Austin police changing requirements for recruits
Applicants no longer need college credit

Austin’s police chief has changed recruit application requirements in order to attract the broadest range of future police officers possible in a fast-growing city where hiring is a constant game of catch-up. Amidst the pomp and ceremony of Friday’s latest police cadet graduation, Chief Art Acevedo told KXAN he recently decided to abandon a requirement for police academy applicants to have a minimum of 32 college credits or two years’ military service. “It just opens the door for those that want to come to the top in the hiring process. There’s no magic formula as to who would be a good cop,” he said. “We’ll take a look at everybody.” He admitted most applicants have some college education, but he said he values life experience as much as a young person who has only book knowledge and no responsibilities. “I’d rather have either somebody that has formal education or life experience -- people with life experience that have worked hard for a living, that see how challenging life is,” he added.

From an academic perspective, the Chief says the Academy’s intense 8-month course load actually compares to a college endeavor. He points out earning a Texas peace officer’s license (something every law enforcement officer in the state must do), candidates must complete 618 hours of training, both in the classroom and hands-on like firearms and driving training. But APD’s course totals more than 1200 hours and includes 40 hours of Spanish classes along with the finer points of community policing. As well, APD worked out a deal with Austin Community College where Police Academy graduates come away with the equivalent of 24 credits.

As a part of changing the entry requirements, the Chief told KXAN the department has increased the minimum passing score on the Nelson-Denny test. It's used to measure people's ability to successfully complete the academy.

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