About

The Howard County Police Department is a nationally accredited agency of more than 700 men and women dedicated to creating a better quality of life for the citizens of Howard County. Our officers demonstrate the highest standards and are guided by the agency’s values: Integrity, Pride and Community.

The department’s size is just right for those who want a law enforcement career with many different opportunities. The department is small enough that officers have the chance to work in numerous specialty units, but large enough to have all the best equipment, services and technology.

HCPD recruiting
Sworn Careers
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Application Process
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1. Register online

Create an account on PublicSafetyApp and begin the application process. Select a written and physical testing date. The hiring process involves various steps and could take between three to six months.

2. Take the written test

The written test is a general knowledge test. You do not need police experience or training to pass the test. It tests your knowledge in interpretations; problem solving; reading comprehension; writing skills; and quantitative problem solving.

You will have two hours to complete the written test and the score is valid for six months. Passing written test scores are valid for six months or until the next academy is selected. If you do not pass the written test, you will be ineligible to take the test again for six months. 

Sample written test

3. Take the physical test

You must first pass the written test before you are eligible to take the physical agility test. It is required that you bring the completed HCPD Physician's Authorization Form with you in order to complete the physical agility test. The physical agility test is comprised of three physical tests; sit-ups, push-ups, and a 1.5 mile run (see video in next tab). Standards for each test are based on your age and gender, which are detailed on the Physician's Authorization Form. You are eligible to take the physical agility test as many times as it is offered within six months following your successful passing of the written test.

Physician’s authorization form (required for physical testing)

4. Completion of a Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ)

Upon successful completion of the physical agility test, the PHQ booklet will be provided via a unique e-mail link with instructions. You will have ten days to complete and submit the PHQ booklet electronically. It is critical that you are thorough and honest when completing this booklet, as all the information you provide will be verified during your polygraph exam and background investigation.

5. Oral interview

Upon our receipt and successful review of your PHQ you will be scheduled for an oral interview. The oral interview is conducted by three Howard County Police employees. A series of questions will be asked of you concerning your experiences, abilities, and job awareness.

6. Polygraph exam

Upon successful completion of the oral interview you will be scheduled for a polygraph exam. You will be provided with an information sheet concerning the polygraph exam at the end of your oral interview. You can expect the polygraph exam to last approximately three hours with a certified polygraph examiner. You will receive an explanation of the polygraph equipment and exam procedures and the examiner will review all test questions with you prior to the administration of tests.

7. Background investigation

If you are endorsed following the polygraph examination, your case file will be assigned to a background investigator. The investigator will make contact with you and will conduct various records checks, verify education and work history, and contact all of your listed references: family members, neighbors, and employers. This portion of the process takes an average of 4-6 weeks.

8. Psychological exam

If you are endorsed following the background investigation you will be scheduled for a psychological exam. A trained and certified psychologist conducts the exam.

9. Pre-employment medical evaluation (this step follows a conditional final offer of employment)

This exam is to evaluate medical abilities in order to safely perform the duties of a police officer. 

For additional information and questions on the process, contact the recruiter at 410-313-HCPD or email [email protected].

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Fitness Test Demonstration
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Upcoming Testing Dates
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You will be prompted to select a written and physical testing date when you apply online. All testing is held at the James N. Robey Public Safety Training Center, 2200 Scott Wheeler Drive, Marriottsville, MD 21104.

Be mindful that the doors close at the times listed, no one will be permitted to enter beyond that time. Applicants must register online first. 

Bring a valid photo ID to the testing site. A completed physician's authorization form is required to participate in the physical ability testing.

Testing dates are subject to change (updated May 2021):

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 -- 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021 -- 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 -- 1 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 -- 9 a.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 -- 1 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021 -- 9 a.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021 -- 1 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 -- 9 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021 -- 1 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 -- 9 a.m.

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Pay/Benefits
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  • Starting salary: $58,240* for entry-level, $62,379* (plus $3,500 bonus) for lateral (*effective Jan., 2021)
  • Health, dental and life insurance
  • Vacation, disability and personal leave
  • Retirement plan (50% of pay after 20 years of service; 75% of pay after 25 years of service; 80% 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
  • Three-hour minimum overtime pay for off-duty court appearances 
  • 457b deferred compensation plan
  • Tuition reimbursement 
  • Specialty pay for certain assignments 
  • Career development programs
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Qualifications
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Entry Level

  • U.S. citizen
  • At least 21 years of age by the swearing-in ceremony
  • 60 college credits OR two years of active military service OR a minimum of two years of police service in a full-service agency (out-of-state)
  • Possess a valid driver’s license

Lateral

  • U.S. citizen 
  • Two years of experience with a full service Maryland police agency 
  • Possess a current Maryland Police Training Commission certificate 
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
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Disqualifications
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  • No serious misdemeanor convictions, defined as any crime that would carry more than 1-year incarceration
  • Been convicted or otherwise found guilty of selling, manufacturing, or distributing a controlled dangerous substance, narcotic drug, or marijuana.
  • Ever illegally sold, produced, cultivated, distributed, or transported a controlled dangerous substance, narcotic drug, or marijuana.
  • Ever illegally used a controlled dangerous substance, narcotic drug, or marijuana while employed to enforce federal, state, or local law by any government entity.
  • No use of heroin, phencyclidine (PCP), or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
  • No CDS usage within three (3) years prior to the start of the academy (including marijuana)
  • CDS usage of no more than five (5) times lifetime or once since turning twenty-one (21) years of age (minus marijuana) 
  • No DUI/DWI within the past five (5) years 
  • No more than three (3) current points on driver’s license
  • Cannot have received a bad conduct or dishonorable discharge from the military
  • No tattoos on head, neck, face, or hands
  • No visible, intentional, body mutilation, piercing, branding or intentional scarring
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FAQs
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Do I have to fill out an application before taking the written test?

