The Boston Police Department (BPD) was formally established in 1838 but has a long history which stretches back even further to 1631. This makes it the oldest police department in the country. Today, the BPD is solely responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and investigations are properly carried out in the city of Boston, Massachusetts. It is the third largest law enforcement agency in New England following the Massachusetts State Police and the Massachusetts Department of Correction. The BPD is also the 20th largest law enforcement agency in the entire country. As such, the BPD has a very high recruitment standard when it comes to bringing in new police officers.

If you are interested in becoming a police officer in Boston, here’s what you need to know.

What are the requirements to become a police officer in Boston?

Police officers play a very important role in society. Through the course of their duties, they are tasked with upholding the law and ensuring that society is safe for everybody. Due to the fact that their job duties are so extensive and varied, police officers have to undergo strenuous training, both physical and physiological.

An outline of the steps required to become a police officer in Boston is as follows:

  • Meet the minimum requirements
  • Pass the Police Officer Civil Service exam
  • Complete Application Packet
  • Appear for Orientation Session, Interview Session and Background Investigation
  • Pass a series of tests including drug test, medical test, psychological test
  • Pass the Physical Ability Test (PAT)
  • Undergo training at the Boston Police Academy
Is a career as a police officer really for me?
How Do You Become a Police Officer

The Minimum Requirements (prerequisites) to becoming a police officer

Before you start the process of applying to become a police officer you need to ensure that you meet certain minimum requirements.

The minimum requirements are as follows. Candidates must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have been a resident of Boston for at least one year
  • Have a high school diploma or GED OR have served in the U.S. Armed Forces for a minimum of three years
  • Be eligible to have a firearms license in the state of Massachusetts
  • Have a valid Massachusetts driver’s license

The Police Officer Civil Service exam

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts all prospective police officers must pass the Police Officer Civil Service exam. The exam is held every two years and costs an average of $100.

The exam consists of the following components:

  • Written Ability Test – This part of the test will gauge candidates’ cognitive abilities. This includes portions on writing, oral comprehension, reading comprehension, reasoning, ordering information, and communication.
  • Work Styles Questionnaire – This part of the test is designed to assess whether a candidate possess the qualities, character, and motivation required by police officers in Boston.
  • Life Experience Survey – This part of the test features multiple choice questions which will ask you about those bits of your past which are relevant to becoming a police officer in Boston.

In order to becoming a police officer, candidates must pass this test and are given a maximum of two opportunities to sit for the exam. If you do pass the exam, you’ll be put on a list of individuals who are eligible to continue onwards with the police officer hiring process in Boston.

Application Packet, Orientation Session, Interview Session and Background Investigation

When you move forward in the hiring process, you are given a hiring packet which contains all of the documents you need to fill out and submit. You will also be informed about what documents you need to assemble and submit for your background investigation.

You will then be summoned to appear for a thorough interview and background investigation.

Test to Pass

There are a number of tests which aspiring police officers must successfully clear. These include:

  • Drug test – Report must show that you have not taken any drugs in the last 90 days and are not on steroids.
  • Psychological test – Comprised of both a written exam and psychiatric evaluation.
  • Medical exam – A variety of tests will be carried out to make sure you are physically well enough to handle the job.

Once these tests are cleared, an applicant must undergo a Physical Ability Test (PAT). To pass, one must successfully:

  • Complete the obstacle course in a maximum of 130.4 seconds
  • Physically separate two individuals in a maximum of 14.2 seconds
  • Drag a dummy over a specific distance in a maximum of 11 seconds
  • Squeeze a trigger in a maximum of 7.1 seconds with both hands a total of six times each

Can you give me some information about the Boston Police Department?

The BPD is divided into 12 distinct districts and eight bureaus, all of which is overseen by the Police Commissioner, who is currently Billy Evans.

The BPD also has a Special Operations Unit which features numerous multi-disciplinary units. These include crowd control, SWAT tactics services, special weapons services, highway patrol, and traffic enforcement.

What does the Boston Police Training Academy entail?

Training for the BPD takes place at the Boston Training Center. The program itself is created and operated by the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC).

New recruits have to join The Recruit Officer Course. This training program is a 20 week program with over 800 hours. It includes a variety of rigorous tactical exercises as well as immersion into real world scenarios to prepare candidates for what they can expect on the job.

What is the Boston Police Salary and Job Outlook?

Job prospects for police officers in Boston are good considering the fact that it is one of the largest police forces in the country. Furthermore, data from O*NET OnLine suggests that this profession is expected to see a 5%-8% growth between 2014-24.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA NECTA Division is one of the metropolitan areas in the country with the highest employment level in this profession. As of May 2015, its statistics were as follows:

Employment Employment per thousand jobs Hourly wage Annual wage
7,860 4.46 $33.30 $69,260