How to Become a Law Enforcement Officer

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Overview
Any individual who meets the minimum qualifications may become a law enforcement officer in North Carolina either by (1) applying with a law enforcement agency and requesting the agency send you to Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET); (2) attending BLET on your own; or (3) finding an agency to sponsor you for BLET.

Options for Attaining BLET Certification
The first option, applying with a law enforcement agency and requesting the agency send you to Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET), is the most time-consuming as most agencies take between two to four months to complete the recruiting process and make a hiring decision.  In addition, only larger agencies will normally agree to send someone to BLET as most agencies prefer to hire graduates.

The second option, attending BLET on your own, is the fastest way to complete BLET. If you are moving to a specific location within North Carollina, you should contact the local community college for the county in which you are living or one within driving distance and contact the BLET School Director.

To apply for admission to BLET, you must provide a certified criminal history check from all the counties and states in which you have lived since becoming an adult. If you don’t already have copies of these, visit the county courthouse where you are living now as it is often easier to get these documents in person versus through the mail.  A small fee will be assessed in order to provide a certified copy of the record.  A physical is also required with the appropriate completed forms.

The third option, finding an agency to sponsor you, will save you the cost of tuition although you will still have to purchase the books.  You will need to approach an agency, tell them you are interested in becoming a police officer, and ask if they sponsor attendees for BLET.  If the Chief or Sheriff is willing to sponsor you, they will run a background check to look at your criminal and driving history. If there are no issues with these reports, they will send a letter to the local BLET School Director or will provide you with such a letter stating their agency is  sponsoring you.  Please note that sponsorship does NOT mean that the agency is promising to hire you after completing the course. Some agencies routinely sponsor attendees with no intention of hiring them; it is done as a favor to the student.

Graduation Versus Certification
Graduation from BLET does not equal certification as a police officer; it merely makes you eligible for certification. This eligibility is good for one year from the date of graduation from BLET. If you are not hired by an agency within that one year period, you must repeat the BLET course.

Basic Law Enforcement Training
The Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) Curriculum is designed to prepare entry-level individuals with the cognitive and physical skills needed to become certified law enforcement officers in North Carolina.

The course is comprised of 36 separate blocks of instruction to include topics such as Firearms, Driver Training, Motor Vehicle Law, and Arrest, Search, and Seizure. The BLET course is filled with practical exercises and an extensive ethics section that is woven throughout the training experience. The Criminal Justice Education and Training Commission mandated 620-hour course takes approximately 16 weeks to complete and concludes with a comprehensive written exam and skills testing.

Upon successful completion of the BLET State Comprehensive Written Examination, the BLET trainee has one year from the date of the examination to be duly appointed and sworn by an agency as a law enforcement officer in North Carolina.  However, most agencies include an additional period of field training.  

Minimum Qualifications for Becoming a NC Police Officer
  • U.S citizen
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • At least 20 years of age
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED
  • Possess a NC Basic Law Enforcement Training Certification

BLET Training Resources

 

BLET Sign

BLET Group Photo

BLET Firearms Training

Training Exercise

Vance Granville Community College

Wake Tech Community College