Georgia requires least basic training time for police officers in U.S.

Georgia officers receive 408 hours of training, much lower than the national average.
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 7:46 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council (POST) requires that prospective officers finish 408 hours of basic training before they can enter the force.

Across the nation, the average is much higher at 650 hours.

Officers go through an 11-week course that costs more than $3,000 an officer. They learn skills like emergency driving maneuvers, medical aid, interviews and interrogations, and firearm safety.

POST Deputy Director Chris Harvey said the state’s curriculum is several years old. He says it has failed to adjust to important training scenarios like cyber crimes and active shooter training.

“The curriculum was created at a time of manual fingerprints and now it’s all automated and computerized,” said Harvey.

POST wants to increase the minimum requirements and add additional courses they feel are necessary to change with the times. Harvey said it will likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Harvey and POST Director Mike Ayers raised their concerns with lawmakers on Wednesday. Lawmakers haven’t taken on the issue of increasing requirements. Prospective bills in the Georgia House and Senate would add additional positions for people to build that curriculum.

“We need more instructors to train in academies and for the agencies who hire their officers and send them to academies so making that wouldn’t have downhill effects in terms of money and time,” said Harvey.

Some local agencies, including several around Metro Atlanta, require more training hours than the minimum. Training doesn’t end there. In Georgia, law enforcement officers must get 20 hours of certified post-training every year after they join the force.