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Frequently Asked Questions - Becoming a Trooper

Becoming an Indiana State Police trooper is a big step - and a monumental challenge. It is understandable that many questions may arise in making such a decision. To make the process a bit easier, we have listed below several of the most common questions asked by potential recruits. If you do not find your question here, please feel free to contact your ISP Recruiter from our "Find Your Recruiter" page.

Indiana State Police Recruit Academy Selection Process

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question 1: How do I become an Indiana State Trooper?

Answer 1: All applicants must complete the online Trooper Application, in its entirety, at the following link:http://www.in.gov/isp/2368.htm.

Question 2: What are the requirements to become an Indiana State Trooper?

Answer 2: The minimum eligibility requirements for Trooper are:

  1. Must be a United States citizen.
  2. Must be at least 21 and less than 40 years old when appointed as a police employee.
  3. Must have vision correctable to 20/50.
  4. Must possess a valid driver's license.
  5. Must have a high school diploma or GED.
  6. Must be willing, if appointed, to reside and serve anywhere within the State of Indiana.

No exception will be made for anyone who does not meet all requirements.

Question 3: Can I have tattoos/body modifications?

Answer 3: The Indiana State Police has an appearance standards policy to address tattoos and mutilations.  The policy reads in part:  "All Sworn, Capitol Police Section and Motor Carrier Inspector employees are prohibited from:

  • Having any tattoo or mutilation on the head, neck or hands.
  • Exposing any tattoo or mutilation while on duty or while operating a Department commission. 

Any one exposing any tattoo or mutilation that can be seen while wearing the issued short sleeve uniform shirt with one’s arms extended straight downward in a position similar to Attention, during periods when the summer uniform is authorized, shall wear the issued winter uniform year-round to include the tie and felt hat.

Applicants who have tattoos or mutilations in violation of this policy are required to have them removed prior to participating in the selection process.

NOTE:  Mutilation is defined under current Departmental policy as the purposeful, knowing, or intentional disfigurement, modification, or alteration of one's natural appearance that could bring discredit upon the Department, or create a non-uniform appearance which might hinder the Department esprit de corps.  Such mutilations may include, but are not limited to brands, ear gauges, nose gauges, facial piercing, tongue trimming, tongue splitting, tongue studs, cranium cosmetic implants or any other implant that does not project an anthropomorphic appearance.

      Question 4: What does the ISP Selection Process consist of?

Answer 4: The selection process requires successful completion of:

  • A written examination, physical abilities test, structured oral interview, polygraph examination, background investigation, medical and psychological examination.
  • 24-26 weeks of an intensive para-military style training academy.

Note:  Successful applicants are required to sign two documents during the selection process.  The two documents are the Terms of Employment and Conditional Offer of Employment.

  • Terms of Employment:  A document indicating you will notify the Department of any changes that have occurred since your background investigation was completed (employment, marital status, place of residence, dependents, contact with law enforcement, etc.).
  • Conditional Offer of Employment:  A document indicating you will be invited to attend the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy after successful completion of the Department’s medical examination, psychological examination and toxicology screening.  You should not make any financial-related decisions based solely on the Conditional Offer of Employment until after being notified you have passed the medical and psychological examinations and toxicology screening.
Question 5: What can I expect on the written examination? How can I prepare for the written examination?

Answer 5: The Written Examination is conducted to evaluate the applicant‘s current academic level. To prepare for the written examination, it is encouraged that an applicant use any of the SAT/ACT study websites or Police Exam Study Guides commercially available.

The written examination covers the following subject areas:

  1. Vocabulary: These questions test your knowledge of the most accurate definition of the word provided.
  2. Language Skills: These questions test your ability to use proper punctuation and sentence structure.
  3. Spatial Relationships: These questions test your ability to appropriately read a map diagram and answer questions related to it.
  4. Math Reasoning: These questions test your knowledge of basic mathematics (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division).
  5. Study Guide: These questions are related to information contained in the study guide prior to the start of the test. These questions will test your ability to recall information contained in reading materials and your ability to recall information viewed in photographs.

An overview of the Written Examination can be found at the following link: Written Examination Study Guide. The outline is intended to provide guidance on what you will learn during the study session and what to look for in the actual examination. There are no example questions within the linked document. You will receive the actual study material on the day that you are assigned to take your Written Examination. You will be allowed to use a basic functioning calculator for the math section of the written examination.

