Job Shadow a Police Officer

Do you want to become a police officer when you "grow up?" Job shadowing a police officer is a great and easy way to learn more about how the justice systems works and find out if you really want to become a police officer.


People Under 18 Years of Age

If you are under 16 years of age most law-enforcement agencies will not let you job shadow a police officer unless you have a note from a school official saying that you are being offered the opportunity to job shadow as your school project.

  1. Go to a school official (Guidance Counselor works well) and tell them that you are interested in job shadowing a police officer but you need a note from a school official because you are under 16 years of age.
  2. After completing the first steps please follow the steps for people over the age of 18.

People Over the Age of 18

  1. Contact your local law enforcement agency and tell them that you are interested in job shadowing a police officer as part of a school project. If you personally know the police officer that you want to job shadow you can contact them directly.
  2. Make sure that you get the following information from the law enforcement agency or police officer:
    • Officer's name you will be job shadowing.
    • Where you will meet them.
    • When you will job shadow them.
    • How long their shift is.
    • No slang Words.
    • Any other information you may want to know.

  3. Make sure that you show up early to your meeting location. (This shows you are responsible!)


  • You may need to fill out a ride-along form ahead of time that details the trip and asks you question regarding your interest. Submitting this form may require up to a week of processing time before you receive approval.
  • Be a little bit early but not too early as your Officer might be busy and wait patiently; sometimes if he or she is busy and it is safe to do so then they may have another unit bring you to them.
  • Ask the officer questions about benefits, starting salary, etc.
  • Ask the officer questions about what kind of schooling is needed.
  • Upon completing the eighth grade and up until 21 years of age, you may join your local Police Explorers Post. By doing this you will have the privilege of learning about law enforcement, competing in local and national competitions, and ride on patrol up until 11 PM while you're under 18, and after 11 when you turn 18. Contact your local police department, or Explorers within the Boy Scouts of America.


  • Don't ask the officer questions that may be considered too personal.

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