Southern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Center - Basic Training

Training Division

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The basic training program is a 640-hour (16-week) curriculum. The training experience is designed to challenge the students mentally, physically, and academically. Each law enforcement agency participating with SALETC has a training coordinator to assist recruits with training questions. To help prospective recruit candidates prepare to meet the demands of the training, specific information about the program and our training standards follow.

Arriving at the Academy

Recruit officers are expected to be punctual when reporting for duty at the academy. Those selected to attend will be notified of the time and place to report. Recruits should come prepared to participate in both classroom and physical activity.

Vehicles & Parking

Recruit officers are required to park in the south parking lot. If parking is not available in this lot, parking in the north lot is permissible. The academy is located in close proximity to three prisons. Therefore, all vehicles shall be locked to prevent access to unauthorized people. Recruit vehicles shall display current Arizona motor vehicle registration tags. Recruits must have a valid drivers license.


For the first week of the academy recruit officers will be required to wear appropriate business attire. For men this consists of a button down shirt, necktie, dress pants, and dress shoes or cross trainers. For women, a blouse, dress slacks, flat dress shoes or cross trainers are required. Recruit officers will begin wearing agency uniforms at the discretion of the class supervisor. Recruit officers shall have their agency uniform available not later than the beginning of the second week of training.

Required uniform articles:

  • Agency short- or long-sleeve shirt as designated by the class supervisor
  • Agency pants
  • Agency belt
  • Agency authorized uniform shoe or boot
  • Crew neck T-shirt with no markings (color authorized by individual agencies)
  • Gun/Utility belt (when directed)
  • Brassiere (females)
  • Agency approved socks

Physical Training Uniform:

  • Blue T-shirt
  • Blue shorts
  • Solid white mid-calf or over-the-calf athletic socks
  • Athletic shoes
  • Mouthpiece
  • Brassiere (females)
  • Athletic supporter and athletic cup (males—when required)
  • Navy blue BDU pants, (available at Pima Uniforms)

Recruit officers are required to purchase their physical training uniforms from an authorized vendor and to have these available on the first day of training.

The physical conditioning program involves strength and aerobic conditioning exercises. It is highly recommended that recruit officers invest in a good pair of running or cross-training shoes to aid in the prevention of injury.


  • Recruit officers shall maintain the highest standards of personal hygiene.
  • Hair
    • Hair may be worn in contemporary styles, but no longer than the top of the shirt collar at the back of the neck, and no lower than the top of the ear at the sides when the recruit is in a standing position with the head in normal posture.
    • Hair shall at all times be neatly trimmed, clean and combed.
    • Multicolored hairstyles, ponytails, and braids are prohibited.
    • Females shall arrange their hair to conform to these standards if they choose to have long hair.
    • Sideburns will not extend below the mid-ear.
    • Mustaches shall not extend below the corner of the mouth or hang below the upper lip.
    • Beards are prohibited.
  • Earrings, bracelets (other than medical ID), necklaces, chokers, brooches, or other items of jewelry that constitute a safety hazard are prohibited.


Recruit officers are required to bring their own lunch. A refrigerator and microwave oven are available for recruit class use in the lunchroom. Recruit officers are not permitted to leave the campus for meal purposes. Meals may be provided for those recruits staying in the dormitory.


Recruit officers will be assigned a locker for storage of uniforms and gear. Agency uniforms should not be brought to the academy on the first day.


Weapons are not permitted on campus until authorized by the class supervisor or firearms training officer.

Other Required Equipment and Supplies

In addition to the required uniform and physical training uniform articles, recruit officers should bring the following items to facilitate the training process:

  • Agency policies and procedures manual
  • Agency report forms to include basic incident reports, supplemental reports, field interview forms, and citation forms.
  • Flashlight
  • Toiletries and towels


SALETC will provide lodging and meals for recruit officers that live more than 35 miles from the Tucson metropolitan area and who are not employed by the Tucson Police Department.

Recruit officers requiring lodging should expect to reside in dormitory style housing with two or more people assigned to a room. Specific details related to lodging arrangements will be forwarded to those recruits approved for housing. Recruits requiring lodging should inquire with their employing agency about housing arrangements. Recruits may also telephone the basic training secretary at 520-791-5211 Ext. 1117 for housing information.

Standards of Conduct

The law enforcement profession demands honesty, integrity, and moral decency of its members. To foster this type of behavior, recruit officers will be expected to abide by the academy's standards of conduct.

All recruits will work together and strive to obtain a high degree of cooperation and teamwork. They shall treat one another and staff with respect and courtesy.

Recruit officers are also required to conduct their private and professional lives in such a manner as to avoid discredit upon themselves, the academy, and their sponsoring agency.

Training Standards

The academy is required by AZ POST to ensure that each graduate of basic training meets specific minimum performance objectives. SALETC meets this legal duty by enforcing the following training standards.

