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How to Become a Police Officer in Maine

Maine is home to approximately 1.3 million people and has seen population growth of 4% since the year 2000.1 As the population of Maine’s cities and towns grows, so does its need for law enforcement officers. All prospective police officers in Maine must meet the standards set by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy (MCJA), though individual jurisdictions may have stricter requirements. This page will guide those interested in learning how to become a police officer in Maine through the requirements for major departments within the state.

Maine Police Officer Requirements

The Maine state legislature has entrusted the Maine Criminal Justice Academy (MCJA) with setting minimum standards for training municipal and county police officers throughout the state. Passing the MCJA’s Basic Law Enforcement Training Program (BLETP) is a requirement for all prospective officers in the state, and as a result, the minimum qualifications for entering the BLETP serve as minimum qualifications for becoming a Maine law enforcement officer. Candidates must:

  • Be legally authorized to work in the US
  • Be at least 21 years of age, or be 20 years of age with 60 credit hours of postsecondary education
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Pass an extensive background check

The BLETP is a three-phase program. Prospective officers may take Phase I of the program as tuition-paying students if they do not have a conditional employment offer from a Maine law enforcement agency. However, to complete all three phases of the program candidates must meet certain requirements.

Maine Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements

The Maine State Police (MSP) is the largest police department in the state, with 341 sworn personnel providing law enforcement services from patrol to investigation and incident management.2 The Maine State Police are continually recruiting and seek the best-qualified applicants to wear the agency’s uniform and badge. To ensure that only the best candidates are offered employment, the agency has a number of requirements for prospective troopers. In addition to meeting requirements for entering the state’s BLETP, candidates must:

  • Possess a valid Maine Class C driver’s license
  • Not have any convictions for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol within 10 years prior to application
  • Comply with the agency’s policies regarding visible tattoos, piercings, and other body art

Candidates should also note that the Maine State Police standards for physical agility are more demanding than those for entrance into the BLETP. The starting salary for Maine state troopers is $23.01 per hour.2 In addition, though state troopers are not required to have earned college credits, the department offers generous hourly incentives ranging from a $0.19 hourly increase for associate degree holders to $0.43 for those holding a master’s degree or higher.2

Maine Sheriff Deputy Requirements

There are 16 counties in Maine that hold regular elections for the office of sheriff. Each sheriff is empowered to appoint deputies to assist in carrying out the law enforcement duties of the sheriff’s office. In order to become a sheriff’s deputy, candidates must:3

  • Meet the same minimum qualifications for BLETP as all other law enforcement officers in the state
  • Have previous law enforcement experience
  • Have graduated from the BLETP or from an accredited college criminal justice or law enforcement program
  • If qualifying for appointment by education, complete the BLETP at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy following the appointment to deputy
  • Reside in the county of appointment unless approval for out-of-county residence has been approved by the sheriff and county commissioners

York County

The York County Sheriff’s Office maintains three major divisions: police services, corrections, and civil process. The sheriff’s office provides rural patrol and law enforcement for 14 of the 29 municipalities in York County. In addition, the office’s corrections division is responsible for the operations of the York County Jail. Deputy sheriffs receive comprehensive benefits, including educational reimbursement and participation in ongoing law enforcement continuing education programs.

Cumberland County

The jurisdiction of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office includes the busy city of Portland, Maine. Approximately 260 personnel work for the sheriff’s department in routine and specialty law enforcement operations including patrol, drug enforcement, and emergency management.4

Police Departments in Maine

With approximately 2,120 police and sheriff’s patrol officers working in Maine, there are a variety of opportunities for prospective officers to begin careers in law enforcement.5 All prospective officers must meet the standards set by BLETP, as well as any additional requirements established by the hiring agency. Those who receive an offer of employment will complete BLETP training at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, typically at the hiring department’s expense.

Augusta

The Augusta Police Department (APD) employs approximately 40 sworn officers.6 Candidates for employment as Augusta police officers must meet BLETP minimum standards and be free of criminal convictions or other criminal conduct, even if uncharged. The background investigation to become an Augusta police officer also includes interviews with the city board, chief of police, and city manager.

Portland

The Portland Police Department (PPD) maintains several routine and specialty law enforcement teams including investigations, street crimes, and forensics sections. The Portland PD is the largest municipal law enforcement agency in the state of Maine, with approximately 163 sworn officers and 59 civilian personnel.7 To become a Portland police officer, candidates must meet minimum state standards and:

  • Have two years of employment after high school, three years of education after high school, or an equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Must not have tattoos that are visible while in uniform

The starting salary for Portland police officers is $49,649 per year, with regular increases based on longevity.7

Police Training Academies in Maine

With rare exceptions, all future Maine police, sheriff’s patrol, and law enforcement officers complete the state-required officer training through the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s (MCJA) Basic Law Enforcement Training Program (BLETP), located in Vassalboro. The BLETP is an intensive 18-week course covering academic content, law enforcement skills, and physical training. Depending on the department and the position a recruit is pursuing, further training may be required. For example, following graduation from BLETP, Maine State Troopers join the Recruit Training Troop. The Recruit Training Troop is an additional nine-week training program beyond the 18-week basic training.

Maine Police Jobs Outlook

The jobs outlook for Maine police officers is moderate, with a growth rate of 2.9% based on an estimated 60 new police jobs added projected through 2026.8 These job openings will come in addition to replacements as current officers retire or move to other positions. Metropolitan areas with growing populations will also see an increased need for law enforcement officers. The average annual salary for Maine police officers is $48,310.5

You can learn more about the opportunities available on our police jobs board.

Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in Maine

CityNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Bangor200$44,260
Lewiston-Auburn90$36,870
Portland-South Portland570$54,980

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2017.5

References:
1. Sperling’s Best Places, Maine: https://www.bestplaces.net/state/maine
2. Maine State Police: https://www.maine.gov/dps/msp/
3. Maine Revised Statutes: http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/30-A/title30-Asec381.html
4. Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office: http://www.cumberlandso.org/
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, State Occupational Employment and Wages, Maine: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_me.htm
6. Augusta Police Department: http://www.augustamaine.gov/departments/police_department/index.php
7. Portland Police Department: http://portlandmaine.gov/202/Police
8. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm