What are the Requirements for Becoming a Police Officer in Maryland
Maryland is a Mid-Atlantic State in the US, attributed to be the State with the highest median household income, owing to geographical proximity to Washington DC, 4000-mile shoreline, highly diversified progressive economy, many historical landmarks and topographical variety akin to the entire United States, hence the nickname America in miniature.
The Maryland State Police (MSP) was established in 1935 as a separate unit of state government and allocated funds from the revenues of the Department of Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Gradually, it was deputized with additional statewide police powers and eventually merged with the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services in the year 1970 and declared the leading Law Enforcement Agency of the State.
Fresh recruits of the MSP are called State troopers. They are screened and inducted by the Maryland State Police Recruitment and Selection Unit (MSPRSU) under regulations notified by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions (MPTC).
Applications by aspirant troopers shall be rejected unless the applicant qualifies the following criteria:
- The applicant is a citizen of the United States.
- The applicant is at least 20 years old and not aged more than 59 years.
- The applicant has a high school diploma or GED.
- An applicant has a valid driver’s license issued by any State and a satisfactory driving record.
- Visual acuity of both eyes is binocularly correctable to 20/20.
- Applicant must show excellent levels of physical fitness.
- Applicant must be of good repute and moral character.
- Applicant must practice honesty and truthfulness throughout the selection process.
- Applicant must not be facing any court order relating to domestic violence.
- Comply with the MSP tattoo policywhich is relatively more lenient than other State Police Depts., but it explicitly prohibits tattoos from the neck up and the wrist down unless it is a commitment band.
- Applicant must also be free from any kind of substance abuse of controlled substances for at least 3 years prior to the application
Additionally, Army veterans are given preference over other applicants and the Department permits eligible veterans, military personnel, and their dependents the ability to utilize their GI Bill Educational Benefits, for their enrolment and Induction training at the Maryland State Police Academy as well as their field training, and a subsequent probationary period of 16 months.
The MSPRSU stipulates a structured and rigorous selection process and mandates the following steps for each applicant:
- Preliminary verification of applicant disclosures in the online application form.
- A Functional Fitness Assessment Test (FFAT) to gauge the aerobic and anaerobic fitness wherein the applicant must show the ability to do 18 push-ups per minute, 27 sit-ups per minute, approximate flexibility of 1.5 inches beyond toes while seated and a run of 1.5 miles within 15minutes and 20 seconds. The intention is to see whether physical preparedness and level of physical fitness of applicant can survive the academy training.
- A written examination wherein the applicant must appear for the National Police Officer Selection Test (POST) which is generally scheduled on the same day as FFAT. POST is comprised of 4 sections namely Mathematics, Reading Section, Grammar and Report Writing Skills.
- An oral interview of 45 to 60 minutes to assess the applicant’s interpersonal skills and verbal communication.
- A Polygraph Test as well as a Background Checks involving a detailed investigation of the applicant based on his/her submissions, disclosures and previous steps of the selection process.
- Medical and Psychological examinations conducted by the prescribed personnel. Herein, the Division Physician shall examine the applicant’s vision, hearing and physical characteristics to ascertain the possibility of limitations that would hinder an applicant from the discharge of his/her duties. Similarly, the Division Psychologist shall examine the applicant’s mental endurance and the ability to handle stress.
- A final evaluation of the Candidate’s performance by a Police Selection Committee (PSC) composed of 5 permanent members from various units within the MSP. The PSC is provided no information of the age, sex race or medical history of the applicant. Eventually, the Committee declares applicants across 4 bands i.e. Best, Better, Qualified and Poor. Applicants with poor grading are deemed rejected.
Final Offer and Induction
It is pertinent to note that the successful clearance of the aforesaid evaluation procedure does not guarantee a Final Offer of Employment. Nonetheless, if the applicant does receive a final offer then he/she must compulsorily complete a 26-week training program of the Maryland State Police Training Academy.
During this tenure, recruits will be taught a variety of skills including operation of emergency vehicles as well as firearms, sobriety testing and defensive tactics. Subsequently, the candidates are then assigned to a Field Training Trooper for am 8 weeks Field Training. It is only after completion of the aforesaid training that a candidate gets deputed as a State Trooper.
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