Every community needs duty-ready police officers to protect and serve. In return for your willingness to step forward, you can enjoy a rewarding career with good pay, benefits, and significant respect.
Of course, if you’ve been actively applying for a job in law enforcement, you know how competitive the process is. You cannot just meet the minimum qualifications, you must truly stand out to get the job. So how do you do that?
Make a solid first impression with your cover letter! Use this quick list of tips , followed by a police officer cover letter sample.
How Do You Write a Cover Letter for a Police Officer Position
A police officer cover letter has to be around one page long and features three standard sections — introduction, main body, and conclusion. To write an effective cover letter, think of the employer’s perspective: what qualities and personal characteristics are they looking for? For starters, select 2-3 main “talking points” and address them in your letter. Next, talk about your professional background, education, community service, and motivation for entering the police workforce.
Use your cover letter to make it clear that you meet the stated requirements. To do that focus on these four areas:
- Work Experience: List your employment in law enforcement. In addition to that, mention any other experiences that are relevant to the position. This includes military service, government contracting, and security work (as a security guard).
- Reputation and Background: A clean background is key. If you’ve been fingerprinted and background checked, you should say so in your cover letter. Also, add information that speaks well to your character.
- Educational Requirements: Be very clear that you have completed any of the listed educational requirements. This is usually a combination of college education and police academy training. List the number of hours you have completed as academy training can last anywhere from several weeks to more than a year.
- Community Service Commitment: Community policing is becoming the standard in many places. Those in charge of hiring want officers who care about the people they are serving. If you’ve done things to give back to your community, mention this in your letter. If you are a resident of the community mention that, or state that you are willing to move into the area.
Executive Career Coach
Write a Killer Intro Paragraph and Professional Summary
The first paragraph of your cover letter and the opening of your resume are exceptionally important. Use both to win people over. For that reason, your professional summary should focus on your career and professionalism. If you don’t have the experience, use it to share your desire to work to keep the community safe.
Take a similar approach with your cover letter. Open with an introduction of yourself and your experience. Then, customize the rest of the opening paragraph according to the job listing and needs of the community. Also, browse cover letter examples from other industries to see how that’s done.
Full-time openings in law enforcement may be few and far between. You could be waitlisted, even if you are completely qualified. If this happens, be patient. There may be things you can do to increase your chances of being hired sooner than later:
- Apply for a job in corrections at the local jail or as a public safety officer.
- Inquire about part-time positions.
- Volunteer as an auxiliary or reserve officer.
- Apply to work as a dispatcher.
By doing these things, you may find that your application earns a higher priority.
Visibility and familiarity are key here, especially in smaller communities. You should get involved in local events where the local police are active. Doing so is a good way to show community support and to do a bit of networking.
Highlight the In-Demand Skills for Police Officers
Police officers and detectives need more than great physical shape; they are also expected to have strong analytical and critical skills. While your resume will provide a complete overview of your expertise, use your cover letter as a “trailer” — advertise your main competencies and achievements.
Here are some of the top skills for police officers to mention in your cover letter:
- Public safety
- Law enforcement
- Emotional intelligence
- Mental agility
- Effective communication
- Conflict resolution
- Public relation skills
- Performing searches
- Crime report writing
- Evidence gathering
- Forensic analysis
- Teamwork skills
- Negotiation skills
Cover Letter Sample For Police Officer in .docx Format
Here is a cover letter sample that includes some of the tips mentioned above.
Download example (Word version)
Police Officer Cover Letter Example – Text Format
Dear Sgt. Mallard and esteemed members of West City Council,
My name is Joey Ninja, and I am writing this letter to express my interest in serving West City as a full-time police officer. I grew up in West City and still have family living there. That’s why I am excited to play a role in keeping the city safe for all of its citizens. I have two years of law-enforcement related experience as a Mason County reserve deputy, and I believe that experience has prepared me well for this position.
In my current position, my duties include responding to 911 calls, traffic law, and ordinance enforcement, making arrests, investigating misdemeanors and low-level felonies, and processing arrestees into jail. I am familiar with and am capable of complying with all laws and regulations regarding the handling of evidence. I have testified in court on behalf of the state of Texas on multiple occasions.
In May of 2016, I graduated from West City Community College with a degree in Criminal Justice. I have also completed 840 hours of police academy training, earning the award for Top Officer Candidate. Prior to this, I served in the United States Coast Guard as a Water Safety Enforcement Patrol Officer.
It would be an honor to work as a member of the West City Police Department. I am very proud to be a long time member of this community and work hard to show my commitment through my work in local scouting, youth sports, and other outreach programs.
I have included my resume, background check, firearms certification, and other documents. Please contact me at your convenience if any other information is required.
Dep. Joey Ninja
Sample of Cover Letter for Police Officer with No Experience
Dear Admin. Sgt. Davis,
My name is Chet Ninja, and I’m a recent graduate of North Bay police Academy. I am submitting this letter along with my resume, letters of recommendation, and criminal background check as required, to apply for the position of Entry-Level uniformed officer for the city of Long Beach. Not only do I meet the requirements for this position, but I also have the experience that makes me uniquely qualified for it.
I graduated from North Bay Police Academy’s 28-week police academy course in February 2021. I’m proud to say that I was given the designation of Honor Cadet during this time period. My training included:
- Constitutional law
- Deescalation techniques
- CIT training
- Community relations
- Traffic patrol
- Criminal investigation
- Driver training
- Human relations
- Firearms and non-lethal weapons
- Reports and warrants
- Witness interviewing
- Physical fitness
- Defensive driving
My instructors did an excellent job of preparing me for a variety of situations through classroom learning, training scenarios, and repetition. In addition to academy training, I successfully completed two six-week internships. The first was at the Long Beach correctional institute where I assisted guards and administrative staff. The second was through the Bay County PD. There, I assisted officers on traffic patrols, helped with crowd control at community events, and manned my own bicycle patrol in the 23rd district.
I have been employed by the City of Long Beach, Parks, and Recreation department for three years as a camp counselor and baseball coach. This has allowed me to build relationships with youth in the community, and their parents. I’m confident that this has given me an understanding of the struggles, concerns, and values of the citizens in this community. It is my goal to use my connection to Long Beach to foster trust and provide the best service within my capabilities.
As noted in the job listing, there are open interviews for this position next Tuesday. I plan on attending this event. Please contact me if there is any other information I can provide.
Final Tip: Get Recommendations
If you can, obtain at least one letter of recommendation. This can be from a respected member of the community, another police officer, or an academy instructor. Such an endorsement can help your application earn a second look and set you apart from other officers!