Do you have a strong dedication to public service? If you do, a career with the City of Columbia Police Department may be for you!

 A career with the Columbia Police Department offers excitement, growth opportunities, work-life-balance, and the chance to make a positive impact in your community. As one of the state's leaders in Community Oriented Policing, we strongly value the partnerships we have built with the diverse communities of Columbia and are looking for Officers that will uphold that tradition. Throughout your career with CPD, you'll have the chance to follow many paths in different assignments, including: Detective, SWAT, K9 Handler and Motor Officer, among others. CPD offers a competitive base salary, great benefits, and a wonderful community to live in.

The following skills and desirable attributes exemplify what we look for in a Police Officer (Recruit Level): Integrity; leadership skills; excellent judgment under pressure; ability to maintain sufficient level of fitness to safely perform as a law enforcement professional; the ability to be aware of, control, and express emotions appropriately, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically;  ability to maintain confidence in uncertain situations; excellent judgment and ability to act under pressure; ability to thrive in diverse populations.

 A Columbia Police Officer:

  • Contributes to the team effort of maintaining a presence in the community that helps to deter crime and provide support to citizens;
  • Collaborates in building strong relationships with community members, upholding best practices of Community Oriented Policing;
  • Acts as a police presence at major public events to ensure public safety;
  • Identifies potential criminal activity or other hazardous situations and takes proper actions to protect citizens and property;
  • Helps to secure crime scenes and process evidence;
  • Responds to calls for service; Observes violations; makes arrests and citations when necessary;
  • Conducts criminal investigations by gathering evidence and interviewing victims and witnesses;
  • Documents observations and actions by radioing information; completing reports;
  • Fulfills court orders by testifying in court regarding criminal investigations and citations;
  • Maintains safe traffic conditions by monitoring and directing traffic; enforces laws and ordinances; investigates collisions.

Required State Standards:

The City of Columbia uses the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy (T.L.E.T.A.).   T.L.E.T.A. conducts four twelve week basic police schools each year.  The basic school is the mainstay of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy.  Their mission is to produce a physically fit, highly motivated, basically trained police officer thoroughly indoctrinated in the ethics and professional standards of the law enforcement profession.  The officer will have a degree of both technical and tactical proficiency to function on the streets as well as in criminal and civil courts of our state.


You must meet the following requirement on the date you apply, unless otherwise indicated.  In accordance with P.O.S.T. standards:

  • Be at least 18 years of age;
  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Be a high school graduate or possess equivalence (no waivers will be granted for minimum education requirements);
  • Not have been convicted or pleaded guilty to or entered a pleas of nolo contendere to any felony charge or to any violation of any federal or state laws or City ordinances relating to force, violence, theft, dishonesty, gambling, liquor and other alcoholic beverages or controlled substances;
  • The agency must present a copy of an DD-214s, DD-215s and DD873s along with the application for certification

* The commission may consider a waiver from pre-employment requirements for a person who has been convicted of, or entered a plea of nolo contendere to any felony charge or to any violation of any federal or state laws or city ordinances relating to force, violence, theft, dishonesty, gambling, liquor and other alcoholic beverages or controlled substances when the offense was classed as a misdemeanor. Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 1110-02-.03


Required documents should be attached electronically to your application.  If you are unable to attach at the time of application submittal, you must submit them as soon as possible via fax: (931) 560-1617

Please ensure all information is complete and accurate on the supplemental questions. 

Police Officers attend the Police Academy classroom lectures on subjects including criminal law, laws of arrest, traffic laws, juvenile law, principles of law enforcement, rules of evidence, rules of search and seizure, patrol theory and methods, and report writing; observe demonstrations on arrest and control methods and the care and use of firearms; participate in physical conditioning and self-defense exercises; practice the use of firearms; and take examinations.


The screening process will consist of the following components:

1.  APPLICATION REVIEW: Applications will be evaluated to ensure they meet the minimum requirements. Only those applicants who clearly demonstrate meeting the requirements specified above will be approved to continue in the screening process.

2.  WRITTEN TEST: IF YOU MEET THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS AND YOUR APPLICATION IS APPROVED, you will be scheduled for the written examination.  

The written test consists of multiple-choice questions that measure general aptitudes needed to be a Police Officer.  A Study Guide with test taking tips and sample questions is available in the following link:  Police Applicant Study Guide  No prior law enforcement knowledge is necessary to pass the test.

The test includes the following factors:

Section I:

Reading Comprehension: Ability to read, comprehend, and interpret factual or technical materials in a variety of written formats.

Section II:

Checking Ability: Ability to detect similarities and differences between groups of items such as words or numbers.

 Map Reading/Directional Situations: Ability to correctly follow a series of written directions (north, south, east, west) or movements (left, right) within a general area; ability to locate destinations and follow/determine appropriate routes using a map and/or map index.

 Decision Making: Ability to identify and comprehend critical elements of a situation and choose courses of action based on general policies and guidelines.

 Section III:

Written Communication: Ability to correctly apply fundamentals of English grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, written expression, and vocabulary.

There are three pass points for this examination.  You must pass Section I, Section III AND Sections I, II, and III combined to pass the written test. THIS IS A (PASS/FAIL) TEST; you are not ranked based upon your score.

3. PERFORMANCE TEST: The performance test is a pass/fail examination which consists of 465-yard course that simulates a suspect chase and measures a variety of physical abilities necessary in police work.  The test requires candidates to: a. Dodge low hanging objects; b. climb ladders and stairs; c. run around pylons; d. jump, step and/or climb over 3, 4, and 6-foot fences; and e. partially lift and drag a 150 lb. "simulated victim".  While performing the test, candidates must wear a 3-pound vest provided by the Police Department. NOTE:  Requests for waivers will be considered on a case-by-case basis based on your responses to the supplemental questions on your application.

Candidates who pass the written test and performance test will be placed on a list which will be used to fill position vacancies during the next year. For each vacancy, only those candidates with the most appropriate qualifications will be contacted by the hiring department for an interview.

NOTE: Do not reapply until your name expires from the Police Officer (Recruit Level) eligibility list.


Candidates must also pass the following processes prior to hire:

PRE-INVESTIGATIVE QUESTIONNAIRE: On the day of the performance test, candidates will also complete a Pre-Investigative Questionnaire.

MEDICAL EXAMINATION:  A medical examination including drug screening and documentation of medical history that meets City of Columbia and/or P.O.S.T. guidelines will be conducted following a conditional offer of employment. Medical conditions must enable the applicant to perform the essential duties of the position. The City of Columbia is committed to a drug and alcohol-free work place.

 PRE-EMPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS:  Employment offers are conditional pending the results of all screening processes that are applicable to this job, which may include but are not limited to the following:  Confirmation of citizenship; completion of a pre-employment medical review/exam (which may include drug/alcohol testing); reference checks; and a fingerprint check.  The fingerprints will be submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Department of Justice for a conviction record report.  Certain positions may require additional screening processes which may include a background investigation.  All of these processes must be successfully completed before employment begins.  A positive test for alcohol, illegal drugs, including marijuana, or inadequately explained prescription drugs, misrepresentation, falsification, or omission of pertinent facts in any step of the screening/selection process may be cause for disqualification and/or termination of employment.  Nothing in this job posting constitutes an expressed or implied contract for employment with the City of Columbia.  Applicants must notify the Personnel Department of any changes in their name, address (home, email), or phone number or they may miss employment opportunities.

 NOTE: Misrepresentation, falsification, or omission of pertinent facts in any step of the screening/selection process may be cause for disqualification or termination of employment.