How to Become a Police Officer in NY

The crime rate in New York City and the constant occurrence of violent incidents and complex illegal underground activity has forced the NYPD to raise the bar on the admittance of candidates. As a consequence, applicants who wish to enroll in the law enforcement system in the state of New York should take a closer look at the guidelines depicted in the following article on how to become a police officer in NY.

Unlike other states, the NY police department places a much higher value on the education of candidates, as readers are about to find out, so this is the first aspect we are going to tackle.

New York City Police officers being debriefed by their lieutenant (in the white shirt) in Times Square, May 29, 2010. – Photo by Nightscream

Minimum Requirements to Become a Police Officer in NY

  1. Must be at least 21 years old at the day of hiring.
  2. Must be a United States citizen.
  3. Should have 60 college credits with a 2.0 G.P.A. from an accredited college or university
  4. OR 2 years full time, active military service in the United States Armed Forces with an honorable discharge and have a high school diploma or it’s equivalent.
  5. Must be a resident of either one of the five boroughs of New York City or one of the surrounding counties – Suffolk, Westchester, Orange, Rockland, Nassau or Putnam Counties.
  6. Must have a valid and unrestricted New York State Drivers License.
  7. Should pass a drug and alcohol screening.
  8. Should pass a character and background investigation.
  9. Must pay a $75 fee for fingerprinting as a part of the background checking process.

Some Dis-qualifiers to Become a Police Officer in NY

  1. A felony conviction that is punishable by one or more year of imprisonment.
  2. Repeat convictions of an offense that indicate a disrespect for the law, lack of good moral character and violent behaviour.
  3. Dishonorable discharge from the Armed Forces.
  4. Conviction of petit larceny.
  5. Conviction of any domestic violence

Education Prerequisites for Applying

In the vast majority of states, the only education mandatory for candidates is the high school diploma or a GED. On the other hand, in the state of New York, not only are the aforementioned diplomas mandatory, but also the minimum score accepted for the GED is 2.0.

Moreover, the GED or high school diplomas are not valid qualification criteria unless the candidate has also served for at least two years in the active US military service. As a side note, having been dishonorably discharged from the US military is grounds for immediate disqualification from applying to be a police officer.

To answer the question of how to become a police officer in NY without having served in the military prior to the application, it suffices to say that the New York police department will require the minimum amount of 60 credits from a certified college or university. At the same time, the minimum GPA accepted is 2.0.

In addition, candidates that have an education in a related field, such as criminal justice or criminal psychology, will be favored.

In regards to the accreditation of the colleges or universities, the institutions need to have the mark of approval from the following authorities:

  • United States Department of Education
  • Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Age Prerequisites on Becoming a Police Officer in New York

At the date when they are taking the examination, potential candidates should be between 17 1/2 and 35 (unreached) years old. An exception to this rule is when candidates have been serving in US military, as they are allowed to add 6 years to the maximum allowed age.

It is considered that the constant training and experience received in the US military can easily compensate for the age. Furthermore, while these rules concern the date at which the candidates undergo their written examination, they must be at least 21 before they can be hired as active law enforcement officers.

Rules Regarding Citizenship and Residency to Become a Police Officer in New York

Unlike other states, the rules of the NYPD are quite flexible on the issue of citizenship and residency of candidates. To put it simply, candidates who wish to participate in the examination that will determine their eligibility for the NY police department are not required to be residents of New York or to be United States citizens.

Since candidates could fail the test or it may take them some time before their age allows them to become part of a NY law enforcement agency, the examiners consider that the aforementioned selection criteria is redundant.

However, it is important to note that both NY residency and US citizenship are mandatory when graduates of the program are hired by one of the police agencies in the state. Therefore, candidates are advised to consider these aspects in a timely manner once they have been accepted at the academy.

Other Requirements and Advantageous Pre-requisites in Becoming a Police Officer in NY

The driver’s license accepted in the state of NY is among the mandatory hiring criteria, although it will not be taken into account on the day of the examination. NY residency may not be mandatory, but candidates will be granted an extra 10 points on the exam in the eventuality that they have lived in the state and continue to do so until the moment they are hired.

At the same time, direct relatives of police officers killed in the line of duty or firefighters who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 event will grant applicants an extra 10 points. Lastly, while experience with other police agencies does not constitute any advantages, having served in the military and being released with an honorable discharge can provide an extra 5 points.

The Examination

The website of the NYPD contains several examples of what the written exam will involve and candidates can maximize their chances of admittance if they familiarize themselves with what they should expect. Essentially, attributes like the spirit of observation, education, reaction time or memory are tested, but this list is not exhaustive.

In addition to the written test, psychological, medical and physical examinations will be administered. For more information on How to Become a Police Officer in NY, please check the NYPD Recruit website for more details.

Click here to check out the various police officer jobs in New York.

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