Question 6: Is the physical ability test pass/fail?

Answer 6: Yes. All applicants must meet the exit standards that are posted at the following link: www.in.gov/isp/2880.htm in order to remain in the selection process. Those applicants meeting the standards will be allowed to continue in the selection process. Those applicants who well-exceed the standards will receive favorable consideration for placement into the Recruit Academy during the final selections.

Question 7: How will I be trained at the Recruit Academy?

Answer 7: Prospective Troopers receive approximately 24-26 weeks of intensive training at the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy. The curriculum is divided into several major disciplines. These disciplines include: criminal law, traffic law, crash investigations, defensive tactics, firearms, emergency vehicle operations, mechanics of arrest, field sobriety testing, crime scene investigations, interviews/interrogations, report writing, verbal judo, Spanish for law enforcement, first-aid and numerous other courses of instruction.

Question 8: If a person is already a sworn police officer in Indiana, or another state, do you still have to complete the entire training and graduate from the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy to become an Indiana State Trooper?

Answer 8: Yes. Every applicant, whether already a police officer or not and wishes to be an Indiana State Trooper, must complete the full-length academy training at the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy. Candidates from other states, or from other agencies within Indiana, are not exempt from completing the entire Indiana State Police Recruit Academy.

Question 9: Can a waiver be obtained for the maximum age of 40 due to prior military service or law enforcement experience?

Answer 9: No. Indiana Code 10-11-2-10 and Indiana Administrative Code (IAC) 240 stipulate applicants must be appointed (graduate the academy) prior to their 40th birthday. There are no exceptions or waivers.

Question 10: Is there a fee to attend the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy?
What are the salary and benefits for a cadet in training and for a Trooper upon graduation?

Answer 10: There is no fee to attend the Academy. During academy training, Recruits receive $1,615.39 bi-weekly as a Trooper Trainee. At the completion of academy training, the annual Probationary Trooper salary is $48,000. Visit our “Salary and Benefits” tab for more information about health and retirement benefits available to recruits at the following link: http://www.in.gov/isp/2368.htm. The current pay matrix for sworn employees is available at the following link: http://www.in.gov/isp/2876.htm.

Question 11: How are District assignments determined upon graduation?

Answer 11: Near the completion of the academy training, Trooper Trainees will be given an oppurtunity to submit a "wish list" of their district assignment preferences. The Superintendent and his staff will take these requests under advisement as well as the field openings and the needs of the Department when making district assignments. All applicants must be willing to reside anywhere within the State of Indiana upon being appointed. See the minimum eligibility requirements provided for Question #2.

Question 12: What is the residency requirement once I am assigned to a District?

Answer 12: ISP police employees assigned a particular geographical work area must reside within the following geographical boundaries served by the assignment:

  1. Personnel assigned to a District shall live within the District or an adjoining county in which the District facility is located. EXAMPLE: Indianapolis, District #52 is located in Marion County. ISP police employees living in Morgan County, which adjoins Marion County, would meet the residency requirements; and
  2. District Commanders may require District enforcement personnel to reside in a specific county to meet the needs of the Department when the affected employee is:
    1. Newly assigned (new hire or transfer*) to the District; or
    2. When an employee requests an inter-District transfer.
Question 13: Can I go home during the week, have visitors or receive telephone calls while I am in the academy?

Answer 13: The Indiana State Police Recruit Academy is a resident academy Monday through Friday. Liberty may be granted and Recruits may make telephone calls when authorized by the Academy Command Staff. Liberty is not guaranteed and is earned based upon class performance. In emergency situations, special permission to make telephone calls may be granted by the Academy Commander. During all other times, Recruits will not be permitted to have visitors of a non-emergency nature.

Question 14: Since the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy is a resident academy, when will my time off begin?

Answer 14: Your time off will begin at approximately 5:00 p.m. on Friday evening and will conclude at 7:00 a.m. Monday morning. You may return to the academy on Sunday evening as directed by the Academy Staff, usually between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., or on Monday morning between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. You must sign “in” and “out” of the academy for liberty and time off throughout your training period. Reporting times may vary based on training needs, but you will be notified in advance of such changes. Free time may be available during this time period.

Because of the intense training schedule, all Recruits will generally be confined to the Recruit Academy complex from 7:00 a.m. Monday until Friday evening, except for times when liberty is granted. Training may be conducted away from the academy complex.

