If you are aspiring to become a police officer, there is a chance that you may also want to know what disabilities can prevent you from making your dreams a reality. Lack of clear eyesight is a disability that one often question. If you have difficulty seeing color or difficulty seeing in general, there are specific details you will want to know before you go further down the path of becoming a police officer.
You can be a police officer and be color blind, depending on the level of color blindness you have. It is essential to know specifically what level of eyesight you have and what type of color blindness you may have. If you are not able to see any colors clearly, you will likely not be able to become a police officer. It’s also important to note that every area will vary with their specific requirements for vision.
Knowing Your Level of Color Blindness
If you want to become a police officer and you are color blind, the first step is knowing the type of color blindness you have and also knowing how severe it is. There are levels of color blindness that will disqualify you from becoming a police officer in most areas.
The main type of color blindness that would disqualify you from becoming a police officer is called achromatopsia. This means that you only see in shades of gray and don’t see any color. For the majority of areas, you will not qualify to become a police officer if you have achromatopsia. With this type of color blindness, you would have extreme difficulties reporting any cases correctly since you wouldn’t be able to see the colors involved.
However, there are other types and levels of color blindness where you can still qualify in a lot of areas to become a police officer. If you have red-green or blue-yellow color blindness, it will depend on how severe your color blindness is. If your color blindness is not very severe, you will likely still qualify in many areas.
The type and level of your color blindness matter because you need to be able to make out most colors when you are a police officer. You can likely still perform your job responsibilities if you can see most colors, but you will not be able to perform a large portion of your job responsibilities if you can’t see any color at all.
Why Color Matters for Law Enforcement
You may be wondering why the amount of color you can see matters when it comes to working in law enforcement. There are actually many reasons! The first reason is you need to be able to properly report what you see for every case that you handle. Police officers consistently create reports to keep track of what happened when they are dealing with any case. If you can’t see any colors, you will likely struggle to make an accurate report.
Another reason why color matters are you will have a hard time describing a criminal that you may have witnessed. For example: if you don’t see any color, you wouldn’t be able to report what color of shirt someone was wearing when you witnessed them rob a bank. This can make it extremely difficult when trying to catch the person that committed the crime.
When you are a police officer, you are regularly monitoring your community and taking notes of things that you see. It is your responsibility to keep your community safe and be able to clearly see the world around you. If you have a severe lack of vision, it can make your job of keeping your community safe difficult, or nearly impossible.
Knowing Your City’s Rules for Eyesight
Similar to many other requirements you will encounter when becoming a police officer, the specific requirements for vision will vary depending on your location. Each individual city will have different requirements, which is why it is essential to know your specific area’s rules for vision. For example, Some areas may not allow you to have any sort of color blindness to be a police officer in their area. However, those cities are not extremely common.
To find out what requirements your own city has, you can reach out to the police department that you are desiring to work for. We recommend asking for the recruiter or the person responsible for hiring new police officers. This person will be your best resource to let you know what specific requirements they have for vision. This is also a great time to ask any questions you may have about the vision test or other physical tests involved in the hiring process for the department.
Another question you may want to ask the recruiter is if you are allowed to wear color enhancing contacts. Although these contacts don’t help you see all colors, they can help you identify colors that you may not recognize without them. Some cities may not allow police officers to wear these types of contacts, especially on the vision test. However, we always recommend asking upfront!
If your specific city has very strict vision requirements and you do not qualify with your level of color blindness, we recommend checking with other areas near you to see what their requirements are. Even though you may not qualify in your own city, there may be a nearby city that doesn’t have as strict requirements and you could apply to be a police officer in that city.
It’s important to keep in mind that color blindness is not something that will immediately disqualify you from becoming a police officer, as long as you can see some color. If you dream of becoming a police officer, we strongly recommend checking the requirements within all the cities near you to see where the best fit for you would be.
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Guidelines for Taking Vision Tests
During the process of becoming a police officer, you will be required to take a vision test in the majority of areas. Each city may vary on the passing requirements for their tests, but most cities will require a vision test. This is to help make sure that you can see properly while on the job.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when taking a vision test is that it’s always better to be completely honest and upfront. Lying or cheating on the vision test is never good in any situation. You would always rather have your potential supervisor know your vision level upfront than find out later in a negative situation. Police officers have the responsibility to keep the community safe. You never want to put anyone at risk
As we mentioned before, there is a chance that you may be allowed to wear color enhancing contacts while on the job and during the vision test (if you plan on wearing the contacts while on the job). We recommend asking before the test if you can wear the contacts for the test. Some cities may not allow it, but there is a chance your city may be the exception and may allow the contacts. The contacts can make a difference when it comes to passing the test or not!
What are the requirements to become a police officer?
The requirements to become a police officer are generally lower than you may expect! Some expect to spend large amounts of time in school, but that is usually not the case. For most areas, you only need a two-year college education to qualify. Plus, you can not have a criminal record in most areas, or you will be disqualified.
It’s important to keep in mind that many areas will vary in their requirements for police officers. We always recommend reaching out to your specific city to see what they require. You will likely have a large amount of physical and medical tests you’ll have to pass as well. You will likely have to attend the Police Academy (if you make it that far in the hiring process).
How dangerous is it to become a police officer?
The amount of danger a police officer will regularly encounter largely depends on the area that you will be serving. If you live in an area that has a high crime rate, then it will be more dangerous to be a police officer in your area. It’s important to keep in mind that all police officers will experience some level of danger, due to the conditions of the job. You can never be guaranteed what can happen on the job.
You also want to keep in mind that the police department puts a large amount of effort into keeping their police officers as safe as possible. This includes bulletproof vests, dashboard cameras in police cars, and other resources that help keep police officers safer.
What is the salary like for police officers?
The salary for police officers will largely depend on the specific area that you are serving. Larger cities will often have a higher salary for police officers than small towns. It can also depend on the level of crime that your area experiences. If your city has a large level of crime, your salary will also likely be higher.
For most areas, police officers generally start at least $35,000 per year. Many areas can have a higher starting salary, but that is the lowest most can expect. You also want to keep in mind that getting a higher education can help you increase your salary. Many police officers with bachelor’s degrees may get paid more and will be more likely to be considered for advanced job opportunities.
To learn how to best prepare and study for your police exam click here.
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Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Hi! I’m Shawn Chun and I’m so grateful that you’re here.
Civil servants are some of the hardest working, most generous people I know. I have been passionate about all types of civil service career paths for years now and enjoy sharing everything I continue to learn about them.
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