Below are some of the more common questions prospective and current employees have about working with the Atlanta Police Department. 

What age restrictions apply to joining the Atlanta Police Department?

You must reach your twenty-first birthday by the time you graduate from the police academy. There is no maximum age restriction.

Will I get paid while I am enrolled in the police academy?

Absolutely! You become a paid employee of the Atlanta Police Department once you complete processing and will be paid at the current rate for Police Officer Recruits.

When do the police academy classes generally start?

Academy classes begin when a suitable number of recruits have been accepted for training. Actual class sizes vary from session to session. Depending upon the number of available recruits for your class, you may experience a wait of several weeks or even months between your acceptance and the beginning of academy training. Usual time beween classes from their start date is two (2) months.

Does the Atlanta Police Department pay for moving expenses?

There is need based housing assistance provided through the Atlanta Police Foundation. For more information, visit www.atlantapolicefoundation.org

How does the pay of the Atlanta Police Department compare with other agencies?

The Atlanta Police Department’s Officer pay scale is competitive with every police department in the state of Georgia, if not the entire Southeast.

When can I qualify for a specialized unit?

After you have been employed with the department for three years, you can qualify for the rank of Investigator or join a Specialized Unit.

Does the Atlanta Police Department offer a lateral transfer program?

Yes, we do! We accept In-State, Out-of-State, and Military Police transfers (From Qualified Military Police Units). Fill out our “Lateral Police Offer Application” to get started!

Do I really have to pass the Physical Training test?

Yes, you will be required to pass a pre-employment physical agility test during the initial background process which is described as follows:

Physical Agility Test (PAT) Course Description:

  • The course measures a total of 870 feet (290 yards/265.2 meters) (half-court basketball court).
  • There is a time limit of two minutes six seconds (2:06)–time starts on candidates movement from the starting line and ends when they pass the finish line.
  • The course consists of a series of nine interspersed individual tasks, arranged in a continuous format that may be viewed as being essential (physical) job tasks for law enforcement training:
    1. Running
    2. Jumping (low hurdle)
    3. Climbing stairs
    4. Low crawling
    5. Jumping (broad-type)
    6. Climbing a fence (chain-link/four feet)
    7. Climbing through a window
    8. Moving/dragging a weight (150 lbs.)
    9. Changing direction on the run

Running the Course:

  • The candidate starts the course at a point, indicated on the course map.
  • The candidate runs one and 3/4 laps around the perimeter of the course and enters the interior of the course at the point indicated on the course map.
  • The first obstacle encountered in the interior consists of two low hurdles, one and a half feet high and four feet long, placed 13 feet apart.
  • After clearing the hurdles, stairs (five steps up to a 32-inch wide landing, 45 inches above the floor and five steps down) must be negotiated twice (note that each step has a 7.5 inch rise and tread that is 11 inches wide), candidate may skip steps going up but must touch each stair coming down.
  • Once the stair event is completed, another low hurdle must be cleared; the trainee must then successfully negotiate a low crawl under an obstacle set at two feet above the floor.
  • Make a turn and clear a ditch simulation that is six feet in width.
  • After another turn, a chain-link fence (four feet in height) must be climbed.
  • Two additional turns made, and a four feet high window must be successfully entered.
  • The candidate must then drag a 150-pound dead weight a distance of 20 feet.
  • Finish with one more running lap around the perimeter of the course.

Penalties Assessed:

  • +2 seconds for knocked down hurdles
  • +2 seconds for foot faults on “ditch simulation”
  • 3 physical attempts “through the window” and “over the fence” before evaluator can offer run around
  • If a candidate skips stairs going down, they will be returned to the stair landing and repeat.


How long does police academy training last, and do we stay at the academy?

The police academy training period is twenty-one weeks long. Upon becoming a sworn officer, you will have an additional twelve weeks of Field Training. Housing is not provided at the academy; you attend class during the day and go home afterward.

Does the Atlanta Police Department supply sweat pants and shirts?

No, you will be required to pay for all of the necessary physical training gear. The Atlanta Police Department does provide your uniform.

Can turn in my job application prior to attending a Recruiting Event?

The Atlanta Police Department accepts online applications for Police Officer Recruit applicants and Police Officer Lateral applicants through our online portal.

As an Officer, will I ride alone or with a partner?

Assignments are determined by your Zone Commander based on what they feel best suits the needs of the Zone.

How do I get promoted?

To get promoted to the rank of Investigator, Sergeant, or Lieutenant you must pass both a written and oral exam. The ranks of Captain, Major, Deputy Chief, and Assistant Chief are appointed by the Chief of Police.

What if I am a student? Can I go to school and be a police officer at the same time?

The Atlanta Police Department encourages every officer to find time to increase their education, but basic law enforcement training is extremely demanding and the requirements of the department take priority. Employees may be eligible to receive tuition reimbursement if they are enrolled in an accredited institution of higher learning.