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How to Become a Police Officer in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is home to a little over 1 million people.1 It is a great place to live featuring beautiful mountains, clear blue lakes, and miles of beaches. Future cops will find that New Hampshire is a relaxing place to live and start a promising career.

All states, cities, and towns in New Hampshire will have specific requirements, restrictions, and tests for law enforcement. Below are some general requirements that apply to all cops in New Hampshire. More specific guidelines for state patrol, certain police departments and sheriff’s deputies can also be found in this guide.

New Hampshire Police Officer Requirements

The New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council certifies nearly 4,000 police officers employed by various municipalities across the state.2 Law enforcement officers in the state must complete eight hours of training every year to maintain their certification.

To begin a career in law enforcement in the state, applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma, GED or state equivalent
  • Have no serious criminal record, good driving and credit history
  • Have been fingerprinted and have a satisfactory background investigation
  • Have binocular and near visual acuity of 20/40 (corrected) and far visual acuity of 20/30 (corrected)
  • Have sufficient hearing with an average loss of no more 25 decibels at 500, 1000, 2000, 3000

Required Examinations

Potential cops must pass a physical fitness test. They must also undergo a medical exam and psychological examination to determine their overall ability to function as an officer. Officers of New Hampshire must pass a medical and fitness test every three years.

New Hampshire State Patrol Requirements

The New Hampshire State Police has about 400 sworn officers.3 Some specialized units include the field operations bureau, investigative services bureau, criminal records unit, marine patrol unit, and the forensic laboratory. State police in New Hampshire can expect an annual starting salary of $48,235.3

To become a New Hampshire State Police Trooper, applicants must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a US citizen
  • Have uncorrected vision of 20/40 in each eye, corrected vision of 20/20, and normal depth and color perception
  • Have normal hearing
  • Have no visible tattoos when wearing standard issue uniform*
  • Establish residency in the assigned patrol area upon completion of the Academy and acquire a New Hampshire driver’s license within 60 days
  • Have no history of criminal or unethical behavior

*Possible disqualification of application if applicant has tattoos on the head/face, neck, hands and arms (if exposed by a short sleeve shirt).

To satisfy the education requirement, potential troopers can:

  • Possess an associate degree or 60 credit hours from an accredited college or university with no work experience
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED with two years of work experience as a full-time, certified police officer or military service
“As an ‘applicant’ keep your nose clean! Go cut your neighbor’s lawn and shovel his snow because he may get a call asking what kind of person you are!” -John Paolucci, retired police officer and forensics expert.

New Hampshire Sheriff Deputy Requirements

New Hampshire has ten counties, five of which were original colonies when the state was a part of the British empire. Rockingham county has a population of about 300,000 people.4 The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office patrol division is responsible for enforcing:

  • Evictions, civil orders and writs
  • Landlord/tenant issues
  • Law enforcement assistance to other agencies
  • Civil warrants
  • Restraining orders
  • Motor vehicle law enforcement
  • Criminal investigations
  • Fugitive apprehension and transportation

Individuals looking to become a sheriff’s deputy must be at least 18 years of age with a high school diploma or GED and a US citizen. Applicants will be fingerprinted, must pass a background exam, and have good credit history. Potential cops must have near vision of 20/40 and far vision of 20/30 (corrected).

Police Departments in New Hampshire

In 2014, the annual average salary for police in New Hampshire was $51,560.4 About 2,800 police protect and serve the state, and while the requirements for each department are similar, they can vary slightly, so it’s always best to research a particular department and its requirements before applying.5

Manchester

The Manchester Police Department (MPD) has six divisions: the administrative division, the community police division, investigative division, legal division, patrol division, and the special enforcement division. The patrol division is the largest with 131 sworn cops and an annual starting salary of $48,401.6 To join the MPD, Applicants must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have not used marijuana within the past 12 months or any other controlled substances within three years
  • Have no misdemeanor or felony convictions
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the military

Nashua

The Nashua Police Department (NPD) is comprised of 185 sworn officers.7 They are recruiting their next class of law enforcement with the recruitment test occurring in Nashua, New Hampshire on Saturday, August 29, 2015. Bureaus of the NPD include: the detective bureau, financial services, info technology, legal, professional standards, services, and uniform field operations. First year police officers earn $49,565 annually; second year police officers earn $57,580 annually.7

To become a cop in Nashua, applicants must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be a US citizen
  • Have proportionate height and weight
  • Have far visual acuity of 20/30 (corrected), near visual acuity of 20/40 (corrected) and normal color and depth perception
  • Pass background investigation, oral interviews, written and physical tests, a polygraph exam, a psychological evaluation, and a medical exam

NPD does not require its cops to live in Nashua or New Hampshire.

Police Training Academies in New Hampshire

All law enforcement recruits in New Hampshire are required to complete a 14-week basic training academy class. There is one basic training academies in New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Police Standards & Training Council Academy in Concord, New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Police Jobs Outlook

The number of new law enforcement hired in any city is dependent on that city’s budget, so a city with a large deficit will have fewer openings for cops. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are currently 2,800 officers and sheriff’s in New Hampshire.5 It is projected that by 2022, that workforce will grow by nearly 7%.8 On average, there are 110 law enforcement job openings per year in the state with an average annual salary of $51,560.8, 5 The cost of living in New Hampshire is 15% higher than the national average, but the amenities and high quality of life would make this a great state to become a police officer or sheriff.9

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

Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in New Hampshire

CityNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Manchester360$54,840
Nashua, NH-MA430$58,890
Rochester-Dover300$47,980

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

Keep in mind this advice from Paul Huebl, former Chicago police officer:

Real strength can only be achieved if you have the respect of the citizens you serve. Having weapons and might is a façade. Be firm but fair as you deal with the citizens you serve. They are your masters.

References:
1. US Census Bureau, New Hampshire: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/33
2. New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council: http://www.pstc.nh.gov/
3. New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of State Police: https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/nhsp/aboutus/index.html
4. US Census Bureau, Rockingham County, New Hampshire:
href=”https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/33015″ target=”_blank”>https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/33015
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, New Hampshire: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nh.htm
6. Manchester Police Department: http://www.manchesternh.gov/Departments/Police/Uniformed-Patrol
7. Nashua Police Department: http://www.nashuapd.com/?A=Careers
8. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
9. Sperling’s Best Places, New Hampshire: http://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/state/new_hampshire