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Police: Recruiting

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Why Be a Police Officer


On Patrol


Your Career


I am a Howard County Police Officer


The privilege of becoming a Howard County police officer is an endeavor requiring personal sacrifice and a commitment to excellence. As an agency, we are looking for ambitious men and women seeking careers in law enforcement who are able to meet our high standards.


 Police officer testing schedule   

 Lateral officer testing schedule 

 Police cadet testing schedule  

   
Sample written test
Physician’s authorization form  * required for physical testing

 

 For additional police testing questions, please refer to the bottom of the page under Frequently Asked Questions. 

 

  Police Application Steps 

  Directions to the James N. Robey Public Safety Training Center 

 

   Police science degree program information

Police officer benefits  

  • Health, dental and life insurance
  • Vacation, disability and personal leave
  • Retirement plan (50 percent of pay after 20 years of service; 75 percent of pay after 25 years of service; 80 percent of pay after 30 years of service) 
  • All equipment and uniforms, including shoes, with free dry cleaning services 
  • Take-home police vehicles for county residents 
  • Night shift and multi-lingual differential pay 
  • 12-hour permanent patrol shifts with four hours overtime guaranteed each pay (day shift works two on, three off, two on, two off, three on, two off; night shift works three on, three off) 
  • Three-hour minimum overtime pay for off-duty court appearances 
  • Deferred compensation 
  • Tuition reimbursement 
  • Specialty pay for certain assignments 
  • Career development programs 
  • Bonus for laterals

Police officer qualifications 

  • U.S. citizen
  • At least 21 years of age by the swearing-in ceremony
  • 60 college credits or associate’s degree or two years of active military duty (no college credits are required at the time of application if the recruit participates in associate’s degree program with Howard Community College
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • No felony or serious misdemeanor convictions
  • Must be three years (36 months) removed from using any illegal drug or prescription drug that is not prescribed to you
  • Must have not been arrested for DUI within the past 5 years (60 months)
  • Cannot have more than three (3) current points on your license
  • Cannot have been dishonorably discharged from the military

Lateral police officer qualifications  

  • U.S. citizen 
  • Two years of experience with a full service Maryland police agency 
  • Possess a current Maryland Police Training Commission certificate 
  • Valid driver’s license 
  • No felony or serious misdemeanor convictions 

If you are interested in joining one of the most progressive police departments in the country, you must successfully complete a written exam, physical agility test, personal history questionnaire, oral interview, polygraph examination, background investigation, medical examination and psychological screening.

 

Police cadet

 

A police cadet is a pre-entry level position in the police department. The cadet assists police officers and members of the public with non-criminal incidents and provides support for various divisions of the police department. Some of the typical duties include providing assistance with clerical and communications functions, presenting programs to the public, transporting evidence and providing personnel support at special events in the county. 
 
Police cadet qualifications  

  • U.S. Citizen 
  • High school diploma or GED 
  • Possess a valid driver’s license 
  • No criminal record

Emergency communications operator

The Communications Division is a mixture of specially trained call-takers, dispatchers and supervisors who handle all police, fire and emergency medical services calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The division is managed on a day-to-day basis by a combination of police and fire supervisors, under the command of a police lieutenant.

 Emergency communications operator testing schedule 

 Emergency communications operator qualifications  

  • U.S. citizen 
  • High school diploma or GED 
  • No criminal record
  • Applicants must be able to pass a written exam, physical exam, typing test, panel interview, background investigation and psychological screening.

Lateral communictions operator testing schedule 

 

Contact the recruiter

For additional information, contact the recruiter at 410-313-HCPD or e-mail recruitment@howardcountymd.gov.

 

 

Volunteer opportunities

Learn about the Volunteers in Police Service program 

 

 

Frequently asked questions – police officer applicants


When will the next academy class start?  

The academy is 31 weeks long with an additional 14 weeks of field training. Officers participating in the Howard Community College degree program concurrently have an additional eight weeks of classroom instruction to complete their degrees after the completion of the academy.


Do I have to fill out an application before taking the written test?  

No, you do not have to fill out an application before taking the written test. Simply show up with a photo ID at one of the available test dates.

 
What does the written exam consist of?  

The written examination consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. You will be given two hours to complete the exam. There are five sections to the test, including reading comprehension, quantitative problem solving, interpretation, writing skills and verbal problem solving.

 
Do I have to sign up to take the physical test?  

No, you do not have to call or sign up to take the test. As long as you have a signed physician’s authorization form and have passed the written test, just show up at an available physical ability test date.

 
How long will the hiring process take?  

The hiring process involves various steps and could take between three to six months. Your cooperation in completing the necessary paperwork at each stage of the process will help make the process quicker.


When is the next test date?  

Written and physical exams are offered on an ongoing basis. If you fail the written test, you may retest after six months. If you fail the physical ability test, you may retake the test the next time it’s offered.

 
Where does testing take place?  

All testing is held at the James N. Robey Public Safety Training Center, 2200 Scott Wheeler Drive, Marriottsville, MD 21104.
Directions to the James N. Robey Public Safety Training Center 

 

What is the proper attire for testing? 

Suit and tie are not required. We prefer you come dressed in gym clothes.

  

Is the academy a live-in academy?  

No, the academy is non-residential. The academy is held Monday-Friday, typically from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Based on training needs, some weekends and evening hours are required.


Am I paid while attending the academy?  

Yes, you will be paid at the rate stated on your hire date

.
What is the maximum age to become a police officer?  

There is no age limit. As long as you’re able to pass all phases of the process, you’re eligible.

 
Will my military experience help?  

Each applicant is evaluated individually throughout the application process. It is a very competitive process, and as such, every aspect of your life is considered when making a selection for hire.

 
Can I go to school while I’m employed with the police department?  

Yes. The Howard County Police Department offers tuition reimbursement at any accredited college of your choice. You may also participate in our partnership with Howard Community College to earn an associate’s degree while attending the academy.

 Police science degree program information  


After graduating from the academy, can I request an assignment?  

You are assigned based on operational needs. A request may be honored if operational needs allow.


When can I apply for a specialty assignment, such as criminal investigations or tactical section?  

You may apply for a specialty position after the completion of your 18-month probationary period. Your probationary period begins at the date of hire.