How do you become one of New Jerseys roughly 40,000 police officers?
What should you do to begin the process of becoming a police officer in NJ?
What are the names, addresses, and hiring requirements for all of the agencies that employ police officers?
As a Certified Police dispatcher and Class II Special Law Enforcement Officer working in a municipal department, I had a million and one questions about the field of law enforcement all pertaining to obtaining a full time regular police officer position. The entire field seemed to be a mystery, and I couldnt find any books like this one, to answer all of my questions.
Between talking to many police officers, reading various materials relating to law enforcement, going through several steps towards becoming a regular full time police officer, and taking many tests, I slowly learned the answers to the most important questions. Which steps should a person take to get into the field of NJ law enforcement?
During this time, I continually fielded a great numbers of questions from aspiring young men and women about getting into the field. They all seemed to have a general feeling of confusion and misconception about which steps to take.
As a result, I felt the need to publish a book covering the most important aspects of police recruiting. At the same time, I also provide a general understanding of the field from the top starting with the attorney generals office in Trenton, and working downwards through all of the other state agencies and departments employing law enforcement personnel continuing down through county and municipal agencies.
One of my many goals with this book is to save each and every aspiring law enforcement candidate, countless hours of time spent on research, as well as greatly increasing their chances and strategy for obtaining a position.
In several parts of the book, I added my own personal thoughts and opinions regarding issues that I observed during my experiences in law enforcement. I debated whether or not to include these personal observations and opinions, or whether I should only stick to facts. I decided that although these are my experiences and opinions, they will only add to the benefits of this book, and not hurt it. While reading these areas of the book, realize that these lessons are not meant to preach, but rather help you to learn from the mistakes of others, or even myself in some cases.
As I studied the subject of law enforcement recruitment in an attempt to bring you the best information possible, I was surprised by some of the news headlines pertaining to recruitment around the country. As you will see here in the introduction and throughout the book, I include supporting articles for some of the information I present. I found a few of them at Officer.com. I recommend visiting this website often for current information and quality law enforcement news. You can view and print these articles by entering each title in the search box. Another great website for news and information specifically about NJ policing is www.njlawman.com.
As a life long resident of New Jersey, I have always known law enforcement to be a highly desirable occupation, but one with few opportunities to enter the field. The truth is, only in New Jersey are positions so highly sought. The rest of the country seems to be starving for new recruits! In fact, these are just some of the headlines I came across during my research on recruiting:
Police Nationwide Face Tough Hunt For Recruits 12/28/2005 Lexis Nexis
Washington Recruiters Go After Unhappy Hawaii Police 3/29/2006 TheHawaiiChannel.com
LAPD Is Under The Gun on Recruitment 7/03/2006 Los Angeles Times
Little Rock Combating Officer Shortages 8/15/2006 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Pittsburgh Set to Hire 45 Police Recruits 8/30/2006 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Four-In-Five U.S. Police Forces Short On Applicants 3/27/2006 UPI Lexis Nexis
Baltimore Recruiter Draw Large Crowds In Puerto Rico 7/07/2006 The Baltimore Sun
San Diego Mayor Tries To Halt Officer Exodus 7/10/2006 www.nbcsandiego.com
Cops Pay Big Price For 25G Salary 1/8/2007 NY Daily News
The bottom line is that if you really want to become a police officer, there are plenty of departments that will need your service throughout the country. Some major cities such as Phoenix instituted an expedited hiring process that you can complete during a 2 or 3-day out-of-state trip.
But if you want to be a New Jersey police officer, the story is quite different!
New Jersey has 479 municipal law enforcement agencies, 21 sheriffs departments, 19 college and university police departments, and 35 other state, county, and other types of law enforcement agencies. Out of the 479 municipal agencies, 181 of them are Civil Service or NJ Department of Personnel jurisdictions, meaning that they must follow strict state rules and guidelines for hiring, and in most cases, you must be a resident of a specific municipality or county. The 35 state, county, and other types of agencies can be found on the partner website to this book, www.NJ-Police-Recruit.com and follow the link for the Agency Profiles page. There you will find listings of all NJ law enforcement agencies and the information to quickly locate and contact them. I suggest you research these agencies when you have a free minute.
After breaking down the figures, you are left with 298 municipal police departments that can possibly hire you. Among those remaining, the list of requirements for employment eligibility is increasingly becoming more and more intense. Little by little, municipalities are adding more requirements to qualify for consideration during the hiring process. Residency, written and physical exams, four- year college degrees, and already police trained (PTC Certified), or current law enforcement officers are just a few. In a lot of cases, the hiring process is private and by invitation only. Most police chiefs regularly receive resumes from job-searching candidates that they save and file away. This means that unless you qualify, or have a resume on file, you will never know when theyve filled the position. As a result, the level of competition is increasing and the level of difficulty in obtaining a position is reaching new highs. The State of New Jersey Department of Personnel estimates the number of people who registered for the last administered test in 2008 for the position of police and other law enforcement titles, including corrections, to be around 40,000!
In 2007, the Cherry Hill Police Department announced they were going to hire between 5 and 15 new police officers. They administered a series of 2 written and 1 physical tests, free of charge. Usually, police departments collect a fee ranging from $25.00 to $100.00 to take the test. Over 1426 completed applications were received! These numbers clearly indicate the desire of many people to enter the field of NJ law enforcement. With competition this intense, your success will rely on a lot of hard work, planning, and career strategy.
If you want to become a municipal police officer, there are several things you will need to know in order to give yourself the best opportunity and chance that you can. This book aims at providing you with exactly that direction, and also offers a free website, www.NJ-Police-Recruit.com which you can refer to on a continual basis for updates on recruitment information and opportunities throughout the state.
I suggest you take specific interest in Section 9 of the Uniform Crime Report from the past few years. This section summarizes the number of police officers in New Jersey by the type of law enforcement agency, and gender in each category. A short review of these pages will help you to get a perspective for the amount of jobs that you can expect to become available each year, and can give you a good sense of where law enforcement manpower levels are throughout the various counties in New Jersey.
I also suggest that you download and print all of the documents recommended in all of the chapters. If you cannot find the information or need additional help, visit www.NJ-Police-Recruit.com and submit your questions via the Contact Page.
The bottom line is, unless you obtain a job through the Civil Service as a result of scoring high on the test and the municipality in which you reside is currently hiring, or you happen to have inside connections in a chiefs municipality, or you are accepted into the Alternate Route Program and you do well, you will have to work extremely hard and display serious dedication to obtain a position! For the majority of job seekers, this will be you! You will need to display a high work ethic and show extreme dedication for your goal of becoming a police officer. This is not a position that you can simply decide on a whim that you wish to pursue. You will have to follow the steps outlined in chapter 6 and work extremely hard throughout the process. If you work hard and excel throughout these steps, you will gain the experience and have the impressive resume to appeal to any department that is hiring. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for an interested candidate to spend a few years in this process.
I hope this book and website prove to be a valuable resource for you, and enable you to create a viable path to follow. Good luck with your preparation, and best wishes for success in obtaining the position you seek!