How to Become a Police Officer in Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest city in Maryland and has one of the largest police forces in the country to serve and protect the population of over 640,000.1 The history, cultural institutions, and universities and colleges found in Baltimore are major draws for visitors and residents alike. Many hopeful new recruits are eager to work on the force of the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) and to enjoy living in the city. The BPD is always looking for qualified candidates and has a rigorous hiring procedure. The process for becoming a Baltimore police officer is detailed below.
Baltimore Police Officer Requirements
There are several minimum requirements that must be met to be considered for a career in law enforcement with the BPD. These include being a US citizen, having a high school diploma or GED, and having a valid driver’s license. New recruits will undergo a background check and must not have any felony convictions or prior drug use. All candidates must be at least 20 years and nine months of age by the hire date for becoming a trainee.
Qualified candidates may begin the process of being considered for a position with the BPD by filling out an application and taking the civil service test. The BPD offers testing every Tuesday at the Department’s recruitment unit. Those who pass the written test may continue with the agility test and will then be subjected to a background investigation, a polygraph examination, psychological and medical examinations, and an interview.
For more information about how to become a cop in a typical big city, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. If you are ready to apply, find specific application information on the Baltimore Police Department Recruitment page.
Baltimore Police Department Information
The BPD is the eighth-largest city police force in the country with over 4,000 civilian employees and sworn officers.1 Special units within the BPD include the S.W.A.T. Division, the K-9 unit, the Mounted Unit, the Aviation Unit, and the Marine Unit, which patrols the city harbor. The BPD is divided into two areas and nine districts. The Western Area includes the Central, Northwestern, Southern, Southwestern, and Western districts and the Eastern Area includes the Eastern, Northeastern, Northern, and Southeastern districts.
Baltimore Police Training Academy
Those candidates who make it through the hiring procedure and are offered employment with the BPD complete basic training at the Training Academy of the Baltimore City Police Department. The recruit training gives new cops the skills needed to work as a sworn officer in the city. Courses include firearm training, animal control, ethics, community relations, and victim’s rights, among many others. After completing basic training, new recruits are assigned to a district and participate in field training.
Baltimore Police Salary and Jobs Outlook
New recruits to the BPD earn a starting salary of $46,199 while working as trainees.1 On average, an officer in the state of Maryland makes $59,880 per year.2 BPD officers also have access to benefits such as a retirement plan, paid overtime, health insurance, and free equipment, as well as opportunities for advanced training and promotions within the department.
Prospects for future law enforcement officers in Baltimore are promising. Projections suggest that the number of jobs in this field will increase by 5.1% between now and 2022, which translates to 540 open positions every year in the state of Maryland.3 For more information on current BPD law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board page.
More Information on the Baltimore Police Department and Crime
The BPD is open to including citizens in the work it does to protect the community. Residents of Baltimore can get involved with the department and within their communities by starting an Operation Crime Watch program or Citizens on Patrol (COP) program. The BPD will work with any residents interested in starting or joining one of these crime watch groups in their neighborhoods.
Baltimore Police Department
242 W 29th St
Baltimore, MD 21211
- Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police: http://www.fop3.org/
- Maryland Fraternal Order of Police: http://mdstatefop.org/
1. Baltimore Police Department: http://www.baltimorepolice.org/headquarters/about
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Maryland: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_md.htm#33-0000
3. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm