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Old 03-23-2008, 07:42 AM   #1
MonaLeigh
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What's the cut-off age for being a cop?

I have a woman who wants to become a cop later in life. Is there a cut-off age for joining the police force?
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Old 03-23-2008, 07:59 AM   #2
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That would pretty much depend on the juristiction. Whats the location? What's her back-story?
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Old 03-23-2008, 08:16 AM   #3
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Don't think there is a cut-off age, (but check with your local dept) as much as being able to pass state certification, the criteria for being a police officer which requires passing numerous physical agility tests. However, Federal law enforcement agencies, such FBI have stricter requirements than state; they require you to be under 35 and you must retire at age 55.
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Old 03-23-2008, 08:46 AM   #4
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How late? Thirties? Forties? sure. Fifties, sixties, eh...getting tough.
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Old 03-23-2008, 09:04 AM   #5
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Thanks. I'm in the beginning stages of this. I was thinking she'd be in her early 30's and needs a major career/life change.
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Old 03-23-2008, 09:56 AM   #6
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For being a police offer, the limit is definitely going to be the local jurisdiction, and is going to be dictated by how crime the location has; in general, the more crime, the more likely you are looking at a younger limit (such as 30-35) as faster reflexes is more necessary than wisdom (it's a life or death thing). However, in more peaceful situations, the age limit is likely to be older or non-existent, as the ability to make interesting decisions is more important, as the cop is more likely to act as arbiter than arrester.

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Old 03-23-2008, 10:00 AM   #7
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My son-in-law became a full time cop in his early forties. I don't recall all the details, but I seem to recall that his city civil service requirement was that he must complete 20 years of service by the time he reached the mandatory retirement age. I think that was age 62, but he had a few years as a reserve officer that allowed him to fall within the rules.
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Old 03-23-2008, 10:49 AM   #8
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Thanks. I'm in the beginning stages of this. I was thinking she'd be in her early 30's and needs a major career/life change.
Early thirties would be acceptable just about anywhere.
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Old 03-23-2008, 05:25 PM   #9
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I've read 35 as the oldest acceptable age.
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Old 03-23-2008, 05:32 PM   #10
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It was 35 for me, but that was Federal.

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Old 03-23-2008, 07:06 PM   #11
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Zelda Fitzgerald decided (albeit a poor decision) to become a ballet dancer at 32. I would think that the rigorous physical requirements, just as in dance, would be difficult for a man over 35. Of course, once you become a police officer, you might be able to stay on the force until they hauled you away to the home.
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Old 03-23-2008, 08:47 PM   #12
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Thanks for the answers! I think I'll make her 30.
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Old 03-24-2008, 05:18 PM   #13
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FBI have stricter requirements than state; they require you to be under 35 and you must retire at age 55.
Just a nitpick: FBI lists their mandatory retirement age as 57, although that can be waived.
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:35 PM   #14
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Thirty is probably a safe bet, especially if it's a smallish fictional town. My brother in law became a cop at thirty one, in a small coastal town in Texas.

If it's a REAL city/town you're setting it in, the safest bet would be to call the police department and check! (But you knew that.)
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Old 03-24-2008, 08:45 PM   #15
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San Francisco PD has no maximum age limit. I think I read last year about someone 55 or 57 who was hired. (Unusual enough to get in the news, of course.)
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Old 03-25-2008, 01:11 AM   #16
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As I understand, most state and local departments do not have strict age limits. Late 20's early 30's is actually the average age of new cops. Many enlisted military people put in a full 20 in the military and then move to a civilian police job, which means they're joining police forces in their late 30's and early 40's. I have read about new cops all the way up to their early 50's, but you better be in great shape. Do some searches of police message boards and you will see this question asked and answered often.

The average age of a NAT (New Agent Trainee) at the FBI academy is 30. You must be hired by 37, so you can put in a full 20 years before mandatory retirement at 57. The 37 year old limit is virtually never waived, although if you are in another federal law enforcement position covered by what is called "6(c)" retirement, you can transfer over.
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:30 AM   #17
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FWIW, I was in my mid-thirties when I became a cop, and I worked with another woman who started when she was 43.
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