Q. What is Pennsylvania Act 120?
A. Pennsylvania Act 120 is a law that provides that before a municipality may use a person in the capacity of a police officer to enforce criminal laws, vehicle laws, or to carry a firearm, that person must be trained as provided for in the Act. The minimum training (currently 700+ hours) is set by the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission.
Q. How can this act affect me?
A. Most police departments within Pennsylvania look more favorably towards hiring "pre-trained" individuals, as this permits them to put officers "on the street" much more quickly. In fact, many police departments require persons to have completed Act 120 training prior to accepting their applications for positions as police officers.
Q. What if I want to be a police officer in another state?
A. Pennsylvania Act 120 training is generally accepted in all states. Remember, however, that each state has different laws and procedures, and many will require additional training in these areas.
Q. How old do I have to be to become a police officer?
A. The minimum age to be a police officer in Pennsylvania is 18. However, age requirements vary and each individual police department has its own entry requirements.
Q. Do I have to purchase a firearm for this training?
A. Students must own, or have legal access to a suitable firearm and appropriate leather and safety equipment (holster and belt, glasses and ear protection). The firearm must be a 9mm. Note that the Mercyhurst College Municipal Police Training Academy and its range officers reserve the right to prohibit the use of any weapon they consider to be unsafe or inappropriate.
Q. How many students are allowed in a class?
A. The training commission has a maximum limit of 40 students for each Act 120 Municipal Police Training class conducted.
Q. Do I receive college credits for attending this training?
A. You will have the option of attending the academy for only the Act 120 certificate, or for the certificate and 16 college credits. You will be charged accordingly. If you attend for certificate only and all essays are completed during the academy, you will have the future option of purchasing credits earned by paying the difference between the academy non-credit rate and the college credit rate in effect at the time of purchase. These credits may be transferable to other colleges or universities either to satisfy law enforcement, criminal justice course requirements, or as an elective.
Q. If I qualify, what types of Financial Aid may be available to me?
A. For the Municipal Police Certificate and Credit Program:
- Stafford Student Loan
- Personal Loans
- Veterans Benefits
Q. What would disqualify me from entering the training Academy?
A. A conviction of any state or federal offense that is punishable by more than one year imprisonment. In the state of Pennsylvania this would be any crime above a Misdemeanor III. All application requirements must be passed; a failure of any of these can prevent entry into the Academy.
Q. Do I need to purchase books?
A. No, the book is included in the tuition and will be supplied to you during class. Also, on the first day of class you will receive a binder with the class schedule and rules and regulations.
Q. How should I dress for the interview?
A. Look clean, neat, and professional as though you are applying for a job.
Q. How much does it cost to attend the academy?
A. Besides tuition there are expenses associated with the academy, including tests required for entry as well as equipment and uniforms once enrolled.
Q. As a Mercyhurst Criminal Justice student, when is the best time to enroll in the academy?
A. It is generally recommended that students that want to obtain the Act 120 as part of their criminal justice associate degree complete the academy in their last trimesters. In order to take full advantage of the credits offered with the academy, criminal justice students need to plan ahead by not taking equivalent courses in their other trimesters.
Q. What are the requirements for passing the Physical Fitness test?
A. The Physical Fitness test is based on Cooper Institutes Health-Based Standards. You need to pass in the 30th percentile to enter the academy and in the 50th percentile at the end of the academy. Information about the Academy fitness requirements can be obtained from the MPOETC website.
Q. What do the percentiles in the Fitness test mean?
A. According to research done by the Cooper Institute, if you pass in the 50th percentile then 50% of the general population in your age and gender group are more physically fit than you.
Q. Does Mercyhurst offer a part-time or night police academy?
A. No. We have not been able to get enough interest to hold a part-time academy for some time due to the length of the program; as a result we no longer offer this as an option. It is possible that a part-time academy could be arranged if a minimum number of applicants apply and proceed through the application process.