The state of Massachusetts currently has 16,700 police and sheriff’s patrol officers working under the Massachusetts State Police Department (MSP). In order to join ranks with these officers, there are a number of requirements aspiring police officers must fulfill. The state has high standards in its police recruitment programs and the entire process of becoming a police officer in Massachusetts can be very challenging. If you are interested in learning how to become a police officer in Massachusetts, the following information is what you need to know:

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General Requirements To Become A Police Officer In Massachusetts
How to Become a Police Officer in Massachusetts

Police Officer Career Requirements in Massachusetts

Educational Requirements High school diploma or equivalent
Experience/Training Training from Police Academy, Moderate on-the-job training
Key Skills Courage, Ability to Assess Situations, Problem-solving, Observational Skills, Public Relations, Defense Tactics, Community Awareness, Sound Work Habits, Communication Skills, Reading & Writing Skills, Strong Moral Character
Annual Mean Salary – Massachusetts, MA (2021) $73,560 (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)
Job Outlook – Massachusetts, MA (2018-2028) 4% (Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021) and O*Net Online

Steps To Become a Police Officer in Massachusetts

Police officers have a tough duty that includes protecting lives and property in their district. It is the job of a police officer to enforce law, respond to calls, and act responsibly in difficult and dangerous situations. To become a police officer in Massachusetts, MA there are some necessary steps that need to be taken.

  1. Complete Necessary Education
  • To pursue a career as a police officer, the minimum education requirement is high school diploma or equivalent.
  • According to latest updates, the state department now stresses for applicants to have a degree in criminal justice or criminology.
  • The other basic requirement is to have a driver’s license and clear background check that covers different areas like schooling, prior-employment record, felony charges, and criminal record.
  1. Take Massachusetts Civil Service Exam
  • To become a police officer in Massachusetts, it is important to take the civil service exam.
  • The first step is to make an account and register online, next to learn the schedule, and finally to prepare for the exam.
  • The components of the exam include written examination which consists of the Written Ability Test (WAT), Life Experience Survey (LES), and the Work Styles Questionnaire (WSQ).
  1. Graduating from Police Training Academy
  • Enroll in a Municipal Police Training Committee certified police academy where an entry-level training curriculum is offered.
  • The Recruit Officer Course (ROC) takes around 20 weeks to complete that covers core principles like problem-solving, procedural justice, ethical decision making, and fair and impartial policing.
  1. Obtaining License & Finding Job
  • Once you have obtained the Massachusetts police license, you are ready to start working as a police officer.
  • After updating your police officer resume and cover letter, look for the vacancies in your area and start applying.

Police Officer Job Outlook in Massachusetts

According to the 2021 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, the mean annual wage for police and sheriff’s patrol officers in Massachusetts, MA was $73,560. The national corresponding average for this job is $ 70,750. O*Net Online forecasts a 4% increase in employment opportunities for police and sheriff’s patrol officers in Massachusetts between 2018 and 2028. The corresponding national average for this occupation is 7%.

Below are the top 5 highest paying states for this occupation in the US in 2021.

State Annual Mean Wage 
California $102,920
Washington $92,390
New Jersey $91,690
Alaska $87,510
Illinois $82,800

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)

Below are the states with the highest employment level in Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers:

State Employment 
California 70,050
Texas 60,440
New York 49,910
Florida 45,360
Illinois 30,640

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2021)

Police Officer Duties

Police Officers are typically responsible for the performance of the following tasks in Massachusetts:

  • Enforce laws
  • Respond to emergency and non-emergency calls
  • Conduct traffic stops and issue citations
  • Look for vehicle records and warrants using computers in the field
  • Obtain warrants from the relevant authorities and arrest suspects
  • Collect and secure evidence from the crime scene
  • Observe the actions of suspects and determine what they could be up to
  • Write detailed reports and fill out forms required in the daily operations at the department
  • Prepare cases and testify in court when the need arises

Most police officers are required to patrol their assigned jurisdiction and investigate any activity they might find suspicious. They are required to wear uniforms when on duty to allow the public to easily recognize them as officers.

Some police officers may work with a specific type of crime, or in special units, such as SWAT or canine corps. The job is highly demanding and stressful and can be dangerous quite often. Officers are required to be alert throughout their shift and manage the danger levels in a manner that minimal harm is caused. The work is typically full time, and paid overtime is common.

Police Education and Training in Massachusetts

An educated police force will have an overall positive impact, leading to the reforms within the law enforcement agencies. The minimum education required to become a police officer in Massachusetts is high school diploma or equivalent. However, the state department now stresses on specialized education, like an associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal law, criminology, or studies in law enforcement before joining the training academy. Aspiring police officers in Massachusetts can choose any degree program that teaches them the basics of law, American criminal system, social science, and criminology theories.

Police Officer Training in Massachusetts

In the US, the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC) sets training standards for all police academies. In Massachusetts, MA, the new recruits are required to complete 20 weeks of training at the police academy, during which they learn defensive tactics, firearms, surveillance, filing reports, and traffic crash investigation.

In the academic classes, great focus is given to problem solving, procedural justice, ethical decision making, and fair and impartial policing. Police academy training is an important first step in the development of a police officer as it prepares them for challenging real-life situations. The continuous training process improves the skills of the officers and helps them in maintaining high-level of professionalism.

Training Institutions for Police Officers

Before exercising any police powers or performing duties, it’s mandatory for all police officers to complete the standard training program and receive certification. There are many Municipal Police Training Committee authorized training academies in Massachusetts, MA.

  1. Municipal Police Training Committee

Offering entry-level police academy training, the center complies by the training standards of municipal. Recruit Officer Course (ROC) is a 20-week course that covers important areas like ethics in decision making and fair, impartial policing. The academy training puts emphasis on academic classes and physical fitness, along with providing practical experience in defensive tactics and using firearms.

  1. Municipal Police Institute – MPI Training

The academy strives to keep Massachusetts Law Enforcement recruits up-to-date with the latest requirements and standard training process. During the training program, recruits learn about firearms, leadership, body cameras, report writing, handling evidence, field training, and forensics.

  1. Mass State Police Academy

The Massachusetts State Police Academy focuses on providing advanced training to recruit candidates. Challenging the recruits, curriculum focuses on arresting techniques, drugs of abuse. Defensive tactics, firearms, physical fitness, officer safety and survival, and anti-terrorism.

  1. Reading Police Academy

With the aim of developing professional police officers, the Reading Police Academy in Massachusetts empowers individuals to their full capacity. According to the standards set by the Municipal Police Training Committee, it takes 20 weeks to complete the training program, in which the candidates attend academic lessons as well as engage in practical learning.

  1. Boston Police Academy

An entry-level police training academy, it teaches all the mandated course of study for basic police training that is authorized by the Municipal Police Training Committee. An approximately 6-month training program, it prepares the recruits for real-life situations and how to react in challenging circumstances.

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