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How to Become a Police Officer in Louisiana

There are currently 11,230 cops and sheriff’s deputies working throughout Louisiana, where law enforcement salaries can go far compared to the lower-than-average cost of living.1,2 To become a police officer or deputy in the state, candidates must be hired at a department and then attend a state-certified basic training academy. Standards for hiring and training law enforcement officers in the state are set by the Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST). Continue reading to learn more about these standards and standards specific to major law enforcement agencies in the state.

Louisiana Police Officer Requirements

To become a cop in Louisiana, new recruits have to be first hired by a city police department or a parish sheriff’s office. All law enforcement agencies in the state must follow minimum state POST standards for recruits, although they may set standards above the minimum that POST requires. To become a certified level 1 peace officer in the state, which includes police officers and deputies, trainees must complete and pass 360 hours at a POST-approved academy. They must also meet the standards for firearms certification. In order to successfully pass an academy program, recruits must achieve at least 70 percent in each training block and 80 percent in firearms training. Recruits also must typically:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be at least 18 years of age and legally authorized to work in the US
  • Not have any felony convictions or disqualifying misdemeanors
  • Be a resident of the state of Louisiana, or able to become a resident after hire
  • Have a valid driver’s license

Louisiana Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements

The Louisiana State Police (LSP) patrols state highways and investigates state-level crimes. LSP officers begin their careers in patrol, and enjoy a starting salary of $49,440 per year.3 The LSP screens potential new troopers thoroughly and only a handful are offered employment and a chance to complete the State Police Training Academy. Minimum requirements to be hired by the LSP include:

  • US citizenship
  • Either two years working as a POST-certified peace officer, 60 credit hours at a university, or three years of active military duty
  • Good moral character
  • A clean background check and drug test
  • Passing grade on a written test and a physical agility test
  • A valid Louisiana driver’s license

Louisiana Sheriff Deputy Requirements

Unlike most states, Louisiana is divided into parishes rather than counties. However, similar to other states, each parish has its own sheriff’s office. Prospective deputies must meet the standards of the sheriff’s office to which they are applying. Once given an offer of employment the future deputy must pass a training course at one of the state’s POST-approved academies.

East Baton Rouge Parish

East Baton Rouge Parish is the state’s most populous parish with its seat in the state capital, Baton Rouge. Hopeful new deputies of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office (EBRSO) must pass a rigorous hiring process before being offered a position. The process includes an application, a physical fitness test, a background check, an oral interview, a polygraph, and psychological, medical, and drug testing. Minimum requirements for sheriff’s patrol deputies include:

  • Being at least 18 years of age
  • Having a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Having either one year of experience as a POST-certified officer, or one year of continuous active duty military service, or at least an associate’s degree
  • Having no felony convictions or other convictions indicating moral turpitude or false statements
  • Running 1.5 miles in 15 minutes, 20 seconds or less
  • Doing 18 push-ups, untimed
  • Completing 27 sit-ups in 60 seconds or less
  • Complying with appearance standards regarding tattoos and body jewelry and modifications

Orleans Parish

The seat of Orleans Parish is the city of New Orleans. This large and populous parish is patrolled by the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office (OPCSO), which is always looking for strong candidates to become deputies. To be a deputy sheriff in Orleans Parish a new recruit must:

  • Be at least 20 years old
  • Be a high school graduate or hold a GED
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Pass written and psychological tests
  • Pass a polygraph test
  • Pass a physical fitness test
  • Complete 90 hours at a POST correctional academy in addition to the peace officer training

Police Departments in Louisiana

As with parish deputies, hopeful recruits to city police departments in Louisiana must first meet the requirements of an individual department and be offered employment before enrolling in a police academy. Upon successful completion of the training course, recruits can be sworn in and begin work as certified cops.

New Orleans

The New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) is responsible for combating crime in Louisiana’s largest city. The NOPD offers officers generous benefits, including a starting salary of $40,391 while in training and $56,566 after one year of service ($58,566 with a bachelor’s degree).4 Prospective recruits must:

  • Be at least 20 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be legally authorized to work in the US
  • Have a valid driver’s license with a good driving history
  • Meet physical fitness and personal appearance standards
  • Not have had any felony convictions or disqualifying misdemeanors
  • Meet the department’s prior drug use policies

For more information on careers with the NOPD, check out our comprehensive guide, How to Become a Police Officer in New Orleans.

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana and its police force is responsible for patrolling the city and keeping its residents safe. The Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) actively recruits potential candidates to become new officers. The BRPD offers a starting base salary of $32,979 per year with annual merit increases and generous benefits.5 Hopeful recruits must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a US citizen
  • Speak, read, and write English fluently
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Possess a valid Louisiana driver’s license
  • Have a passing score on the Louisiana Civil Service Entrance Exam
  • Have a clean criminal history and no history of disqualifying drug use or DUI/DWI

Police Training Academies in Louisiana

There are 27 basic training academies for peace officers in the state of Louisiana that are approved by the POST Council. The only way to attend one of these academies is to first be hired by a police department or sheriff’s office in the state. Approved Louisiana police academies include:

  • Municipal Training Academy – New Orleans, LA
  • Orleans Parish Training Academy – New Orleans, LA
  • Baton Rouge Police Training Academy – Baton Rouge, LA
  • Capital Area Regional Training Academy – Baton Rouge, LA
  • Acadiana Law Enforcement Training Academy – Scott, LA
  • Shreveport Regional Police Training Academy – Shreveport, LA

For a complete list of the approved academies see the POST website.

Louisiana Police Jobs Outlook

There will be plenty of opportunities for those hoping to work in law enforcement in Louisiana over the next several years. The number of police and deputy positions is expected to grow by 9% through 2026, equating to 980 new police jobs added to the state workforce.6 With its low cost of living (5% lower than the rest of the US) and an average police salary of $39,650 per year, Louisiana can be a great place to become a police officer.1,2

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

Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in Louisiana

CityNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Baton Rouge1,760$41,990
Lafayette1,040$40,810
New Orleans-Metairie3,870$40,750

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Louisiana: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_la.htm
2. Sperling’s Best Places, Louisiana: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/state/louisiana
3. Louisiana State Police: http://lsp.org/
4. New Orleans Police Department: https://joinnopd.org/career-paths-and-benefits/
5. Baton Rouge Police Department: http://geauxbrpd.com/career/
6. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm