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How to Become a Police Officer in Connecticut

Connecticut law enforcement agencies are under Connecticut’s Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. Over 7,000 police and law enforcement officers serve the state’s population of 3.5 million.1,2 Cops are well-compensated in Connecticut, partially as a result of the state’s high cost of living (about 21% higher than average).3

Steve Turner, President of the San Bernardino Police Officers Association, offers this advice: “Anyone interested in becoming a police officer should first realize that they are interested in a career field that has a very competitive pool of applicants. Knowing this, the future officer must take some steps that pushes him/her above the other applicants.”

Connecticut Police Officer Requirements

All potential law enforcement officers in Connecticut must meet the standards set forth by the state’s Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST Council). These requirements state that interested candidates must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be 21 years of age
  • Have no felony convictions, nor have been convicted of class A or B misdemeanors
  • Have been fingerprinted
  • Have a valid driver’s license

Required Examinations

In order to be accepted into a POST Council-certified training academy, candidates must pass a satisfactory background investigation and drug test. Potential cops will be subject to a polygraph exam. They must undergo a psychological evaluation by a Connecticut-licensed psychologist and be certified as being physically fit to perform the duties required of a police recruit. Candidates must also pass a written entry test.

Connecticut State Police Requirements

The Connecticut State Police (CSP) is comprised of 11 troops that serve as highway patrol, rural police, or in other speciality units. The state employs about 1,000 sworn state police officers.4 There are seven speciality units under CSP:

  • Major crime squad
  • Emergency services unit
  • Traffic unit
  • Bureau of criminal investigations
  • Fire investigations unit
  • Forensic laboratory
  • Polygraph unit

While in the training academy, recruits earn an annual salary of $36,948; however, upon graduating from the academy, state cops earn $51,012 annually, plus overtime.5

To apply to be a Connecticut State Police Officer, candidates must:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be at least 20 years of age
  • Be a US citizen
  • Have no felony, class A or B convictions
  • Be a resident of Connecticut and have a valid Connecticut driver’s license before graduating from the training academy
  • Pass a background check and criminal history review
  • Pass a physical exam, psychological test and physical agility test
  • Have normal hearing, color vision and depth perception, and 20/30 vision (with corrective lenses)
  • Comply with the Department’s tattoo and body modification policies, found at the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection

Connecticut Sheriff Deputy Requirements

Connecticut sheriffs’ offices have been replaced with the State Marshal Commission. Marshals are not state employees, but independent contractors hired as peace officers to support judicial and administrative law and enforce judgements and orders. Nearly 200 marshals work in Connecticut’s eight counties.6

To apply, prospective state marshals must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be 21 years of age
  • Have been fingerprinted
  • Have no felony convictions, nor have been convicted of class A or B misdemeanors
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Not test positive on a drug screening test
  • Exhibit a satisfactory background investigation

In addition to those requirements, hopeful state marshals must pass written, psychological and polygraph exams.

Police Departments in Connecticut

The average salary for cops in Connecticut is $64,790.1 The state has around 150 police departments to protect and serve its many cities and towns.7

Bridgeport

The Bridgeport Police Department (BPD) serves 144,000 citizens across 1,300 acres of public parks and 16 square miles of land.8 Specialized units include the detective bureau, marine unit, narcotics enforcement, scuba team, emergency services, hostage negotiators and the mounted unit. Compensation for Bridgeport cops starts at $60,469.9

Applicants must be at least 21 years old, a US citizen and a high school graduate (or equivalent) with a valid driver’s license. He or she must have a clean criminal record, with no felony or class A or B misdemeanor convictions. They will be required to submit to a drug test along with a psychological and physical exam.

New Haven

The New Haven Police Department (NHPD) uses community-based policing strategies to keep its city safe. NHPD has over 440 sworn officers in uniform patrol, investigative services bureau, the identification division, the major crimes division, and the criminal intelligence and narcotics division.10

To apply, candidates must be at least 21 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and be a US citizen. Candidates can have no convictions of felonies, class A or B misdemeanors, or misdemeanors involving domestic violence. They must have a valid Connecticut license upon graduating from the training academy and must live not more than 20 miles from New Haven.

Police Training Academies in Connecticut

Aspiring law enforcement officers must complete 818 hours of basic training at a POST Council-approved training academy.11 Topics in the curriculum include:

  • Police and the law
  • Practicing police skills
  • Human relations
  • Criminal investigations
  • Crime scene processing
  • Patrol procedures

The following are POST Council-approved basic training academies:

  • Bridgeport Police Department Training Academy – Bridgeport, CT
  • Connecticut Police Academy – Meriden, CT
  • Hartford Police Academy – Hartford, CT
  • New Haven Police Academy – New Haven, CT
  • State Training Police Academy – Meriden, CT
  • Waterbury Police Academy – Waterbury, CT

Connecticut Police Jobs Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are currently 7,220 cops in Connecticut.1 It is projected that by 2022, that workforce will grow by 4.5%.12 On average, there are 240 law enforcement job openings per year in the state with an average salary of $64,790.12,1 The number of new police officers is closely tied to a city’s budget and priorities and can affected by retirement of officers and budget shortfalls.

To search law enforcement jobs in Connecticut, check out our Police Jobs Board.

Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in Connecticut

City Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk 1,900 $66,360
Hartford 2,300 $64,900
New Haven 1,420 $64,550

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

“The profession and the public expect and require police personnel to maintain a higher level of integrity and professionalism than non police personnel. Those entering public safety should already be a law abiding citizen and realize the expectations facing them in this profession require that they maintain a strong moral, ethical and professional behavior at all times, on duty and off.” -Tom Reiner, Police Lieutenant in Georgia

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Connecticut: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ct.htm
2. US Census Bureau: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/09000.html
3. Sperling’s Best Places: http://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/state/connecticut
4. Connecticut State Police: http://www.cspmuseum.org/CMSLite/default.asp?CMSLite_Page=7&Info=Abbreviated+History
5. State of Connecticut, Dept. of Emergency Services and Public Protection: http://www.ct.gov/despp/cwp/view.asp?a=4215&Q=494740&desppNav_GID=2081
6. State of Connecticut Judicial Branch: http://www.jud.ct.gov/faq/marshals.htm
7. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2008: https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/csllea08.pdf
8. Bridgeport, CT.gov: http://www.bridgeportct.gov/content/89013/default.aspx
9: Bridgeport, CT.gov, Bridgeport Police Department: http://www.bridgeportct.gov/filestorage/89019/89755/90919/103847/RecruitmentBrochure.pdf
10. Connecticut General Assembly, OLR Research Report: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/rpt/2011-R-0194.htm
11. Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection: http://www.ct.gov/post/cwp/view.asp?a=2058&q=291926
12. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm