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How to Become a Police Officer in Maryland

Maryland is centrally located on the growing east coast metropolitan corridor. With close proximity to Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York, Maryland is a great place to enter the field of law enforcement. Maryland has over 5.7 million citizens and a population growth of 9.52%, giving Maryland a constant need for top quality police officers.1 The state has high standards for the officers who serve, but also provides the programs and training needed for success.

To become a police officer in Maryland, minimum state requirements must be met along with the specific requirements for the district in which you will be applying. Often local police forces have stricter requirements than the minimum state requirements.

Maryland Police Officer Requirements

The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) oversees the standards and requirements for becoming a police officer in Maryland. The state has minimum requirements that must be met for qualification. Many local police departments have additional requirements that must also be satisfied in order to serve in a local community.

Minimum guidelines that are set by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC) include the following requirements to enter a Maryland Police Academy:

Nationality, Age and Education

Applicants must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be 21 years or older
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED)

Required Examinations

Candidates will also be required to take some examinations before becoming a police officer in Maryland. Required exams include:

  • Entrance exam: written Civil Service Exam measuring verbal skills and comparable to the SAT or ACT and including reading, observation, recall and report writing
  • Physical ability test (PAT)
  • Polygraph test
  • Psychological and physical test, given simultaneously followed by an executive interview

Background Clearance

Candidates require a background check which includes previous employers, landlords and a credit report check. There cannot be any felonies or drug charges in your past history.

Maryland Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements

The Maryland Highway Patrol was established in 1921 and was created to serve the citizens of Maryland. The organization focuses on three core values of integrity, fairness and service to the community. The troopers are sworn to protect the people, fight crime and ensure safety on the roads through strict enforcement of the law. The organizational structure resembles that of the military and preference is given to military veterans.

For those seeking to become a Maryland State Trooper candidates must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Attend and pass the state police training program
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a valid driver’s license from any state with no more than 3 points
  • Have 20/20 vision for both near and far, with or without correction
  • Not have any drug related charges including marijuana in the prior 3 years
  • Be of moral character with a good reputation
  • Have no court order relating to domestic violence
  • Be honest in every step of the application process

Maryland Sheriff Deputy Requirements

Maryland has established sheriffs in each county of the state. The sheriff is an elected position and the sheriff serves for four years. The primary goals of the sheriff’s office is to enforce the law, provide security for courtrooms, operate and secure jails and detention centers, and protect the life and property of the citizens of Maryland. The state has 24 sheriffs and 1,600 deputies that serve in the state.2

Each sheriff’s office in the state has its own individual requirements for employment. Most sheriff’s offices require additional training and education for qualifying. In general, prospective sheriff’s deputies in the state must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or a GED
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have a clean criminal history

Anne Arundel County

The Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Office was one of the first in the country and was established in 1650. This office has expanded its duties and now contains departments that include judicial protection, child support, domestic violence, warrants, landlord-tenant issues, K-9 units, and summons. Ron Bateman is currently serving as Annapolis’ 119th sheriff.

Baltimore City

The Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office is very active in the community. Baltimore is divided into 21 districts with each district assigned a deputy officer. Divisions within the department include child support, security, K-9 unit, transportation, traffic, warrant control, accounting, domestic violence and internal affairs. R. Jay Fisher is currently serving as Sheriff of Baltimore City.

Police Departments in Maryland

Maryland employs nearly 14,000 police officers and sheriff’s patrol officers in the state, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.4 These officers are sworn to protect and serve the citizens of the state. Their duties range from patrol duty, serving warrants and helping citizens in need.

To become a police officer in Maryland, standards must be met depending on the city or county in which you are applying. Basic state minimums must be met and then additional requirements by the individual cities must also be satisfied.

Baltimore

The Baltimore Police Department (BPD) is the eighth largest municipal police force in the United States. Staffed by 4,000 civilian and sworn personnel, the BPD includes a SWAT team, marine unit, K-9 unit, crime lab unit, aviation unit, mounted unit, special ops unit, and a cyber-crimes unit. The police commissioner for this department is Anthony W. Batts overseeing all departments.

Applicants who wish to become a police officer in Baltimore must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Attend and pass the state police training program
  • Be at least 20 years and 9 months at date of hire
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have no prior drug use

For additional information on the BPD, check out our in-depth How to Become a Police Officer in Baltimore guide.

Aberdeen

The Aberdeen Police Department (APD) is a full-service police agency in Maryland, staffed by 24 patrolmen and overseen by a lieutenant. This department includes a criminal investigation division with three full-time investigators and a crime scene technician, as well as a K-9 unit, special operations unit, Harford county task force, a county wide multi-jurisdictional unit, and a special weapons and tactics team. The lieutenant is responsible for procurement, quarter master inventory, fleet maintenance, records management, police communication, and numerous other related activities.

Recruits who want to be a police officer in Aberdeen will have to meet the basic requirements for law enforcement personnel in the state of Maryland set by the DPSCS.

Police Training Academies in Maryland

Maryland offers 12 police academies throughout the state. This includes a combination of regional academies and department-run academies. Each are certified by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPCTC). Due to its proximity to Washington, DC, some Maryland academies work with federal agencies as needed.

All candidates are required to successfully complete the academy training as an entry level employment requirement. The training lasts six months and includes both classroom and physical training. Recruits learn about state and federal laws, patrol tactics, defense tactics, aid as a first responder, emergency vehicle operations, and use of firearms. There are over 150 mandates that must be passed to become certified.

Accredited police academies are located in the following areas:

  • Anne Arundel County Police Academy – Davidson, MD
  • Baltimore County Training Academy – Baltimore, MD
  • Baltimore Police Department Education & Training Division – Owings Mills, MD
  • Eastern Shore Criminal Justice Academy – Salisbury, MD
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – Cheltenham, MD
  • Harford County Sheriff’s Academy – Bel Air, MD
  • Maryland Natural Resources Police Academy – Stevensville, MD
  • Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions – Woodstock, MD
  • Maryland State Police Training Division – Pikesville, MD
  • Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy – Rockville, MD
  • Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy – Faulkner, MD
  • Western Maryland Police Academy – Hagerstown, MD

Maryland Police Jobs Outlook

Jobs within Maryland law enforcement will see growth according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average growth expected as of May 2014 is 11.7%.4 The median annual salary is $59,880.5 Maryland police also have a very attractive benefits package that includes retirement at 25 years, health benefits paid through retirement, vacation, disability and life insurance and retirement funding.

For more information current law enforcement openings, take a look at our Police Jobs Page.

Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in Maryland

CityNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Annapolis131$61,104
Baltimore2948$76,503
Rockville59$85,428

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

References:
1. Sperling’s Best Places, Maryland: http://www.bestplaces.net/state/maryland
2. Maryland Sheriffs’ Association: http://www.mdsheriffs.org/about/duties-of-sheriff/
3. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Maryland: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_md.htm#33-0000