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How to Become a Police Officer in Connecticut

Connecticut law enforcement agencies are overseen by the state Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST). Nearly 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, which is about 21% higher than average.3 Continue reading to learn about Connecticut police officer requirements, salary averages, and job outlook.

Connecticut Police Officer Requirements

All potential law enforcement officers in Connecticut must meet the standards set forth by the state’s 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
  • Pass a written entry test
  • Have no felony convictions, nor have been convicted of any class A or B misdemeanors
  • Pass a background check
  • Have a valid driver’s license

While the POST Council sets minimum requirements, individual law enforcement agencies may set qualifications that are stricter than the state minimum. For example, it is becoming more common for departments to require applicants to have at least some college experience.

Required Examinations

In order to be accepted into a POST Council-certified training academy, candidates must pass a written test as well as an oral interview. The next step will typically be passing a comprehensive background investigation and drug test. Potential cops will be also subject to a polygraph exam and a psychological evaluation by a Connecticut-licensed psychologist. To meet the demands of the job, prospective cops will also be required to demonstrate physical fitness through a medical exam and physical aptitude testing. Successful candidates will become police recruits and will move on to police academy training, which will involve another series of physical and academic tests.

“Law Enforcement positions are becoming ever increasingly competitive. It’s not uncommon to receive 500 or more applicants for a handful of openings. The top candidates bring a wide spectrum of education and life experiences to the table. The most important being a demonstrated ability and history of being engaged in whatever community the candidate has come from. The diamond in the rough candidate is able to demonstrate a history of volunteerism where they have worked with others, whether it was in school, church, sports, or civic organizations, to engage and make life better for others.” -Chief of Police Chris Lyddy, Fairfield Police Department

Connecticut State Police Requirements

The Connecticut State Police (CSP) is comprised of 11 districts of troopers who serve in highway patrol, rural police, and other speciality units including major crimes, emergency services, forensics, and fire investigations. There are about 1,000 sworn state police troopers in the CSP.4

To apply to be a Connecticut State Police officer, candidates must meet state requirements and:

  • Be at least 20 years of age at the time of application
  • Be a resident of Connecticut and have a valid Connecticut driver’s license before graduating from the training academy
  • Have normal hearing and color vision and meet all vision standards
  • Pass a physical exam, psychological test and physical agility test
  • Have normal hearing, color vision and depth perception, and 20/30 vision (with or without corrective lenses)
  • Have no tattoos or body modifications that are visible while in uniform, including piercings

While in the training academy, recruits earn an annual salary of $40,383; upon graduating from the academy, state cops earn $55,756 in base salary annually, plus overtime and incentives.4

Connecticut Sheriff Deputy Requirements

Connecticut sheriffs’ offices have been replaced with the State Marshal Commission. State marshals are sworn public officers who are authorized to serve civil process, perform evictions, and execute certain types of warrants. Uniquely, however, most state marshals are not employed by the state; they are independent contractors (i.e., freelancers) who must invoice the state for approved activities, or in some circumstances, bill citizens.5 Over 200 marshals work in Connecticut’s eight counties.5 To qualify, prospective state marshals must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be 21 years of age
  • Pass a background check
  • 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
  • Maintain personal liability insurance
  • Complete a pre-service academy (for certain court services)
  • Be eligible for and obtain a commercial driver’s license (for certain court services)

In addition to those requirements, hopeful state marshals must pass written, psychological, and polygraph exams. Previous military and/or college experience is viewed favorably by courts hiring judicial marshals.

“Study, study, study. Flashcards are your friend. Go on as many ride-a-longs you can. Learn to be a leader. The public will look to you for leadership…and so will your partners.” – Motorcop (“MC”), pseudonymous author of the Motorcop Blog

Police Departments in Connecticut

The average annual salary for cops in Connecticut is $70,610.1 In addition to state and federal agencies, Connecticut has approximately 150 local police departments to protect and serve its many cities and towns.

Bridgeport

The Bridgeport Police Department (BPD) serves over 140,000 citizens across 1,300 acres of public parks and 16 square miles of land.6 Specialized units within the BPD include the detective bureau, marine unit, narcotics enforcement, scuba team, emergency services, hostage negotiators, and the mounted unit. Prospective Bridgeport cops must meet state requirements and:

  • Pay a registration fee of $35 (residents) or $55 (non-residents)
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Meet the department’s physical fitness standards

While it is not required to be a resident of Bridgeport, residents receive preferential points in the competitive hiring process. Military veterans with an honorable discharge are also preferred. The annual salary for Bridgeport cops starts at $60,469.6 Police detectives make a starting salary of $68,391, and police sergeants make a starting salary of $69,537.6 Increases based on longevity and other incentives are also offered.

New Haven

The New Haven Police Department (NHPD) uses community-based policing strategies to keep its city safe. The NHPD has over 400 sworn officers across uniform patrol, the investigative services bureau, the identification division, the major crimes division, and the criminal intelligence and narcotics division.7 Candidates who would like to work as NHPD officers must meet state requirements and:

  • Have a valid Connecticut license upon graduating from the training academy
  • Live within, or not more than 20 miles from, New Haven
  • Pass the department’s physical agility tests

While not required, candidates who have a history of community service, computer proficiency, Spanish language proficiency or bilingualism in another language, college credit, and/or military experience are preferred.

Police Training Academies in Connecticut

Aspiring Connecticut law enforcement officers must complete at least 818 hours of basic training at a POST Council-approved training academy.8 Topics in the basic police training curriculum include:

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

Note that in Connecticut, all POST-certified training academies limit enrollment to those who have been hired by a law enforcement unit within the state. The following are POST Council-approved basic training academies in Connecticut:

  • 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 6,820 cops in Connecticut.1 It is projected that by 2026, that workforce will grow by 1.6%, with an average of 410 annual openings due to new positions and replacements.9 The number of new police officers is closely tied to a city’s budget and priorities and can be affected by the 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

CityNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk1,710$72,670
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford2,010$71,720
New Haven1,400$70,530

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.1

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Connecticut: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ct.htm
2. US Census Bureau, Connecticut: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/ct/PST045217
3. Sperling’s Best Places: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/state/connecticut
4. Connecticut State Police: https://portal.ct.gov/DESPP/Division-of-State-Police/Home
5. Connecticut State Marshal Commission: https://portal.ct.gov/DESPP
6. Bridgeport Police Department: http://www.bridgeportct.gov/police
7. New Haven Police Department: https://www.newhavenct.gov/gov/depts/nhpd/default.htm
8. Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection: https://portal.ct.gov/POST/BasicTraining-Division/Basic-Recruit-Training
9. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm