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Being a Columbia Police Department Officer is answering a call that is greater than one’s self. The City of Columbia has consistently ranked in the top 20 cities in America to live because of the low cost of living, low crime rate, and the education level of the community. As of the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau figures, Columbia has a population of 115,276 people and it continues to grow! The city has five major hospitals, an outstanding public school system, and multiple state and city parks. There are several higher education opportunities including the University of Missouri, Columbia College, and Stephens College, as well as satellite campuses including Bryan College, Central Methodist University, Moberly Area Community College, and William Woods University. These factors combined make the City of Columbia the best place to live, work, and play!

How to Become a Police Officer

Do not send application materials to the Columbia Police Department!

In order to be considered for a Police Officer position with the Columbia Police Department, please submit the following to the City of Columbia Human Resources Department via the City’s job website:

  1. Create a City of Columbia account (employment) through City of Columbia Human Resources.
  2. Complete an online application.
  3. Email the City of Columbia Human Resources Department at hr@como.govcreate new email to obtain a internet link to the study guide needed for the police officer test.
  4. Call the City of Columbia Human Resources Department at (573) 874-6309 to make an appointment to take the police officer test.
  5. Passing the police officer test will result in the applicant moving forward in the process. Results of the test are available immediately upon completion of the test. 

It is the applicant’s responsibility to read all instructions carefully and ensure that all documents are completed as directed and submitted to the City of Columbia Human Resources Department prior to established deadlines. 

    Columbia Police Department

    • Has an authorized force of 187 officers
    • Has 35 civilian personnel
    • Sworn officers work a 10-hour day schedule.
    • Two squads with four shifts per squad 
    • Department has an annual budget of approximately $20 million. 
    • Specialized areas include: Criminal Investigations Division, Domestic Violence Enforcement (DOVE) Unit, K-9 Unit, Downtown Unit, Vice Narcotics Organized Crime (VNOC) Unit, Street Crimes Unit, Community Outreach Unit, Internal Affairs Unit, School Resource Officers, Public Relations Unit, and Training and Recruiting Unit.

    Salary Range

    Frequency Minimum* Midpoint* Maximum*

    Current shift differential is 65 cents per hour from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. A clothing allowance for plain clothes assignments is provided. 

    Retirement Package

    Officers may retire at 25 years of service at 50% of their highest three year average.  Every year worked after 25 years is an additional 2% per year. Benefits from the plan are in addition to your benefits from Social Security and supplemental deferred compensation plans.

    Educational Assistance

    Columbia police officers can participate in a tuition reimbursement program.


    • Uniforms and Equipment (handgun, duty gear, ballistic vest, etc.  More than $8,000.00 per officer)
    • Dry cleaning of uniforms
    • 2 weeks vacation / year (3.08 hours per pay period) for first four years. Increased by 2.5 days every five years through 20th year.
    • Seven set holidays and four floating holidays per fiscal year.
    • Accumulated sick leave (18 days per year), no maximum accrual
    • Sick leave buyback – At the end of the fiscal year, you may sell accrued unused sick leave hours in excess of the number of hours normally worked in a 26 week period (1040 hours) back to the City. The City will pay you 50% of your hourly rate for each hour sold back.


    Candidates must:

    • Be at least 21 years of age by hire date.
      • No one under 20 years of age may take the written exam. (NEW)
    • Minimum education of a high school diploma or equivalent. (NEW)
      • 60 or more credit hours from an accredited college preferred. (NEW)
    • College credit in Criminal Justice or related field preferred. 
    • Be eligible to receive a Missouri POST Certification (Class A Peace Officer License)
    • Not have any serious criminal record entries
    • Maintain a valid Missouri driver’s license and safe driving record
    • Maintain CPR certification
    • Have an excellent work history and attendance record
    • Must reside within a 30 mile straight line radius of the City of Columbia within 30 days of hire and be eligible to work in the United States.

    Eligible candidates must:

    • Pass a written examination
    • Pass a drug test
    • Pass a psychological test
    • Pass a Computer Voice Stress Analyzer test
    • Pass a medical physical
    • Become POST certified as eligible for employment as a peace officer by the State of Missouri within six months of employment
    • Successfully complete Police Training Officer (PTO) program

    For more information, contact:

    Robert Bennett
    Police Trainer/Recruiter
    (573) 874-7422
    Robert.Bennett@CoMo.govcreate new email

    Mailing Address:
    Columbia Police Training Center
    5015 Meyer Industrial Blvd. 
    Columbia, MO, 65201