California Commission on Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST)

One of law enforcement’s primary functions is to protect people and property. California’s law enforcement officers are charged with carrying out this fundamental task. They represent a tangible line between civilization and chaos. Officers are expected to confront violence, crime, and tragedy, with skill and courage, often in the face of great personal danger. Their skill, sensitivity, and ethics depend in part on how carefully they are selected, the quality of their training, and the depth of their leadership skills. Today, California, with its diverse culture, requires peace officers of the highest qualifications.

Commission Goals

The goal of the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) is to concentrate its services on the three ingredients believed to be most critical to effective law enforcement:

  • Meeting the statewide need for consistent peace officer selection standards by developing and updating job-related selection standards
  • Assuring that California peace officers have access to appropriate training to acquire the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors which are consistent with the requirements and expectations of professional competence associated with the job at each career and experience stage
  • Fostering and facilitating healthy and productive organizational environments in which officers work by providing a system of leadership development programs and offering management counseling services

Training Courses

Commission regulations require successful completion of a POST-certified Basic Course for every newly-appointed peace officer of agencies participating in the program. This training course is commonly referred to as an Academy. The Basic Course is a minimum of 664 hours; however, most of the 38 certified academies are 17 to 20 weeks, and some are longer.

Following completion of the Basic Course, every officer below the first-level management position must satisfy a Continuing Professional Training (CPT) requirement. Completing 24 hours of specified POST training at least once every two years satisfies this requirement. Training is also mandated for first-level supervisors in the Supervisory Course, and first-level managers in the Management Course. Each of these courses is 80 hours.

A wide array of POST-certified training courses is also available. These courses are used to satisfy POST training requirements, special mandates by the legislature, and the discretionary needs determined by employing agencies. Training courses are certified to qualifying state, local and federal agencies, as well as community colleges, colleges and universities and private sector presenters.