A career in law enforcement can be exciting and rewarding. However, becoming a Colorado peace officer requires high ethical standards, personal discipline, and extensive training. To be eligible for appointment as a peace officer, an applicant must first be certified by the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board. By law Basic certification requires successful completion of a POST-approved Basic academy successful completion of the POST certification examination, and a background check.
- Basic POST Certification Examination
Upon passing the basic academy, POST Certification exam, and background check, an applicant for Basic certification under Board Rule 10 - Basic Peace Officer Certification will receive a certificate allowing them to seek employment as a Colorado peace officer.
In order to be eligible for the POST examination, the Board requires every applicant to have:
- A G.E.D, high school diploma, or an equivalency certificate;
- Current first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation certificates or equivalents;
- A state-issued Driver's License or Identification card;
- Successful completion, within the two years prior to application, of an approved Colorado Basic training course.
- Background Checks
Under Rule 14 - Fingerprint-Based Criminal History Record Check every applicant must be fingerprinted and cleared through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The fingerprints can be complete by an out-of-state law enforcement agency but must be done on the Colorado POST fingerprint card. The academy, agency or the individual may send the fingerprint card to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, 690 Kipling, Suite 3000, Denver, CO 80215 with the $39.50 processing fee (certified check or money orders only - made out to CBI).
Alternatively, applicants can submit fingerprints digitally through the CBI CABS system, using a CBI approved vendor. For full instructions about how to submit fingerprints either via fingerprint card or digitally, click here: POST Fingerprint Instructions.
- Hiring Requirements
After receiving POST certification, an individual must meet additional requirements before being appointed as a peace officer. State law requires a physical examination and a psychological evaluation of an applicant be completed before any such applicant may be appointed. The hiring agency determines the scope of the examination and evaluation. The hiring agency also determines standards of acceptability of such results.
Please note that individual law enforcement agencies may evaluate a variety of additional factors as part of their own hiring process. Some of these factors may include:
- Written employment test;
- Oral board interview;
- Physical agility test;
- Polygraph test;
- Minimum age (usually 21);
- Clean driving record;
- Additional college education;
- Complete background investigation, including fingerprint check, interviews of neighbors and employers.
Be sure to check with individual agencies to determine their particular employment requirements. POST does not determine agency employment requirements.
To verify if a peace officer is in good standing please check IADLEST National Decertification Index (NDI).
- Certification of Non-United States Citizens
The Department of Law ("DOL") and the Peace Officer Standards and Training ("POST") Board are committed to following all federal and state laws governing the certification of peace officer applicants, for both U.S. citizens and non-citizens alike. This page is intended to provide guidance to non-U.S. citizens who are considering applying for POST certification.
Federal law allows states to provide public benefits, including POST certification, to some non-U.S. citizens. The following non-U.S. citizens can receive POST certification:
- Lawful permanent residents;
- An alien who is granted asylum under § 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA);
- A refugee admitted under § 207 of the INA;
- An alien who is paroled into the United States for a period of at least one year under § 212(d)(5) of the INA;
- An alien whose deportation is being withheld because the federal Attorney General has determined that such alien's life or freedom would be threatened in such country on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion;
- An alien who is granted conditional entry under § 203(a)(7) of the INA;
- An alien who is a Cuban or Haitian entrant;
- A nonimmigrant under the INA, or
- An alien who is paroled into the United States for less than one year under § 212(d)(5) of INA.
There are also several categories of non-citizen immigrants who may not be eligible for POST certification, but this area of law is very complicated and it is impossible to anticipate the specific facts of each situation. For example, law enforcement agencies should always consult their attorneys about certain categories of immigrants, like those with employment authorization under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or other individuals who may lack lawful status in the United States. For more information,see8 U.S.C. § § 1621(a) and (c), 8 U.S.C. &, 1641, and C.R.S. § 24-76.5-103(1).
The DOL and POST are not able to provide legal advice about specific individuals or circumstances. Hiring agencies and candidates with questions about their specific circumstances should consult an attorney.
Click for a printable PDF version of the POST Board Guidance Regarding Certification of Non-United States Citizens.
Non-US Citizens must provide confirmation of high school or GED equivalence by obtaining a credential evaluation report from a service recognized by the US Department of Education. Please see Credentialing of Foreign Degrees for further information.
Misdemeanor and Felony Convictions
State law prohibits POST certification of any person who has been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors. If an individual wishes to attend an academy and has a misdemeanor conviction that would preclude certification, they may request a variance to appeal the denial of certification pursuant to Rule 8 - Process for Seeking Exemption From Stautory Certification Restrictions. An individual convicted of any felony as an adult is ineligible, and no variance is allowed for a felony conviction with the following exceptions:
- Deferred judgments and sentencing agreements;
- Deferred prosecution agreements;
- Pretrial diversion agreements.
Additionally, individuals with domestic violence convictions may not be eligible to serve as peace officers, due to federal laws. See Misdemeanors Affecting Certification for information related to revocations.
Anyone who is POST certified and is convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors will be decertified. The POST Board will begin revocation proceedings upon sentencing for a decertifying crime, including deferred sentences regardless of the ultimate outcome of the deferment.
Also, a finding of untruthfulness per C.R.S. 24-31-305(2.5) may result in the decertification of an officer after due process has occurred. Click here for information about the Untruthfulness Decertification Process.
An officer may appeal their revocation to the POST Board. Appeal procedures can be found in POST Rule 9.