The state of North Carolina requires a minimum of 16 weeks of training for police officers, but the Durham Police Academy offers an extended program that lasts 26 weeks and provides more comprehensive instruction. To be eligible for certification, applicants must possess a valid North Carolina or South Carolina driver's license and complete 640 hours of mandatory training over the course of 16 weeks. They must also pass all units of study, the Physical Skills Test for Police Officers (POPAT) course, and the state certification exam. In order to enroll in the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program, applicants must be sponsored by a North Carolina municipal, county, state, or federal law enforcement agency.
The curriculum is designed to equip them with the cognitive and physical skills necessary to become certified law enforcement officers in North Carolina. The North Carolina Division of Criminal Justice Education Standards and Training does not accept online high school diplomas or correspondence courses. Individuals who have been charged with certain crimes may be admitted to the BLET course, but this does not guarantee certification. These cases will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Out-of-state candidates must have two years of full-time sworn law enforcement experience and have successfully completed a core law enforcement training course accredited by their home state in order to be considered for transfer to a North Carolina police force. A felony conviction is an absolute disqualification from certification as a North Carolina police officer or enrollment in basic lifelong law enforcement training. There is no financial assistance from the sponsoring agency nor any promise of employment upon successful completion of the program, but the sponsorship form signed by the agency does waive tuition fees with the North Carolina Community College System.