new cops and sheriff’s deputies should find plenty of opportunities in Indiana. Jobs growth in police and sheriff’s patrol jobs in the state is expected to be 7.5% through 2026.10 An expected 850 average annual openings should occur in the state during this period.10 With a cost of living that is 13% lower than the national average, prospective cops can expect to make a decent living in the state of Indiana.11

For more information about current law enforcement openings, take a look at our police jobs board.

Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in Indiana

CityNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Fort Wayne810$55,470
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson3,600$58,720
Lafayette-West Lafayette290$53,270
South Bend-Mishawaka IN-MI790$55,290

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Indiana: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_in.htm
2. US Census Bureau, Indiana: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/in/PST045217
3. Indiana State Police: https://www.in.gov/isp/index.htm
4. Marion County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.indy.gov/agency/marion-county-sheriffs-office
5. Lake County Sheriff’s Office: http://www.lakecountysheriff.com/
6. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department: https://www.indy.gov/agency/indianapolis-metropolitan-police-department
7. RTV6 Indianapolis, “New Indianapolis police officers getting big pay bump,” 24 Jan. 2019: https://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/indianapolis/new-impd-officers-getting-big-pay-bump
8. Fort Wayne Police Department: http://www.fwpd.org/
9. Evansville Police Department: http://www.evansvillepolice.com/
10. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
11. Sperling’s Best Places, Indiana: https://www.bestplaces.net/state/indiana