What should be the maximum hiring age for new law enforcement officers?

Police1 Poll Results: Nov 30, 2021 - Dec 09, 2021

Under 30 7 %
Under 40 24 %
Under 50 21 %
There should not be a maximum hiring age for new officers 48 %
Total 1355

A proposal to increase the maximum age at hiring of new police officers from 35 to 40 in a Chicago suburb failed to generate support from elected officials or the city's chief of police this month. What do you think should be the maximum hiring age for new cops? Email your thoughts to editor@police1.com.

Police1 readers respond

  • I was hired by the Mason City Police Department and attended the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy when I was 54 years old. I continued at MCPD until and per state law, to the age of 66, the mandatory retirement age in Iowa. Although I had the same training as all the other younger officers, it seemed I had to work twice as hard to get equal consideration for my work. I am now 70 years old and I don't feel that much older than when I was 66, compare 36 to 40. The department is at a historic low for officers needed and experienced officers could offer much-needed assistance but state law age requirements hamstring their efforts to do so. I truly believe the culture and today's political climate are not conducive for hiring young career officers so who's left?

  • I am a retired Commander for the U.S. Navy Police where I served for nearly 30 years. I was a municipal police captain before entering military service. I think there should not be ANY maximum hiring for new law enforcement officers or retention age for existing law enforcement officers. People are living longer and many people past 65 or 70 are in very good physical shape. What I do support is an annual physical fitness test for any law enforcement officer on and past their 65th birthday and perhaps also a cognitive test for officers of later age. These tests, along with annual firearm requals, will determine when an officer is no longer mentally or physically able to safely serve.

  • We need to be careful as we do not want to violate someone's constitutional rights via age discrimination. When I retired as a US Army military policeman I was about 100 days from turning 40. I was stronger, faster, smarter and more experienced than my fellow cadets and most already active in LE and I won the fitness award when several cadets were in their 20s. As long as the candidate has the physical ability to pass the rigors of physical activity and the required fitness tests to become POST certified and meet all other eligibility requirements then age should NOT be a factor. Yes, if you hire a 60 y/o there is a good possibility injury, injury recovery and ailments may necessitate the need for more time off, medical attention, or a restriction of duties but then again it may not. Hiring a person must be considered on a case-by-case basis because you do not want to let a "superman" get away because you didn't take a risk.
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