More Police Department Info

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does the hiring process take?
The average length of time to process a successful applicant is 6 to 9 months; however the hiring process can take longer than a year.

2. What is on the written test?
The written test is a multiple choice, timed exam. Questions are related to reading comprehension, sentence structure, observational skills and psychological issues.

3. The physical agility/ability test doesn’t seem too difficult. Do I need to be in shape to pass?
The physical agility/ability tests are the standards set by the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (APOSTC). These are considered minimum standards. If you are not in good shape, you will not have the strength and stamina to complete each event successfully. Note: Approximately half the applicants fail the physical agility/ability test.

4. How many officers is the police department hiring?
The number varies by need, though a typical class of recruits at the academy is 10.

5. Do out-of-state officers have to go through the academy again?
Officers who are already certified by the Alabama Peace Officer’s Standards and Training Commission are not required to attend a state academy unless they have been out of law enforcement for more than two years. But each applicant will have to attend our Recruit Academy that we hold at our Training Center. Out-of-state officers are required to meet standards set by the commission and under certain circumstances can receive a waiver for lateral entry equivalency training and may not be required to attend the state academy except for an 80-hour course. This information is available though Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commissions Web site, www.apostc.state.al.us. All police officers (which includes Municipal Police, Deputy Sheriffs, State Troopers or any sworn officers who have authority under law to make arrest) in the State of Alabama must be certified by the Peace Officers Training and Standards Commission.

6. I only want to be a detective. Do I have to be a patrol officer first?
All officers must initially enter the patrol division. Detectives receive additional training in addition to skills learned in the patrol division. Officers who wish to transfer to any of our specialty assignments must serve as a patrol officer for a minimum of two years.

7. Is the police academy a “live-in” academy? Do I need to pay for it?
Yes, the academy is a live-in academy. The first 10 days recruits are not allowed to leave for any reason; currently, the rest of the 12 weeks you will attend training 10 hours a day, four days a week. The academy is paid for by the police department. When applicants are hired, they begin receiving pay as an employee of the City of Decatur and are paid while they attend the academy.

8. What is the first step to apply to the Decatur Police Department?
Obtain an application from the Personnel Department at Decatur City Hall located at 402 Lee street N. E. Decatur, Alabama. Qualified applicants will then be notified of further testing by the department.

9. I can’t download an application. Where can I get one?
Applications are available from the Personnel Department located at Decatur City Hall, 402 Lee Street N.E. Decatur, Alabama. Applications can be mailed, but the original documents must be mailed back to the Personnel Department at City Hall. When the Police Department has openings, the Personnel Department will contact all qualified applicants for further testing. Applications stay on file for one year.

10. Is there a maximum age limit?
No. But you must meet all the requirements, including the physical agility/ability test.

11. How does the process work for out-of-state applicants?
The same process applies for out-of-state applicants. They will be required to be present to take the physical agility/ability test, the written test, and oral interview, which will all be held on separate dates. If selected for employment, they will then be made a conditional offer of employment and will be required to be present and take a physical, polygraph examination and psychological test. All tests will be on separate dates.

12. When does the academy start?
The state police academies usually are held four times a year, with the first class beginning during the month of January. Once an applicant is hired, we usually have them attend our Recruit Academy, located at the Decatur Police Department’s Training Center, to familiarize them with our policies and procedures and specialized training they will need that is not taught at the state academy. This usually lasts 6-8 weeks and then the recruits are sent to the state academy.

13. What are the minimum requirements to be a police officer for Decatur?

  • All applicants must be 21 years of age on or prior to date applying.
  • A citizen of the United States
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license, and obtain an Alabama license prior to employment
  • High School diploma (high school must be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) or equivalent for out-of-state applicants) or GED is required.
  • No previous experience is required.
  • Must pass and maintain current Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training (A.P.O.S.T.) requirements.
  • Must not have any felony convictions or have felony charges pending or under indictment.
  • Applicants cannot have convictions for charges involving domestic violence or crimes involving moral turpitude.
  • Be of good moral character and reputation.
  • Background investigation will be conducted.
  • Must pass physical agility/ability test.

14. I meet all but one of the listed minimum requirements. Does the Decatur Police Department allow any latitude of these requirements?
No, all applicants must meet the minimum standards without compromise. The minimum standards set by the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission and the Decatur Police Department are to insure the integrity, credibility, and professionalism of the men and women who are selected as police officers.

15. Is there anyone I can call for more information?
You may call the Office of Professional Standards at the Decatur Police Department 256-341-4660.

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