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The Peace Officers Professional Standards Act celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2009. The Act requires standardized, detailed and ongoing training for its officers.
Basic recruits, before they hit the streets, undergo a strict 18-week basic training regimen at one of four Kentucky facilities. Kentucky’s primary training is handled in Richmond. The Kentucky State Police has its own academy as do Lexington and Louisville.
Prior to POPS, most potential officers were required only to have a valid driver’s license, a minimum age of 21, an honorary military discharge and no felony convictions.
Incoming recruits must meet physical fitness criteria; submit to fingerprint, medical, drug-screening and polygraph examinations; and meet or exceed several other requirements for admission.
After 18 weeks of basic training, officers still must attend one week of mandatory in-service training at DOCJT annually. Officers also have the opportunity to attend advanced leadership courses, including the School for Strategic Leadership, which provides graduate-level curriculum.
The POPS law requires that applicants:
•Be U.S. citizens
•Be at least 21 years old
•Have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent
•Possess a valid driver’s license
•Submit fingerprints for a criminal background check
•Not be convicted of a felony offense
•Not be prohibited by federal or state law from possessing a firearm
•Have read the Code of Ethics
•Not have received a dishonorable discharge or general discharge under other than honorable conditions
•Not have had certification as a peace officer permanently revoked in another state
•Have a medical examination
•Have a background investigation
•Be interviewed by their potential employing agency’s executive or designee
•Take a written suitability screener
•Pass a drug screen test
•Take a polygraph examination.
The entry standards include five physical fitness measures requiring applicants to bench press 64 percent of their body weight; complete 18 sit-ups within one minute; finish a 300-meter run in 65 seconds; perform 20 push-ups; and run 1.5 miles within 17 minutes and 12 seconds.