Question 15: Is a college education required?

Answer 15: A college education is not required to be considered for a Trooper position. See the basic eligibility requirements listed for Question #2.

Question 16: Do you earn college credits while attending the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy?

Answer 16: Troopers who graduate from the academy may receive credit towards a degree in Criminal Justice from various colleges/universities throughout Indiana. The number of transferable credit hours will be up to each individual college or university. Vincennes University, for example, offers college credit hours for completing the Recruit Academy and additional college credits with documented full-time police experience. Indiana Tech also has a robust program allowing Recruits to earn up to 51 credit hours while in the Academy. You may view the Indiana Tech program at the following link https://cps.indianatech.edu/indiana-state-police/.  

Question 17: Do you have an internship program?

Answer 17: Yes. Refer to the “Internship” tab under Career Opportunities at the following link: http://www.in.gov/isp/3076.htm.

Question 18: Does the Indiana State Police offer a Ride-Along program?

Answer 18: Yes. The Ride-Along program is an informational experience which places prospective applicants with a working Trooper for a pre-selected amount of time. The participants will observe the Trooper’s operations to help them better understand police practices and aspects of traffic safety while assisting them in making an informed decision about a potential career. If interested in the Ride-Along program, contact your Recruiter at the following link: http://www.in.gov/isp/3041.htm prior to contacting your local District to apply for consideration.

Question 19: Does my military credit count toward my final exam score for entrance into the academy?

Answer 19: Although you will not receive credit per se for prior military service, the Indiana State Police does look for well-rounded applicants (life experience, military experience, work experience, education, etc.) to attend the academy. Military experience is a desirable employment history the Indiana State Police considers.

Question 20: I was in the military/prior law enforcement. Can I apply my military/prior law enforcement time to my retirement with the Indiana State Police?

Answer 20: You may purchase your years of military service and/or prior full-time, paid law enforcement experience within Indiana to count toward your years of service. You should also remember you cannot be 40 years of age at the time of appointment. Mandatory retirement occurs at age 65.

Question 21: Does the Indiana State Police Recruit Academy qualify for the G.I. Bill?

Answer 21: Yes. You will receive additional information on the first day of the Academy. You will be required to complete additional paperwork to receive this benefit. Your specific benefit will be determined by the Veterans Administration and will be based upon your individual experiences while you served in the military.

Question 22: I am active military. When is the best time to apply?

Answer 22: The selection process takes approximately five months to complete. Military personnel are encouraged to apply while still on active duty if their estimated time of separation is on/before the Military Obligation Program (MOP) deadline (posted on the ISP Home page). Additional information on the MOP can be found at the following link: http://www.in.gov/isp/2879.htm.

Question 23: What is the Military Obligation Program (MOP)? Who qualifies for the MOP?

Answer 23: The Military Obligation Program (MOP) allows applicants serving on active duty in the United States Military to complete several phases of the selection process at an accelerated pace. Everyone must complete all phases of the selection process. The MOP allows those qualified to report to Indianapolis, IN for two days where they will complete the written test, physical abilities test, structured oral interview and polygraph examination.

The Indiana State Police Department will consider the following factors for placement into the Military Obligation Program:

  1. You must be currently in active duty status with a branch of the United States Armed Forces.
  2. You must have military obligations restricting your participation and availability to travel for the required phases of the selection process.
  3. Your Estimated Time of Separation (ETS) from your United States Military Obligation must conclude prior to the Military Obligation Program deadline.
  4. You must be available for testing on/after the specified deadline (posted on the ISP Home page). For more information, view the following link: http://www.in.gov/isp/2879.htm.
Question 24: What are the opportunities for advancement?

Answer 24: There are many advancement opportunities within the Indiana State Police. Every Trooper has the potential to rise through the ranks. All Troopers have the opportunity to participate in the promotional process, which consists of a written test and structured oral interview. Other factors considered for a promotion include years of service, education, military service and performance evaluations.

Question 25: What other career opportunities are available?

Answer 25: There are a wide variety of civilian support positions within the Indiana State Police. Included in these are: Regional Dispatchers, Motor Carrier Inspectors and Indiana State Capitol Police Officers. In addition, there are a number of civilian positions encompassing nearly every educational discipline. To view current civilian employment opportunities within the Indiana State Police, please visit the following link: https://www.in.gov/isp/3627.html.