Police in Arkansas and Indiana can Start Work before Going Through Formal Training

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
(photo: Getty Images)

At least two states in the U.S. allow police officers to start patrolling streets, arrest people and use their weapons before going through training at a police academy.


Leon Neyfakh at Slate found that laws in Arkansas and Indiana permit local jurisdictions to employ officers for upwards of a year without receiving formal training.


In Arkansas, a person can work as a police officer for nine months without having received any training. That period can be stretched to a full year if there are considered to be extraordinary circumstances. At that point, the person has to complete a three-month training course to stay on duty. The Arkansas law used to be even more lenient, allowing police to serve up to 20 months without certification.


In order for a would-be, untrained officer to be given a gun to use on duty, he or she only has to pass a 50-round firearms test that requires hitting a target 80% of the time from a 25-yard distance. That requirement was instituted only last year; prior to that, the gun was just handed to the uncertified officer without any test to pass.


In Indiana, officers can work on the police force for up to a year without completing any training and receiving certification. The rule for arming officers with a handgun is similar to Arkansas’s rule.


Neyfakh said that it’s unclear how many states have policies similar to the Indiana and Arkansas policies.


“The fact that it’s possible for police departments to grant people arrest powers, and arm them with guns, without putting them through the proper training first is especially disturbing at a time when the nation has been gripped by one high-profile officer-involved shooting after another,” he wrote.

-Danny Biederman, Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

No Experience, No Problem (by Leon Neyfakh, Slate)

Alexander Police Officer Nancy Cummings New To Police Force (by Lindsey Tugman and Benton Bryant, THV11)

Indiana First State to Allow Citizens to Shoot Law Enforcement Officers (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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