South Dakota Police Academy Requirements

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Joining a police academy is a milestone on the path to becoming a police officer. The South Dakota police academy requirements are intended to set a high standard for potential officers. Below are all the requirements and disqualifying factors. Be aware that there is a lot of competition for police jobs so going above the minimum requirements is advised. South Dakota police academy requirements consist of, in part, the following:

Age Requirement

South Dakota police academy age requirements state that applicants must be a minimum 21 years of age. Applicants may complete an application and proceed in the hiring process at 20.5 years of age if they will be 21 by the starting date of the next academy class.

Residency and Citizenship Requirement

Applicants must be a resident of South Dakota and possess a valid South Dakota driver’s license upon appointment as a State Police Cadet.

Applicants must be a United States citizen at the time of initial application.

Educational Requirement

South Dakota Police Academy requirements for education state that the applicants must possess a high school diploma or General Equivalency Degree (GED) time of application. Correspondence or mail-order high school diplomas are not accepted.

Additionally, to be eligible for the testing process, applicants must possess one of the following:

1) Associate’s degree or at least 64 hours of college credit from an accredited institution; or

2) Four years of certified law enforcement experience; or

3) Four years of active full-time military experience; or

4) An equivalent combination of education and experience.

*All military veterans must have an HONORABLE DISCHARGE documented by a DD-214.

Automatic Disqualification Factors

Applicants are advised that the South Dakota State Police will automatically disqualify any applicant who does not meet the general requirements as detailed below.  In addition, the following information is provided regarding our criteria for automatic disqualification:

  • Falsification,      omission, or misrepresentation of any information during the completion of      the Polygraph Screening Booklet, the Polygraph Examination, the Formal      Application for Employment, and any other documents/processes associated      with the Cadet Selection Procedures.
  • Substance      abuse/use within a prescribed time frame and/or that is beyond what is      considered experimental by the South Dakota State Police.
  • Criminal      arrests/behavior which would not reflect well on the South Dakota State      Police.

The core purpose of the South Dakota State Police is to seek justice, preserve peace, and improve the quality of life for all.  As such, the Department has established the core values of Honor, Service, Integrity, Respect, Trust, Courage, and Duty, and is seeking applicants who possess these traits and conduct themselves accordingly.  Certain issues within a person’s background have been identified which will result in automatic disqualification, including but not limited to:  criminal conduct (actual arrest and/or admission of behavior whether or not arrested) and substance abuse.

A preliminary determination will be made by the South Dakota State Police based upon information supplied; therefore, applicants must be forthright and honest in documenting their conduct.  Be advised that this preliminary determination is not binding as it is made based upon information provided by the applicant only.  Should an applicant continue in the selection process, the conduct will then be discussed and documented with a South Dakota State Police Officer.

Applicants are advised that all information provided to the South Dakota State Police is to contain no misrepresentation, falsification, omissions, or concealment of material fact and that, upon submission of any official document (on-line or otherwise), applicants swear or affirm that all information provided is true, complete, and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief.  Applicants are further advised that all information provided is subject to later investigation.

Physical Abilities Test

The tests and standards have been validated to ensure that an applicant, if selected to an Academy class, will have a reasonable chance of success in attaining a higher standard of Physical Readiness during cadet training. Failure of any one test excludes the applicant from further processing.

Academy physical training requires a great deal of physical strength and stamina. Both the written test and the physical abilities test are designed to measure an applicant’s ability to perform satisfactorily at the Training Academy and on the State’s Minimum Standards test, as seen below:



 Females Core Fitness Upper Body Fitness Aerobic Fitness
Age Group Sit-ups Push-ups 1.5-MILE Run
20-24 35 26 15:15
25-29 35 26 15:45
30-34 27 21 16:15
35-39 27 21 16:38
40-44 22 15 17:00
45-49 22 15 17:08
50-54 17 13 17:15
55-59 17 13 18:18
60 + 8 8 19:25


Males Core Fitness Upper Body Fitness Aerobic Fitness
Age Group Sit-ups Push-ups 1.5-MILE Run
20-24 40 33 13:15
25-29 40 33 13:45
30-34 36 27 14:15
35-39 36 27 14:45
40-44 31 21 15:15
45-49 31 21 15:45
50-54 26 15 16:15
55-59 26 15 16:51
60 + 20 9 18:20

For correct form and helpful tips, check out this video brought to you by the Rapid City Police Department:

The eligibility requirements are subject to change at any time.


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