The Denver Police Department accepts applications only during specific periods detailed on its website. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age, be U.S. citizens, have a valid driver’s license with a good driving record and have a high school diploma or equivalent. They must then undergo a multi-step application process that includes a written test, behavioral questionnaire, physical test, interview, polygraph exam and background check. Candidates must then attend about 27 weeks of training at the Police Academy before they can work as an officer with full salary.
Denver police salaries are negotiated regularly, with the latest rates effective January 2010, according to the Denver Police Department. Salaries vary by rank, with the lowest police officer 4th grade receiving $48,648 per year. A police officer 1st grade makes $72,516 annually, while a detective or corporal gets $79,848 per year. Sergeants receive $86,700 yearly, lieutenants are offered $99,432 annually and the highest rank of captain gets $107,184 per year.
Officers with five years of experience or more receive longevity pay of $12 per month for each year of service. Special job functions also get additional pay. For example, bomb technicians who are responsible for defusing explosives get an additional $150 per month. Canine handlers who work with police dogs receive an additional eight hours of compensatory time per work period. Bilingual officers earn $100 per month, and up to $200 monthly with advanced levels of expertise.
Officers who work more than their regular hours in their normal daily work shift, or over 171 hours in a 28-day work period, are entitled to either time off or one-and-a-half time their regular rate for the overtime period. However, captains receive their regular rate of pay for overtime. An officer can automatically bank up to 80 hours of time. Time over that requires approval by the police chief.
Additional benefits include life insurance, health and dental insurance, funeral expenses if killed in the line of duty and city contributions to the death and disability fund. Vacations accrue at 112 hours for the first four years, 136 hours for the fifth through ninth years and 144 hours or more for years 10 and over. Officers are also allowed 18 days per year of sick leave with full compensation. They also receive $700 every year for equipment maintenance and repair. An additional $750 is awarded for a protective vest upon graduation from the academy or on the fifth anniversary of the previous vest award.