Cadet/Police Officer

General Qualifications

  • High school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Minimum of 60 semester college hours from an accredited college or university. An applicant may fulfill the college requirement via one of the following:
    • 30 semester college hours from an accredited college or university and one year of continuous employment as a police guard, dispatcher, telecommunication operator, or parking controller within the University of Texas System, or
    • 30 semester college hours from an accredited college or university and honorable discharge after at least two years of active service in the armed forces of the United States, or
    • 30 semester college hours from an accredited college or university and two years' experience as a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or jailer. 
  • Meet age requirements and physical, mental, and educational standards established by the Office of the Director of Police, the Board of Regents, and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE)
  • Valid Texas driver's license with a satisfactory driving record that meets or exceeds UT System policy and standards
  • Pass a written examination
  • Pass a physical agility test
  • Pass a thorough background investigation that includes a criminal history check, credit check, drug/alcohol screening, and psychological testing
  • Pass an oral review panel

Lateral Police Officer

An already commissioned police officer wishing to join the UT Southwestern Police Department is generally not required to attend the UT System Police Academy.

Candidates must have:

  • Two years' experience in Texas.
  • A current TCOLE Peace Officer license.
  • Less than a two-year break in service as a commissioned police officer.

Other Information

  • Successful candidates sign an educational agreement that generally states that training expenses will be reimbursed to the University in the event the officer resigns prior to the completion of their two-year commitment. (Except Police Officers)
  • Continued employment is contingent upon successful completion of the Basic Peace Officer Training Course conducted by The University of Texas System Police Academy, which includes the passing of the TCOLE license examination within 15 calendar days after completion of the Basic Peace Officer Training Course. (Except Police Officers)
  • All successful candidates are required to attend the UT System Police Academy located in Austin, Texas, whether or not they have been previously licensed by TCOLE. (Except Police Officers)
  • All successful candidates are required to comply with all UT System Police or UT Southwestern Police Department policies, procedures, and directives; Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System, and institutional rules, regulations, policies, and procedures.

Shift Assignments

  • Officers may be assigned to any one of three shifts, working days or nights, with varying days off throughout the week.
  • Officers may be required to work overtime assignments.
  • Shift assignments or overtime assignments may include working holidays or weekends.
  • Assignments are subject to change at any time depending on the needs of the Department.

Working Conditions

  • Indoor assignments typically require the officers to patrol the campus facilities on foot. Occasionally an officer assumes a fixed post assignment. Any indoor assignment may require standing, sitting, or walking for lengthy periods of time.
  • A motorized patrol vehicle typically performs outside patrol assignments. However, this assignment is also performed on bicycle or on foot. Officers are routinely exposed to inclement weather conditions for lengthy periods of time.
  • Because of the nature and scope of law enforcement, work does involve a degree of hazard.

UT System Police Academy

The UT System Police Academy is located in Austin, Texas. Cadets receive 24 weeks of intensive training in a variety of subjects which include but are not limited to: applicable state laws, criminal investigations, use of force, search and seizure, physical training, emergency vehicle operation, and firearms training.

Uniforms, Equipment, Per Diem, and Lodging

The UTSW University Police Department issues most of the uniforms, equipment, and classroom supplies. Cadets must purchase some training-related clothing such as sweat pants, shirts, T-shirts, shorts, and running shoes as specified by the academy.

Cadets may be required, depending on housing availability, to bring bedding, laundry supplies, and personal grooming/hygiene-related supplies.

Where permitted by applicable policies or procedures, the cadet receives a per diem for certain expenses.

Assignment and Field Training

Upon successful completion and graduation from the UT System Police Academy, the officer will be assigned to a shift and a field-training officer (FTO). The new officer will then undergo approximately three months of training with the FTO. The FTO assists the officer with the final phase of his or her training by observing, evaluating, and grading the new officer's progress on a daily basis.

If the new officer successfully completes the field-training program, he or she is then assigned to a shift and placed on regular status.