Although a life in law enforcement is a journey that never ends, for most the journey starts at the police academy. It’s a job training program that will test and stretch both mental and physical attributes. It’s a program designed to be tough. It separates those that are deserving both in commitment and in stature to practice law enforcement, and those that are not.

Preparing for the police academy is important. If you’re not mentally and physically ready for the abrupt shift in both living environments and study applications, you’ll find yourself at a distinct disadvantage.

Don’t let your desire to serve the public be jeopardized by a lack of preparation at this juncture. Maximize your “prep” time with groundwork exercises -both mental and physical ones. Appreciate that you’ll be competing against yourself and your fellow recruits. Having an advantage, before you even start the training, can make this part of your journey a little easier to accomplish–which helps make you a better graduate and better qualified for the important task of law enforcement.

Recommendations to prepare for the police academy

Though there isn’t a guidebook that outlines how best to prepare for your training program, there are universal suggestions that postgraduates cite that can condition you to be better prepared.

These suggestions are divided three groups: physical activities, mental preparations, and a specific topic of importance–firearms.


You will be trained and then tested on your physical fitness. Before your official program starts, start your personal regiment of improving the following exercises to reach the Physical Conditioning Test Passing Requirements:

running to prepare for the police academy

Vertical Jump: 15 inches

1 Minute Sit-up: 28 repetitions

300 Meter Run: 70.1 seconds or less

1 Minute Push-ups: 24 repetitions

1.5 Mile Run: 15.55 minutes or less


How well you adapt to the rigors on an intensive classroom schedule can determine how well you absorb new material and your ability to master how to put-it-to-work. By following these suggestions, you’ll be better prepared mentally to maximize your success at the academy:

  • First, clear your mind of distractions that might steal your concentration that’s needed to complete your assignments. Eliminate, solve or delegate whatever issues you’re mentally dealing with at home or work before entering the program. At the academy you’ll need your focus and attention to be at 100% – not shared with other personal issues.
  • Create a mindset that embraces three important tracks:
    • Time Management–to operate more effectively with all the tasks that the academy will throw at you.
    • Team Player–law enforcement always relies on team support and at the academy it starts day one. Relinquish your need to be in control–at the academy- you will not be.
    • Organization–you’ll have many assignments to complete, many tasks to master and many opportunities to fall short. If you’re not already an organized individual-embrace the need to be.


No tool in law enforcement’s toolbox is more important than the firearm. If you are not proficient in this category you will probably not graduate from the academy. Start your own training with the handgun and shotgun–but don’t teach yourself. Visit a local range and get professional training.

Your time at your police academy will be looked back at as a stressful but wonderful experience. Though your training never ends, your ability to apply the first set of law enforcement skills starts at the academy level. Being prepared before day one will help in all your days that follow.