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Law Enforcement Careers in New Jersey

Law enforcement careers in New Jersey may be classified into three types: State, County (Sheriff’s Department) and Municipal/Local. According to the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police, about half of the law enforcement agencies in the state fall under the jurisdiction of the state’s Civil Service Commission/Department of Personnel. The other half are governed by local regulations or ordinances. If you are interested in working for a specific New Jersey law enforcement agency or department, contact them directly to find out their exact requirements and hiring process.

Police Officer Jobs in New Jersey

The largest municipal police departments in New Jersey include:

  • Newark Police Department
  • Jersey City Police Department
  • Paterson Police Department
  • Edison Police Department
  • Woodbridge Township Police Department
  • Elizabeth Police Department

Law enforcement job titles you might find in New Jersey’s municipalities may include:

  • Municipal police officer
  • Town police officer
  • Township police officer
  • City police officer

New Jersey’s six major urban centers – Jersey City, Trenton, Newark, Camden, Elizabeth and Paterson – represent 11 percent of the population of New Jersey. According to New Jersey State Police crime statistics, from 2007 to 2016, these six cities represented 21 percent of the state’s total crime, including 40 percent of all violent crime and 18 percent of nonviolent crime in New Jersey.

 

Deputy Sheriff Jobs in New Jersey

Sheriffs are responsible for law enforcement duties in the unincorporated areas of counties of New Jersey. They may assist local law enforcement agencies or state police with homeland security and crime.

The largest counties in New Jersey with sheriffs’ departments include:

  • Essex
  • Hudson
  • Passaic
  • Middlesex
  • Union

Law enforcement job titles at the county level in New Jersey may include:

  • County police officer
  • County corrections officer
  • Sheriff’s officer
  • Deputy sheriff
  • Sheriff

In 2016, Essex County, New Jersey reported the highest number of robberies (2,297) and murders (194) of any county in the state.

Qualifications for Becoming a Police Officer or Deputy Sheriff in New Jersey

Each county and/or municipality in New Jersey has its own rules and qualifications for police officers and/or deputy sheriffs. However, generally you must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • US citizenship
  • Age (varies by job but must be at least 18 years of age)
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Education (varies by job)
  • Experience (varies by job)
  • Pass a thorough medical examination

State Trooper Jobs With the Highway Patrol in New Jersey

The state of New Jersey is divided into troops that are responsible for various areas of highway patrol and jurisdiction over crimes occurring in these areas. Locations are:

  • West Trenton – main office
  • Troop locations:
    • Troop A Stations- include Atlantic City Expressway, Port Norris, Bellmawr, Woodbine, Woodstown, Metro South (Camden), Buena Vista (Williamstown), Bridgeton, and Strategic Investigations Unit in Camden
    • Troop B Stations- include Washington (Port Murray), Hope, Metro North (Irvington), Totowa, Somerville (Bridgewater), Perryville (West Hampton), Sussex (Augusta), Netcong, and Strategic Investigations Unit in Irvington
    • Troop C Stations – include Tuckerton (West Creek), Red Lion (Southampton), Kingwood (Frenchtown), Hamilton, Bordentown, and the Office of State Governmental Security in Trenton
    • Troop D Stations – include the Turnpike Region [Newark, Moorestown (Mount Laurel) and Cranbury] and the Parkway Region [Bloomfield, Holmdel and Bass River (New Gretna)]
    • Troop E Stations – include the Troop E Headquarters in Holmdel, Bloomfield, Bass River (New Gretna) and Holmdel Station

Job titles with the highway patrol in New Jersey may include:

  • State police trooper
  • State corrections officer

According to the State Police Uniform Crime Reports for 2016, a violent crime occurs in the state every 24 minutes, with a murder occurring about once per day, and a rape every six hours. Only about half of the 378 murders committed throughout the state that year were cleared.

