Each week, Scottsbluff Police Cpl. Krisa Brass will answer questions submitted by Star-Herald readers.
Send questions for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving your question at 308-632-9057.
I would like to start off this week by thanking the youth from the First United Methodist Church for stopping by the Public Safety Building on Sept. 11. They brought treat bags for the police and fire departments to show their appreciation for the jobs we do. We spoke of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and how the nation was impacted by the loss of civilians and first responders alike.
For me (and many others I can assume) that day doesn’t really feel like it was 18 years ago. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the towers were hit. I was actually late for school that day; I walked into the classroom just minutes before the second plane struck. Of all the days that come and go, I don’t think many of us will ever forget where we were, what we were doing, or how we felt.
How do you become a cop? Are there age requirements? Do you have to go to college?
Each agency's procedure may vary slightly but overall the process is pretty similar. For the State of Nebraska, statute requires a minimum age of 21. There is no statutory maximum age. Once an agency has listed a job opening, you fill out an application and turn it in just like most other places of employment. The application packet is more in depth than other job applications.
So long as nothing disqualifies you from applying, you will receive a letter inviting you to the testing procedure. That procedure itself consists of a written examination, physical ability test and an oral interview board.
All occupants are scored in each category and an eligibility list is established. Once the list is established, a thorough background check is completed along with a psychological evaluation and/or polygraph and a drug screening.
Once you have made it through the process and accept the offer, you will be required to complete a field training program (12 weeks or more) and attend the police academy, which has its own set of standards.
Some departments do require a college education, however, most of our local agencies do not. I do think a college degree is helpful when it comes to promoting within the department. Some departments (Scottsbluff PD included) offer college incentive pay.
If you are interested in law enforcement but aren’t quite sure if it’s for you, you could always reach out to local departments and ask to participate in a ride along. It’s a good way to see what law enforcement does on a daily basis and provides an opportunity to ask questions.