Assignments & Examinations

Recruit officers will be assigned a variety of written assignments and shall be tested frequently to measure knowledge gained and retained by the student. All assignments given to recruit officers are expected to be completed and submitted within the time frame specified.

Recruit officers are required to maintain a minimum passing grade of 70% in each of the functional area testing blocks. Recruits must also maintain a cumulative grade point average of not less than 70%. In the event a block of instruction is failed, the recruit officer will be provided remedial training before being re-tested. Recruit officers who do not achieve a passing score on a remedial examination, or who fail to achieve a passing score on any three weekly examinations will be dismissed from the academy.

Physical Conditioning Standards

Law enforcement officers that maintain a high degree of physical conditioning are less prone to be affected by the stressful conditions of the job, sustain fewer injuries, and utilize less leave time related to illness. SALETC's physical conditioning program combines strength training and aerobic exercise to help students develop good exercise habits and to improve their fitness level throughout the academy. It is strongly recommended that recruits begin a fitness regimen before beginning academy training.

Recruit officers are required to participate in the academy's physical conditioning program which is based on standards developed by the Cooper Institute for Aerobic Research. Recruits are also required to participate in physical conditioning training and testing as determined by the Police Officer Physical Aptitude Test (POPAT).

Police Officer Physical Aptitude Test

AZ POST rules require each graduate to complete all five of the activities in the POPAT test and achieve a minimum specified score. Failure to achieve this minimum standard will result in dismissal from the academy.

The POPAT course consists of five components:

  • A timed 500-yard run
  • A timed 99-yard obstacle course
  • A 165-pound dummy drag
  • A 6-foot chain link fence climb
  • A 6-foot wall climb

Applied Skills Proficiency

All recruit officers must meet AZ POST minimum standards in each of the applied skill areas in order to graduate. The skill areas are inclusive of firearms training, drivers training, emergency medical care, report writing, defensive tactics, practical problems and search techniques.

Firearms Training & Qualifications

All recruit officers must achieve minimum passing scores in two of three daytime qualification attempts, and one out of two nighttime attempts with an authorized duty handgun on a 50 round course of fire.

SALETC utilizes firearms simulation training systems to test each recruit officer's judgment when faced with shoot/don't shoot decisions. AZ POST requires each recruit officer to participate in, and pass the judgmental shooting training.

Each recruit will also receive instruction on the use of a shotgun and will participate in a practical firearm-training course.

Recruit officers are responsible for the security of their issued weapons at all times. Weapons shall not be left in plain sight unattended under any circumstances. Weapons shall not be brought to the academy until instructed by a supervisor or firearms training instructor.

Driver's Training

Recruits are required to demonstrate the ability to adapt their driving skills to the demands of law enforcement work. The academy will provide intensive driving training. Each recruit officer is required to successfully demonstrate that they have become proficient with each of the skills taught.

Report Writing

Report writing is an often-overlooked skill requirement for peace officers. During basic training, recruit officers will be instructed on the mechanics of writing police reports and challenged with multiple writing assignments. Recruit officer candidates can begin to prepare themselves for this training by seeking out educational opportunities at community colleges in their communities.

Defensive Tactics Training

As with many components of the training program, the emphasis of the defensive tactics training is officer safety and control of a person(s) that pose a threat to that safety.

SALETC recruit officers will receive classroom lectures supplemented by practical proficiency demonstrations to help them develop the skills and techniques that will help them effectively control and restrain suspects. Prior to graduation, recruit officers will be required to demonstrate proficiency with the skills and techniques taught through static and dynamic training exercises.

Physical Fitness Preparation

As a police recruit you will be required to participate in physical training and defensive tactics classes. The physical training program is designed to assist you in maintaining/increasing your own physical fitness. This can be very demanding, especially if you enter the program with poor fitness. The defensive tactics program also demands a good fitness level.

Before beginning the academy you can start preparing yourself for the physical fitness training. However, before starting an exercise program you should consult with a physician.

Your physical training at the academy will include all phases of fitness, i.e., cardiovascular endurance, strength training, and flexibility. With this in mind it is essential that you prepare yourself accordingly.

General Exercise Pattern

Regardless of the type of exercise activity you select your exercise regimen should include three basic phases:

  1. Warm-up: This involves stretching and rhythmic movement to warm-up the muscles and gradually elevates the heart rate.
  2. Training: This involves performing the major exercise activity, i.e., cardiovascular or strength training
  3. Cool-down: This involves a slow rhythmic tapering down and stretching to get the pulse rate gradually down and to remove muscle tissue waste products.

Cardiovascular Endurance

The majority of your cardiovascular endurance training will consist of running (jogging at a cadence pace and sprint work) and stair climbing. You should begin an endurance program that keeps this in mind.

It is recommended that you begin running a minimum of 3 days per week. Begin your program by establishing a baseline of endurance. Your initial goal should be to run 3 miles at a 10 minute per mile pace. If you are able to do this, increase your pace to about a 71/2 minute per mile pace. Running should be done on soft surfaces as much as possible. Good running shoes and appropriate stretching prior to exercise can help to reduce the risk of injury. You may wish to increase the training effect by adding to the intensity of your workout. This can be done by simply speeding up for a distance and then slowing down to your baseline pace. Choose a distance to sprint while you are running (50 to 100 yards). This will help in increasing your baseline pace.

