How do I become a police officer in New Jersey?

The answer to this question depends on whether the department you wish to join is a civil service or non-civil service department.  Civil service departments hire applicants from the civil service test, which is given by the New Jersey Civil Service Commission.  The civil service test is usually given once every other year.  Please contact the New Jersey Civil Service Commission or visit their website at: for the date of the next civil service examination.

In Monmouth County, the majority of non-civil service departments hire applicants from the Chief’s Exam, which is given once a year at the Monmouth County Police Academy.  The Chief’s Exam is sponsored by the Monmouth County Chief’s of Police Association, additional information can be found here

How Difficult is the Basic Course for Police Officers?

Basic police training is designed to prepare recruits for the rigors of a law enforcement career; it is not for everyone. Each day begins at 6 a.m. with an intense physical training session followed by military drill instruction. All Drill Instructors have served in the United States military – many in combat. Their job is to prepare recruits to function while exposed to the stressful life and death situations one may encounter in police work. At the conclusion of drill, classroom instruction begins. During the 21 weeks of recruit training, recruits will be administered over 50 written and practical examinations in subjects including law, first aid, firearms, and driver training. In addition, three physical ability assessments will be conducted throughout the duration of the academy. Most days are eleven hours in length, including some Saturday sessions.

Can I pay my own way through the Academy?

Yes. The Alternate Route program has been reinstated. To qualify you must have taken the Chiefs Exam and received a qualifying written score. For a complete list of requirements for this program, please visit the “Alternate Route Program” section of this website.

Are there age restrictions to becoming a police officer?

For municipal police departments, you must be at least 18 and no more than 35 years of age at the time of appointment. There are some exceptions to the maximum age limit for prior military and law enforcement personnel. For non-municipal titles (e.g. Corrections Officer, Sheriffs Officer, Park Police, or Campus Police etc.) there is no maximum age limit.

How do I become a Special Law Enforcement Officer?

Special Law Enforcement Officers are appointed directly by specific Police Departments. Please contact departments directly to see if there are available openings. A Special Law Enforcement Officer II has full law enforcement powers and carry firearms while on duty. A Special Law Enforcement Officer I does not carry a firearm.

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