How to Become a Police Officer in Boston
The Boston police force is one of the oldest in the nation and has a history stretching as far back as 1631, although the Boston Police Department was not officially commissioned until 1838. For aspiring recruits looking to become Boston police officers, there are many strict requirements that must be met to be eligible to work for the Boston Police Department (BPD). To help you get started, we have outlined the process below.
Boston Police Officer Requirements
In order to become a Boston police officer, a candidate must be a US citizen, be at least 21 years old, and have had Boston residency for at least one year. All candidates must be eligible for a firearms license in the state of Massachusetts. Additionally, all BPD recruits must have a high school diploma or GED equivalency.
Examinations Required for Boston Police Recruits
The first step to becoming a Boston police officer is to pass the Mass State Civil Service Exam. This exam is only offered every two years, and prospective recruits must have earned a passing score to be eligible to apply for sworn officer positions with the BPD. Like any major city’s police force, the Boston Police Department also requires that prospective officers undergo a number of physical, mental, and psychological examinations. During the recruitment process, all candidates must submit to an extensive background check, which frequently includes a polygraph exam.
Any recruit that has a criminal history that includes a felony charge or charges related to drug use may be deemed ineligible to serve with the BPD. Additionally, candidates that have been dishonorably discharged from the military may be unable to become a Boston cop. However, individual histories are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
For more information, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our homepage.
Boston Police Department Information
The city’s police department is overseen by the current police Commissioner, Billy Evans, and is divided into 12 districts and eight bureaus.
The Boston Police Special Operations Unit is made up of various multi-disciplinary units including highway patrol and traffic enforcement, crowd control, special weapons services, and SWAT tactics services.
Boston Police Training Academy
The Boston Training Center is organized and operated by the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC). The MPTC is responsible for establishing minimum training and education standards for becoming a police officer within the city.
The Recruit Officer Course is a comprehensive 800-hour/20-week training program that includes classroom instruction, tactical exercises, and real-world scenarios designed to teach new recruits the abilities needed to excel in the Boston police force.
The process to become a police officer in Boston is rigorous. In December of 2013, 97 police recruits were initiated into the Boston Police Academy hoping to become one of Boston’s Finest.1
Boston Police Salary and Jobs Outlook
The Boston Police Department has approximately 2,015 officers and recruits qualified applicants on an as-needed basis. The starting pay for a new recruit may vary depending on experience and education. However, once established in active service, the average annual salary of a Boston patrol officer is $58,480.2
For more information on current Boston law enforcement positions, take a look at our state job board page.
More Information on the Boston Police DepartmentThe Boston police department is known for its strong connections with residents through the various community participation programs it organizes. Through innovative programs such as the highly successful Boston Safe Street Teams, the BPD tries to curb violence and encourage community involvement in preventing crime.
Additionally, the Boston Police Department offers internships throughout the city. These internships are typically not paid positions but can provide enriching experiences for residents. For more information, contact the City of Boston’s Internships and Volunteers page.
Boston Police Headquarters
Human Resources Division
One Schroeder Plaza
Boston, MA 02120
BPD hotline: (888) 333-2353
- Greater Boston Police Council: http://gbpc.org/
- Massachusetts Fraternal Order of Police: http://www.massfop.org/
- New England Association of Police Chiefs: http://neacop.org/
1. Boston Police Department Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151871879582685.1073742004.278872877684&type=3
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_71650.htm
3. City of Boston Police Department: http://www.jointhebpd.com
4. Boston Police Academy: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/municipal-police-training-committeetraining-and-academies/recruit-officer-courses/full-time-recruit-officer-courses/
5. Massachusetts Government: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/municipal-police-training-committee
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