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How to Become a Police Officer in Louisiana

Louisiana is famous for so many things, but probably most of all for the unique city of New Orleans. The mix of French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean cultures and languages in this city and in other areas of the state has created a truly special heritage unlike any other in the US. It’s no wonder that residents are proud of their state and that many want to work in law enforcement here. There are currently 10,980 cops and sheriff’s deputies working throughout Louisiana, and room for many more law enforcement positions.1 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.

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. Once hired, these recruits must then attend and pass a training session at a state academy. The police academies in Louisiana are accredited by the Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST). This 12-member council develops the curriculum used at the police training academies, sets firearms training standards, and sets the minimum requirements for instructors.

To be 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.

Louisiana Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements

New recruits to the Louisiana State Police (LSP) face a rigorous hiring process. The LSP screen potential new troopers thoroughly and only a handful are offered employment and a chance to complete the State Police Training Academy. Once accepted and having passed the training program, new recruits enjoy a generous starting salary of $42,731 as well as medical and retirement benefits.2 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
  • An oral interview

Louisiana Sheriff Deputy Requirements

Unlike most states, Louisiana is divided into parishes rather than counties. Each parish has its own sheriff’s office and to become a deputy, new recruits must meet each individual office’s requirements for being hired. 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 this Sheriff’s Office 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 physical fitness requirements include:

  • 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

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, 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 21 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 course, the new police officer can begin work as a certified cop.

New Orleans

The process for becoming a police officer in the state’s largest city, New Orleans, begins with an online application for the New Orleans Police Department. If the application is accepted, the new recruit fills out a Civil Service application and personal history form and then takes a two-part multiple choice and written exam.

The next step is to pass a physical fitness test, which includes a 300-meter sprint, push-ups, and a 1.5-mile run. Finally, the new recruit must pass a background check, a polygraph and psychological and medical tests before being offered employment and moving onto the training academy. For more information on the NOPD, check out our comprehensive guide, How to Become a Police Officer in New Orleans page.

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 actively recruits potential candidates to become new officers. The hiring process is rigorous and includes five phases:

  • Phase I – Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Exam
  • Phase II – Physical fitness test
  • Phase III – Interview, fingerprints, polygraph, and background check
  • Phase IV – Medical, psychological, and drug tests
  • Phase V – Review by the Chief of Police

Those candidates who make it to Phase V and are selected acceptable by the Chief are offered employment and proceed to the police academy for training.

Police Training Academies in Louisiana

There are 27 basic training academies for peace officers in the state of Louisiana that are approved and accredited 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. Some departments send recruits to specific academies, such as the Louisiana State Police Training Academy for new troopers, but others allow their new hires to attend any POST-certified academy. Some of these 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 significantly, by 9.6%, in the coming years.3 This represents an average of 480 new jobs between now and 2022.3 With its low cost of living (6.2% lower than the rest of the US) and its decent salary ($39,400 per year is average), Louisiana is a solid place to become a police officer.4,1

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
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner3,710$39,320
Baton Rouge1,780$41,890

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Louisiana: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_la.htm#33-0000
2. Louisiana State Police: http://www.lsp.org/recruit.html#academy
3. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
4. Sperling’s Best Places, Louisiana: http://www.bestplaces.net/state/louisiana