Like other states, some parts of Maryland, too, suffer from high crime rate. The job of a police officer, the principal agent of law enforcement, therefore, becomes extremely important in the maintenance of law and order. The police departments in Maryland are there to protect citizens from crime, regulate and enforce rules in the state and apprehend criminals.

Why Become a Police Officer in Maryland?

Respect, reward, and pride! If you have always wanted to join an occupation that comes with a sense of achievement and let you give back to your community, a police officer’s career may be the right path for you.

The career can turn out to be a fulfilling experience, in which you will work on the front line helping citizens and putting bad guys behind bars. Not only may you receive appreciation and respect for your service, but can also bond with the community and offer protection to others including your family, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens.

What Do Police Officers Do?
How to become a Police Officer in Maryland

What Do Police Officers Do?

  • Enforce laws
  • Patrol assigned areas
  • Arrest suspects
  • Testify in courts
  • Respond to emergencies

How to Become a Police Officer in Maryland

The following steps may vary a little from city to city, but may generally be applicable all over Maryland.

Minimum Requirements

  • Applicant must be a US national
  • Applicant must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent educational qualification
  • Applicant must have a valid driver’s license
  • No felony convictions or criminal background
  • Applicants must meet the prior drug use standards
  • Applicant must be over the age of 20

Steps to Become a Police Officer in Maryland

  1. Fill out an application for the position

The first step is to fill and submit an application with the police department of your choice. The application may be available online at the official web page of the department.  You must also provide the following documents:

  • Birth certificate
  • High school diploma and official transcripts (sealed by the issuing school)
  • Official transcript of college diploma (if any)
  • Selective service registration form
  • Marriage, divorce, or legal separation papers (if any)
  • Valid motor vehicle license and copy of driving record
  • Naturalized papers (for candidates who are naturalized US citizens)
  • Social security card
  1. Pass a written test

The next step is appearing for a written test at one of the test centers. The exam comprises of 100 or more multiple choice questions.  The test is designed to determine the minimum competencies of a candidate and assess his or her readiness for enrollment in a training program.

  1. Pass the agility test

The agility test will typically consist of 6 elements, which are:

  • Sit-ups
  • Bench press
  • Sit and reach test
  • 5 mile run
  • Glock familiarization

You must pass each element of the test to move on and may re-take the test if you fail in the initial attempts.

  1. Pass a written psychological exam

In this exam, you will be required to pass a certain number of multiple choice questions. These questions are designed to identify certain personality traits and characteristics needed for police officer jobs.

  1. Clear a background interview

The applicant will be required to meet an assigned background investigator. He or she will investigate and interview the applicant.  The interview can be long and may even go up to four hours.

  1. Pass the following exams:
  • Polygraph Exam

The polygraph test is designed to measure and record physiological indices such as pulse, blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, etc. During the test, you will be asked a series of questions that you must answer honestly.

  • Psychological Exam

This test is one of the most important tools used by police agencies to make sure they select suitable candidates.

  • Physical Exam

This test will determine your physical abilities and strength. You will be required to complete a series of physical activities and will be scored for each of them. The scoring procedures will vary.

  1. Background investigation

You will then undergo a background check by investigators. These investigators will verify your documents, financial history and contact the references you provided on the application form.

  1. Review and hiring decision

The last phase of the process is submission of your file for reviewing. Authorities will go through your test results and determine your eligibility for the position. If you are selected, you will be contacted for completion of further paperwork.

  1. Enroll in a training academy

Once you are selected, you will then undergo academic training that can last anywhere between 6-12 months, depending upon the police department. For example, in Baltimore, entry level police officers must first complete 25 weeks of academic training and then 10 weeks of field training. The training phase will help rookie police officers learn about:

  • Self defense tactics
  • Use of firearms
  • Law enforcement protocols
  • Law enforcement vehicle maneuvering
  • Arrest and control techniques

How Long Does it Take to Become a Police Officer?

The time needed to prepare for a police officer’s job is not definitive. However, the typical time period from the application to selection process can range from 8-12 months. Your selection process may be delayed or cancelled if you fail any qualifying examination or test.

Employment Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth rate for police officers and detectives is 5%

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What do I need in order to become a police officer in Maryland?

Ans: If you’re interested in becoming a police officer in Maryland, there are a few requirements that you must meet. Although precise requirements may vary from city to city, applicants must generally be at least 20 years old; be a US national; have a valid driver’s license; have a clear criminal and drug background and have at least a high school diploma or GED. For the precise list of requirements that you need to satisfy, you should get in touch with the police department you intend to apply to.

Q: After I have been selected for the police force, what happens at the training academy?

Ans: Once an applicant has been selected, they spend the next 6-12 months undergoing academic training followed by a period of field training. A number of topics are covered during this period, some of which include the use of firearms, arrest and control techniques, various law enforcement protocols, self-defense tactics, and law enforcement vehicle maneuvering. This period is intended to fully train you to begin your work in law enforcement.