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How to Become a Police Officer in Wyoming

Wyoming is a rugged state with some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, including the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the high plains, and Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Although Wyoming has seen population growth of 18% since 2000, it is still the least-populated state in the country, with 583,000 residents.1 An estimated 1,100 police officers and sheriff’s patrol officers work in the state.2 Standards for prospective officers are set at the state level, though individual jurisdictions may have more strict requirements. Continue reading to learn more about career opportunities in Wyoming law enforcement.

Wyoming Police Officer Requirements

Wyoming’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) is responsible for setting the minimum standards for all law enforcement officers in the state. POST certifies officers from all agencies and sets standards for the pre-employment exam that all hopeful new cops and deputies must take as the first step toward being offered employment with an agency. In addition to passing a qualifying written test, prospective new recruits must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Not have been convicted of a felony

Required Exams

The written exam is not the only test that hopeful Wyoming cops must take. Applicants must submit fingerprints to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and pass a background check, as well as have good driving and credit histories. Applicants will need to pass a physical agility test and be examined by a physician before taking a psychological evaluation. At least one oral interview with the hiring agency is also required. Once all standards are met and a hiring offer has been accepted, the individual must attend the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy (WLEA) for basic training.

Wyoming Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements

The Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) recruits new troopers on a regular basis. Nearly 210 troopers currently work for the WHP, logging over five million miles a year on patrol.3 To become a trooper with the WHP, prospective recruits must meet state standards and:

  • Take the entry-level public safety test
  • Be at least 21 years old by the hire date
  • Have two years of experience working with the public
  • Have vision better than 20/100 and correctable to 20/20
  • Not have had any type of visual correction surgery within the last six months, and must have been wearing contacts, if applicable, for at least six months prior to appointment to recruit school

New recruits who are accepted must attend basic training at the WLEA followed by WHP basic training for an additional 14 weeks.3 The WHP offers new troopers a starting salary of $19.30 to $24.13 per hour along with longevity pay, holiday pay, vacation leave, sick leave, and insurance and retirement benefits.3

Wyoming Sheriff Deputy Requirements

Because of the sparse population in the state, Wyoming’s counties are large. Deputies within the state’s sheriffs’ offices are responsible for a wide territory. Deputies perform a range of tasks from patrolling to prisoner security and crime investigation. Each sheriff’s office sets its own standards and hiring procedures for new deputies, but all deputies must complete WLEA basic training and become certified by POST.

Laramie County

Laramie County’s county seat is Cheyenne, which is also the state capital and largest city in Wyoming. The Laramie County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) periodically hires new sheriff’s deputies. Prospective deputies must qualify under state standards and:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Fluently read and speak English
  • Currently be a certified Wyoming peace officer, or be eligible for certification through holding certification in an equivalent state

After basic training and POST certification, new Laramie deputies must complete a probationary period on patrol duties. With experience, deputies may qualify to join the drug task force team, the special weapons team, the K-9 team, or other specialty areas. The starting pay for Laramie County deputy sheriffs is $43,743 per year.4

Natrona County

The Natrona County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) serves the approximately 65,000 residents of Natrona County, which includes the state’s second-largest city, Casper. The NCSO is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the state with 163 employees in total including 120 sworn deputies.5 To be hired as a deputy, hopeful candidates must meet POST requirements and:

  • Be a minimum age of 21
  • Be a US citizen
  • Be legally able to own firearms
  • Have no history of marijuana use within the last two years
  • Have no history of illicit drug use other than marijuana within the last five years
  • Have good moral character
  • Sign a written agreement making a two-year commitment to the position

Sheriff’s deputies in Natrona County start out in the detention center and may move to patrol after gaining at least two years of experience with satisfactory job performance. The starting salary for Natrona County deputies is $4,250 per month.5

Police Departments in Wyoming

Most of the cities in Wyoming are small, with police forces to match the populations. There are regular opportunities, however, to work in larger police departments in the state’s two biggest cities, Cheyenne and Casper. Candidates open to working in smaller towns have many to choose from in Wyoming. Each department determines its own hiring process and any additional requirements for new recruits in addition to those set by POST.

Cheyenne

The Cheyenne Police Department (CPD) is responsible for patrolling and protecting the people of the state’s capital and largest city, with 60,000 residents.6 Officers with the CPD have the opportunity to work toward joining such specialty units within the department as the bicycle unit, the alcohol enforcement unit, the detective division, the mounted patrol unit, the K-9 unit, and many more. The process for screening new recruits begins with a written exam and includes a fitness test, background check, medical and psychological examinations, and a polygraph test. To be qualified to begin the process, applicants must meet state requirements and:

  • Be 21 years old at the time of hire
  • Not have three or more moving violations, nor any administrative suspension of a driver’s license, within the previous 36 months
  • Never have distributed or sold illegal drugs
  • Never have ever used any hallucinogen
  • Not have used illegal drugs within the last five years
  • Not have used marijuana within the last two years

Casper

Casper is situated in the center of the state along the North Platte River at the foot of Casper Mountain. It is a friendly, small city with abundant amenities and opportunities for those hoping to work in law enforcement. The Casper Police Department (CPD) hires new recruits through a process that begins with a written test and a physical fitness test. These are followed by an oral interview and the recruits are then competitively ranked for eligibility. Candidates must:

  • Meet Wyoming POST requirements
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Read, write, and speak English fluently

The Casper PD offers a starting wage of $24.52 per hour, and successful recruits may be eligible for generous sign-on bonuses.7

Police Training Academies in Wyoming

The Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy is located in Douglas and is the only law enforcement training academy in the state. All peace officers in Wyoming must attend the basic training program, which lasts for 12 weeks. POST is responsible for setting the curriculum and training instructors at the WLEA. The academy also has special programs in addition to basic training. These include extra training for new state troopers and the Wyoming Homeland Security Training Program for members of the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Wyoming Police Jobs Outlook

The population of Wyoming may be small compared to other states, but there are still plenty of opportunities for those hoping to work in law enforcement. Jobs growth of 4.2% is expected for Wyoming police officers through 2026, with an annual average of 80 law enforcement openings including replacements.8 Law enforcement officers in Wyoming make an average annual salary of $56,240.2

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

Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in Wyoming

CityNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Casper100$64,750
Central-Southeast Wyoming Nonmetropolitan Area210$50,390

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2018.2

References:
1. Sperling’s Best Places, Wyoming: https://www.bestplaces.net/state/wyoming
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Wyoming: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_wy.htm
3. Wyoming Highway Patrol: http://www.whp.dot.state.wy.us/home.html
4. Laramie County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.laramiecounty.com/_officials/Sheriff/index.aspx
5. Natrona County Sheriff’s Office: http://www.natrona.net/118/Sheriff
6. Cheyenne Police Department: http://www.cheyennepd.org/
7. Casper Police Department: https://casperpolice.org/
8. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm