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How to Become a Police Officer in New York

Becoming a Police Officer in Buffalo, New York

The Buffalo Police Department’s 750 uniformed officers are responsible for providing law enforcement services to the citizens and visitors of Buffalo, New York.

If you’re interested in becoming a police officer in Buffalo, you should understand what lies ahead in the qualification and hiring process. This guide provides step-by-step instructions on achieving Buffalo police jobs:

  1. Meet Minimum Employment Requirements
  2. Submit an Application for Employment
  3. Take the Recruitment Exam
  4. Take the Physical Fitness Test
  5. Undergo a Medical/Physical Examination
  6. Complete Remaining Testing
  7. Attend the Police Academy

Step 1. Meet Minimum Employment Requirements

If you want to learn how to become a cop by meeting police officer requirements in Buffalo, you should first ensure you meet minimum employment eligibility. In particular, in order to achieve a career as a Buffalo police officer you must:

  • Be between the ages of 19 and 35 (on the date you take the exam)
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Possess a valid New York driver’s license (by the time of appointment)
  • Be a resident of Niagara, Genesee, Erie, Cattaraugus, Wyoming, or Chautauqua County for at least 90 days prior to testing
  • Possess at least 60 college credit hours (Military personnel may be exempt from this requirement if they have served at least 2 continuous years in the military or at least 6 continuous years in active reserve duty)

Step 2. Submit an Application for Employment

If you determine you meet all employment eligibility requirements for becoming a police officer in Buffalo, you can pick up a job application at:

City of Buffalo
Department of Human Resources
65 Niagara Square, 1001 City Hall
Buffalo, NY 14202

You may also send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the above address to have an application sent to you.

Step 3. Take the Recruitment Exam

Provided you meet all minimum eligibility requirements and have properly completed the application for employment, the Civil Service Office will send you an admittance notice before the next open exam date. You can contact the Civil Service Office at 716-851-9614 to inquire about upcoming exam dates.

You can prepare for the written recruitment exam by studying the Preparation Guide, which is available at:

City of Buffalo
Department of Human Resources
65 Niagara Square, 1001 City Hall
Buffalo, NY 14202

You will be placed on the eligibility list, provided you have received a passing score on all components of the written exam.

Step 4. Take the Physical Fitness Test

If you pass the written test you will be given a date and time at which to appear for the Physical Fitness Test.  This is a pass/fail test, and you must pass all parts of the testing process to receive a passing score. The Physical Fitness Test consists of the following:

  • Sit-ups (core body assessment)
  • Push-ups (upper body assessment)
  • 1.5-mile run (cardiovascular assessment)

Step 5. Undergo a Medical/Physical Examination

Upon passing the Physical Fitness Test you may receive a conditional offer of employment, at which time you will be required to undergo a medical/physical examination as to determine if you are able to perform the job functions associated with Buffalo police jobs.

Step 6. Complete Remaining Testing

Your conditional offer of employment may also require you to complete the following: a drug screen; a polygraph examination; a background investigation/fingerprinting; an oral interview; and a psychological examination.

Step 7. Attend the Police Academy

All new recruits must attend a New York Police Academy to qualify for a permanent position with the Buffalo Police Department.

Becoming a Police Officer in New York City, New York

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) consists of approximately 34,500 uniformed officers, making it America’s single largest municipal police force. The police officers within the 300 units of the NYPD are responsible for providing enforcement and investigation services to New York City’s five boroughs.

This guide serves as a step-by-step instructional manual for individuals who want to learn how to become a cop by meeting police officer requirements in New York City:

  1. Meet Minimum Eligibility Requirements for Employment
  2. Take the Police Examination
  3. Take the Written Civil Service Examination
  4. Undergo a Pre-Hire Interview
  5. Undergo Medical Exam and Character Prescreening
  6. Take a Written Psychological Examination
  7. Take the Job Standard Test
  8. Undergo a Psychological Interview
  9. Undergo a Character Investigation
  10. Attend the Police Academy

Step 1. Meet Minimum Eligibility Requirements for Employment

If you are interested in becoming a police officer in New York City you must first determine if you meet all minimum eligibility requirements for employment with the NYPD. In particular, you must:

  • Hold a valid New York State driver’s license
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be at least 21 years old, but no older than 35 years old (Individuals with active military service may be older than 35.)
  • Live in one of the five boroughs of New York City or in Nassau, Westchester, Rockland, Suffolk, Putnam, or Orange County
  • Possess a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Have successfully completed either a minimum of 60 college credits from an accredited college or university (with at least a 2.0 GPA) or have two years of full-time military service

You may be disqualified from attaining New York City police jobs if:

  • You have been convicted of an offense concerning a lack of good moral character or violence
  • You have served for an offense that was punishable by one or more years imprisonment
  • You have a dishonorable discharge from the military
  • You have been discharged from a job due to poor behavior or disrespect for the law
  • You have been convicted for a domestic violence misdemeanor
  • You have a felony conviction

Step 2. Take the Police Examination

The Police Officer Written Exam assesses your observational skills, cognitive ability, and mental acuity. You must pass this exam to be considered for a position with the NYPD.

You may take the test at the Computerized Testing Center in either Downtown Brooklyn or Lower Manhattan at any time during open testing dates for New York City police jobs (You can review open testing dates and operating hours for the Computerized Testing Centers here.).

The application fee is $40 (money order or credit/debit card only), which is to be paid on the day of the exam.

You can contact a Recruiting Specialist at 1-800-550-3836 or (212) RECRUIT to learn more about the recruiting system and the Police Officer Exam.

Step 3. Take the Written Civil Service Examination

All candidates for New York City police jobs must take and pass the written Civil Service examination, which is administered by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). The DCAS compiles a list of all individuals who pass the exam and provides it to the New York City Police Department.

You can contact Candidate Relations at 718-972-3210 to receive more information regarding dates and times of upcoming career seminars for preparing for the Civil Service examination.

Step 4. Undergo a Pre-Hire Interview

The pre-hire interview consists of a brief medical exam and a review of your upcoming character investigation.

Step 5. Undergo Medical Exam and Character Prescreening

Upon being contacted by the NYPD you will be scheduled for a medical examination and an initial character assessment. You will also be fingerprinted (The fee for fingerprinting is $75.) and required to provide documentation regarding your attained college credits or your military service. Only those candidates who pass the medical exam and the character assessment may continue on with the employment process for New York City police jobs.

Step 6. Take a Written Psychological Examination

Only those candidates who pass the written psychological examination are eligible to take the Job Standard Test.

Step 7. Take the Job Standard Test

The Job Standard Test (JST) assesses your ability to perform New York City police jobs. The JST is a continuous, timed assessment that consists of 6 stations, all of which must be completed in 4 minutes, 28 seconds without stopping. This is a pass/fail test, and you must pass all stations.

The 6 stations include:

  1. Barrier Surmount
  2. Physical Restraint Simulation
  3. Pursuit Run
  4. Stair Climb
  5. Trigger Pull
  6. Victim Rescue

You can read more about the physical requirements and review tips for preparing for the Job Standard Test here.

Step 9. Undergo a Character Investigation

If you are chosen to undergo a character investigation, you will meet with an investigator who will review your application booklet (including a Personal History Questionnaire) and address any problems or discrepancies. You may also be required to submit a number of other application forms at this time, as well.

Step 10. Attend the Police Academy

All new hires must attend the Police Academy before attaining a permanent position with the NYPD.

Becoming a Police Officer in Rochester, New York

The Rochester Police Department (585-428-6731) and its 732 sworn personnel (683 patrol officers) patrol and protect the City’s 230,000 residents and 37 square miles of suburban landscape.

If you have aspirations of becoming a police officer in Rochester, this guide will provide you with clear instructions on how to become a cop by meeting the city’s established police officer requirements:

  1. Meet Minimum Eligibility Requirements
  2. Submit an Application for Employment
  3. Take the Written Exam
  4. Take the Physical Agility Test
  5. Undergo a Psychological Evaluation
  6. Undergo a Medical Examination
  7. Undergo a Background Investigation
  8. Participate in a Final Interview
  9. Attend the Police Academy

Step 1. Meet Minimum Eligibility Requirements

Before you apply for Rochester police jobs you should first determine if you meet the City’s minimum eligibility requirements. In particular, you must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be at least 19 ½ years old (at least 20 by the time of appointment) but younger than 35 on the date of the written test (Individuals who served at least 2 active years in the military may be older than 35.)
  • Be in good physical condition
  • Have a high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Have no tattoos or body art that cannot be concealed

Step 2. Submit an Application for Employment

All employment applications for Rochester police jobs are submitted through Rochester’s Online Job Portal. You must find the job for which you are applying on the portal and click on “Apply Now” to enter the online job application area.

Step 3. Take the Written Exam

The first part of the employment process for becoming a Rochester police officer (upon submitting an application for employment and being contacted by the Bureau of Human Resources) is the written test, which includes the memory of facts and information; understanding and interpreting written information; and preparing written information in a police setting.

Because of the importance of passing the written exam, the Rochester Police Department provides candidates with tutorial classes, as well as an online practice test. You may contact Recruitment at 585-428-6731 to inquire about upcoming tutorial classes.

Step 4. Take the Physical Agility Test

The physical agility test, which is typically scheduled shortly after the written exam results are announced, consists of sit-ups, push-ups, and a 1.5-mile run. You must pass all parts of the physical agility test to move on in the employment process. The Rochester Police Department often offers prep courses for the agility test a few months ahead of time. You may contact Recruitment at 585-428-6731 to inquire about upcoming prep courses. In addition, you may review the Physical Agility Training Video to familiarize yourself with what to expect during testing.

Step 5. Undergo a Psychological Evaluation

Individuals who successfully pass the physical agility test are qualified to undergo the psychological evaluation, which consists of a written examination and a one-on-one evaluation with a licensed psychologist.

Step 6. Undergo a Medical Examination

The Department follows the standards set forth by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Step 7. Undergo a Background Investigation

All candidates who pass the psychological and medical evaluations must submit to a full background investigation and a polygraph examination.

Step 8. Participate in a Final Interview

At the discretion of the Chief of Police, you may be required to participate in a final interview, which may be conducted by a panel of administrative members.

Step 9. Attend the Police Academy

Upon receiving an offer of employment with the Rochester Police Department you will be required to attend the 26-week police academy and a 12-week field-training program.

Becoming a Police Officer in Syracuse, New York

The Syracuse Police Department is 500 sworn officers and 130 civilian employees strong and serves a population of about 145,000. The Syracuse, New York, Police Department includes four divisions (Airport Division, Patrol Division, Patrol Services Division, and Traffic Division) that serve the city through street patrol, traffic control, and enforcement.

If you are interested in becoming a police officer in Syracuse, this guide will provide step-by-step instructions on how to become a cop by meeting the Syracuse police officer requirements:

  1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment
  2. Complete the Recruitment Form
  3. Apply for the Civil Service Exam
  4. Take the Civil Service Exam
  5. Take the Physical Agility Exam
  6. Undergo a Background Investigation
  7. Pass a Physical Exam
  8. Attend the Police Academy

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Employment

Before applying for Syracuse police jobs you should first ensure you meet all minimum employment requirements as set forth by the Syracuse Police Department. These include:

  • You must be at least 19 ½ years old to take the civil service exam.
  • You must be younger than 35 years old (Military veterans may be up to six years older.)
  • You must have a valid New York State driver’s license (by the time of appointment).
  • You must have a high school diploma or GED (College coursework or a college degree is encouraged but not required.).
  • You must have no felony convictions.
  • You must have at least 20/100 eyesight, corrected to 20/30.

Step 2. Complete the Recruitment Form

If you want to be contacted by a Syracuse Police Department recruiter you may fill out the online Recruitment Form.  You may also reach the Recruitment Department at 315-442-5227 or Recruitment@syracusepolice.org.

Step 3. Apply for the Civil Service Exam

You must first apply to take the civil service examination by downloading and printing the Civil Service Application. You may also visit the Onondaga County Department of Personnel Office (between 8:00AM and 4:30PM, Monday through Friday) to obtain a civil service application.

You may also request an application by contacting the Recruiting Department at 315-442-5227.

You must mail or deliver your completed application, along with an examination fee of $35, to:

Onondaga County Department of Personnel
421 Montgomery Street
13th floor
Syracuse, NY 13202-2959

Step 4. Take the Civil Service Exam

You can register here to receive civil service exam announcements. Civil service exam announcements are also posted on the Syracuse Police Department website, at the Onondaga County Department of Personnel Office, and at the Self-Service Examination Center (in the Civic Center).

Before taking the civil service exam, you can prepare by studying the Entry-Level Police Officer Guide.

Step 5. Take the Physical Agility Exam

Upon successfully passing the civil service exam and being contacted by the Syracuse Police Department, you will be scheduled to take the physical agility exam, which consists of performing sit-ups, push-ups, and a 1.5-mile run. The physical agility exam is held at the YMCA in Downtown Syracuse.

You can review the physical agility requirements here.

Step 6. Undergo a Background Investigation

You will be required to undergo a comprehensive background investigation upon passing the physical agility exam. The background investigation also includes a polygraph examination.

Step 7. Pass a Physical Exam

All candidates for Syracuse police jobs must pass a physical examination, which also includes a vision screening.

Step 8. Attend the Police Academy

All new recruits must attend the police academy upon being hired by the Syracuse Police Department.

Becoming a Police Officer in Yonkers, New York

The Yonkers Police Department consists of 686 police officers who are responsible for providing law enforcement services to the 200,000 residents of Yonkers, New York. Yonkers, which is the fourth largest city in New York, has an area of 18 square miles and 4 ½ miles of waterfront.

Use this guide if you want to learn how to become a cop by meeting police officer requirements in Yonkers:

  1. Meet Minimum Employment Requirements
  2. Apply for Employment
  3. Take the Civil Service Examination
  4. Undergo Medical and Physical Agility Exams
  5. Undergo Psychological/Psychiatric Examination
  6. Attend the Police Academy

Step 1. Meet Minimum Employment Requirements

Individuals interested in becoming a police officer in Yonkers must first determine if they meet minimum eligibility requirements. In particular, before applying for Yonkers police jobs you should ensure you meet the following employment requirements, as set forth by the Yonkers Police Department:

  • At least 18 years old and no older than 35 at the time of the written examination (Six years may be added to the maximum age limit based on military duty.)
  • At least 20 years old at the time of appointment
  • A high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate
  • A United States citizen
  • A valid New York State driver’s license

Step 2. Apply for Employment

You may download an employment application or pick one up at the Records Division of the Yonkers Police Department at 104 S. Broadway (between 9:00AM and 4:00PM, Monday through Friday); at City Hall on 40 S. Broadway (between 8:30AM and 4:00PM, Monday through Friday); or at the Police Recruitment Headquarters at 36 Radford Street (between 9:00AM and 9:00PM, Monday through Friday and 9:00AM to 5:00PM on Saturday).

You may also pick up an application for employment at one of the police office department precincts at any time. A $25 application fee (in the form of a check or money order made payable to the City of Yonkers) must accompany your application.

All completed applications are mailed to:

Civil Service Commission
40 South Broadway
Room 120
Yonkers, NY 10701

Step 3. Take the Civil Service Examination

All candidates for Yonkers police jobs must take a civil service exam through the New York State Department of Civil Service. You may prepare for the civil service exam by studying A Guide for Entry-Level Police Officers.

Step 4. Undergo Medical and Physical Agility Exams

Only those candidates who pass the civil service exam are eligible to take the physical agility exam. You can review the medical and physical fitness standards as set forth by the Municipal Police Training Council at any of the Civil Service and Recruitment offices. You must pass both the medical exam and the physical agility exam to qualify for Yonkers police jobs.

Step 5. Undergo Psychological/Psychiatric Examination

An offer of employment is contingent upon passing all psychological screening procedures.

Step 6. Attend the Police Academy

All new cadets are required to complete a 20-week police academy training program through the Westchester County Police Academy, followed by the Yonkers Police Academy field training program.

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