To assist in stair climbing you may use a Stairmaster or similar health club apparatus. It is also advantageous to use a flight of stairs for training. Work at your own level. As a goal you should try to be able to do about 20 minutes of activity. Run the flight of stairs with a short jog/recovery distance and repeat again. Continue for as many times as you are able.

Strength Training

At the academy you will be utilizing a workout routine using a universal weight machine. It is important that you work on increasing the strength of all your major muscles. This will lessen your potential for injury while attending the academy and assist you in successfully completing the POPAT course. You can work on strength training by using weights or performing calisthenics exercises. Pay particularly close attention to increasing your strength in the following areas:

  • Shoulders
  • Chest
  • Arms
  • Upper and lower legs

Putting a demand on a muscle group increases strength. This may be accomplished by increasing the amount of weight you lift in a particular exercise or by increasing the number of repetitions of a calisthenics exercise. When performing strength-training exercises allow a day of rest before exercising the same muscle group again. A 3-day per week strength program is appropriate.


Perform a variety of stretching movements as part of your exercise routine. Stretching should be static; in other words, move slowly into the stretch pulling the muscle gently and holding the position for about 20 seconds. Don't bounce or jerk the movement. Stretching is ideally done as part of a "warm-up" prior to exercise and to "cool-down" after exercise. You may incorporate stretching into your suggested routine.

Fitness Tests

During the academy your fitness level will be assessed using the "Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research Fitness Norms." The physical tests assess cardiovascular and muscular endurance, which are two components of physical fitness. We utilize these tests because they are underlying and predictive factors for performing police related tasks such as:

  • Sustained pursuit
  • Sprints
  • Dodging
  • Lifting/carrying
  • Jumping/vaulting
  • Use of force

You can administer these tests to yourself as follows:

1½ mile run:

This is a maximal field test for cardiovascular endurance. You run 1½ miles on a measured course. This test requires a NEARLY exhaustive effort. DO NOT run to complete exhaustion though. Time the number of minutes and seconds needed to cover the distance of 1½ miles.


This test indicates the muscular endurance of the abdominal muscle group. You will count the number of situps you can perform in one minute. The following protocol is used:

  1. Start by lying on your back, knees bent, heels flat on the floor, and fingers interlaced and placed behind the head.
  2. Have a partner hold your feet down firmly.
  3. Perform as many correct sit-ups as possible in one minute. In the up position, you should touch your elbows to your knees and then return until your shoulder blades touch the floor.
  4. The score is the total number of correct sit-ups completed in one minute. Any resting should be done in the up position.


This test measures the muscular endurance of the upper body (anterior deltoid, pectorals major, and triceps). You will count the number of push-ups you can perform in one minute. The following protocol is used:

  1. Place your hands about shoulder width apart and have a partner place his/her fist on the floor below your chest.
  2. Start the test from the up position (elbows fully extended). Keeping your back straight at all times, lower yourself to the floor until your chest touches your partner's fist. Then return to the up position to complete one repetition.
  3. Record the total number of correct push-ups in 1 minute.

Below you will find a copy of the fitness norms to compare your test results to. If you are able to function at the 50th percentile upon entering the program you will lessen the degree of stress, mental and physical, experienced during the training program.

Cooper Institute Physical Fitness Norms


Age Group

1.5 Mile Run

50th Percentile















Situps in One Minute

50th Percentile















Pushups in One Minute

50th Percentile
















The challenges of a law enforcement career are demanding. Officers are expected to possess knowledge of the criminal law, investigative procedures, crime scene management, patrol procedures and tactics, and crime prevention. Additionally, they are called upon to assist the citizens of their communities with a variety of non-law enforcement related issues requiring a depth of knowledge about government and social service issues and the criminal justice system. These topics, and more, demand that recruit officers participate in comprehensive classroom studies. While the proficiency skill areas are of particular interest to new recruit officers, it is that knowledge and skill learned in the classroom that will benefit a peace officer on a daily basis. A complete grasp of the subject matter will serve to prepare an officer to better serve his/her community.

Proficiency skills are another very important component of basic recruit training. SALETC's basic training curriculum includes intensive training on use of force, vehicle operation, firearms use, defensive tactics, pursuit operations, first aid, stress management and physical conditioning. Recruit officers can expect to be tested to assure that they have acquired and retained the skills taught. The safety of individual officers and members of the public is of paramount interest to the training staff.

The SALETC basic training program is designed to prepare recruit officers with the basic minimal skills that will be required of them to be effective law enforcement professionals. Many will attend advanced basic training through their hiring agency to learn additional information specific to their agency upon graduating from SALETC. It is our goal to provide the very best basic training available to give recruit officers a solid foundation on which to build their careers.