Qualifications for Becoming a State Trooper in New Jersey

  • Age – must be at least 21 years old but not older than 35 when you apply
  • Education – must have a bachelor’s degree or 90 credits and a firm date of completion
  • Pass a thorough background investigation
  • Pass a medical/psychological evaluation
  • Pass the Physical Qualification Test

General Hiring Practices for Law Enforcement Jobs in New Jersey

  • A Civil Service Examination is required for most law enforcement jobs in New Jersey. If your application is reviewed and you meet the basic requirements, you will be issued information on when and where to report for the Civil Service Exam. Computer-based testing sites are located in Trenton, Camden and Hackensack.
  • Passing the exam gives you a Notice of Eligibility and places you on a list to be considered for the job.
  • If you are hired for a law enforcement job in New Jersey, you must go on to complete your training before being accepted. Depending upon the level at which you are hired (state, county or municipal), this training varies. It may include:
    • New Jersey State Police Academy in Sea Girt, state police jobs require an average of 25 weeks of police training.
    • The New Jersey Police Training Commission is responsible for creating training programs for local and municipal law enforcement agencies in New Jersey.

New Jersey Law Enforcement Salaries

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found in 2018 that the average patrol officer in New Jersey brought in $40.25 per hour, making nearly $84,000 per year. That’s enough to put the state at number three nationally for police officer salaries. The highest paid officers can make more than $123,000 annually, or $59.56 per hour.

At the individual agency level, salaries vary considerably. Data pulled directly from the departments below reflect the most recent available wage information at the entry, mid, and senior levels, where available. Entry level salaries are given for post-probationary employment, while mid and senior grades may reflect pay for sergeants and other supervisory ranks depending on the agency promotion and pay structure.

None of the data reflects specialist incentive compensation, overtime, or bonus payments.

Police Officer Salaries

New Jersey is unfortunate in having several cities with crime statistics well above the national averages, and police salary levels reflect the degree of difficulty and dedication that officers have to have to function in those environments. The Newark Police Department is predictably near the top of the bracket, but, surprisingly, little Woodbridge Township pays senior officers nearly as much.

  • Newark Police Department
    • Entry – $55,323/yr
    • Mid-level – $93,407/yr
    • Senior – $113,699/yr
  • Jersey CityPolice Department
    • Entry – $41,000/yr
  • PatersonPolice Department
    • Entry – $33,873/yr
    • Mid-level – $61,185/yr
    • Senior – $95,901/yr
  • EdisonPolice Department
    • Entry – $45,005/yr
    • Mid-level – $59,317/yr
    • Senior – $89,683/yr
  • Woodbridge TownshipPolice Department
    • Entry – $57,000/yr
    • Mid-level – $74,709/yr
    • Senior – $112,797/yr
  • ElizabethPolice Department
    • Mid-level – $102,278/yr

Sheriff’s Deputy Salaries

New Jersey Sheriff’s departments can pay just as well as municipal departments. The range is wide in Bergen county, but the senior positions there exceed even the top municipal departments for pay levels.

  • Bergen County Sheriff
    • Entry – $44,269/yr
    • Mid-level – $77,057/yr
    • Senior – $144,977/yr
  • Ocean County Sheriff
    • Mid-level – $111,855/yr
    • Senior – $133,847/yr
  • Camden County Police Department
    • Entry – $43,177/yr
    • Mid-level – $87,409/yr
    • Senior – $116,260/yr
  • Union County Sheriff
    • Entry – $40,886/yr
    • Mid-level – $66,008/yr
    • Senior – $91,610/yr

State Trooper and State Police Salaries

New Jersey state troopers deliver expertise and vital highway safety functions all over the state, as well as backing up regional agencies. Troopers enjoy one of the highest starting salaries for any police agency in the state.

  • New Jersey State Police
    • Entry – $62,736/yr
    • Mid-level – $70,515/yr
    • Senior – $111,037/yr

 

State-level salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018. Figures represent accumulated data for all areas of employment for medical and health services managers –  https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nj.htm#11-9111

BLS salary data represents state and MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Agency-level salary and employment data was sourced directly from the municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies named and reflects the specific salary ranges and seniority- or rank-based pay described by the respective agency.

All salary and employment data accessed in August 2019.