Yes, you need to complete an application prior to your arrival, on our online platform. You will receive electronic confirmation of your submission and available test dates.  Upon receiving your assigned test date, simply show up with a photo ID and your signed, physician’s authorization form.

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: interpretations; problem solving; reading comprehension; writing skills; and quantitative problem solving.

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

Upon passing the written exam, you are eligible to take the physical test on that date or one thereafter. Ensure that you have a fully completed and signed physician’s authorization form to take the physical test.

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.

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 upon completion of six months of service.

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 12-month probationary period (lateral officers) 18-month probationary period (entry-level officers). Your probationary period begins at the date of hire.

If not selected, may I reapply?

Eligibility for re-application will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Applicants that fail the written exam may retest after a six month waiting period. Applicants that fail the physical ability test may retest for up to six months from the signature date on their physician’s authorization form. 

Civilian Careers
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How to Apply
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The Howard County Police Department has a wide range of civilian positions. For a list of open positions, check the the county's main jobs page here

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Animal Control
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Animal Handlers care for animals at the County Animal Shelter, maintain related records, and assist with shelter clerical functions. Assignments include cleaning and maintaining all facilities at the Animal Shelter and surrounding area; food preparation and feeding of animals; and providing animal health care. The starting salary for Animal Handlers is $34,652.

Animal Control Officers work to enforce the Howard County Code's animal control provisions. Assignments include capturing domestic and wild animals and transporting them and working at the animal shelter. The starting salary for Animal Control Officers is $38,251.

Openings for these civilian positions are posted on the county's main jobs page here.

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Emergency Communications Operators (Dispatchers)
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We are not hiring emergency communications operators at this time. A link to apply for an ECO position will be on PublicSafetyApp when applications open. 

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.

The starting salary is $43,680.

Emergency communications operator qualifications:

  • U.S. citizen
  • High school diploma or GED
  • No criminal record

Applicants must be able to pass a typing test (40 wpm), video dispatch test, panel interview, background investigation, psychological screening, and pre-placement drug screen.

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Cadets
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A police cadet is a pre-entry level civilian 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.

Starting salary for a full-time cadet is $33,002 ($13 an hour for seasonal).

Police cadet qualifications:

  • 18-21 years old
  • U.S. citizen
  • High school diploma or GED 
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • No criminal record

Application process

1. Register online

Create an account on PublicSafetyApp and begin the application process. Select a written and physical testing date. The hiring process involves various steps and could take between three to six months.

2. Take the written test

The written test is a general knowledge test. You do not need police experience or training to pass the test. It tests your knowledge in interpretations; problem solving; reading comprehension; writing skills; and quantitative problem solving.

You will have two hours to complete the written test and the score is valid for six months. Passing written test scores are valid for six months or until the next academy is selected. If you do not pass the written test, you will be ineligible to take the test again for six months. 

Sample written test

3. Take the physical test

You must first pass the written test before you are eligible to take the physical agility test. It is required that you bring the completed HCPD Physician's Authorization Form with you in order to complete the physical agility test. The physical agility test is comprised of three physical tests; sit-ups, push-ups, and a 1.5 mile run (see video in sworn careers tab). Standards for each test are based on your age and gender, which are detailed on the Physician's Authorization Form. You are eligible to take the physical agility test as many times as it is offered within six months following your successful passing of the written test.

Physician’s authorization form (required for physical testing)

4. Completion of a Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ)

Upon successful completion of the physical agility test, the PHQ booklet will be provided via a unique e-mail link with instructions. You will have ten days to complete and submit the PHQ booklet electronically. It is critical that you are thorough and honest when completing this booklet, as all the information you provide will be verified during your polygraph exam and background investigation.

5. Oral interview

Upon our receipt and successful review of your PHQ you will be scheduled for an oral interview. The oral interview is conducted by three Howard County Police employees. A series of questions will be asked of you concerning your experiences, abilities, and job awareness.

6. Polygraph exam

Upon successful completion of the oral interview you will be scheduled for a polygraph exam. You will be provided with an information sheet concerning the polygraph exam at the end of your oral interview. You can expect the polygraph exam to last approximately three hours with a certified polygraph examiner. You will receive an explanation of the polygraph equipment and exam procedures and the examiner will review all test questions with you prior to the administration of tests.

7. Background investigation

If you are endorsed following the polygraph examination, your case file will be assigned to a background investigator. The investigator will make contact with you and will conduct various records checks, verify education and work history, and contact all of your listed references: family members, neighbors, and employers. This portion of the process takes an average of 4-6 weeks.

8. Psychological exam

If you are endorsed following the background investigation you will be scheduled for a psychological exam. A trained and certified psychologist conducts the exam.

9. Pre-employment medical evaluation (this step follows a conditional final offer of employment)

This exam is to evaluate medical abilities in order to safely perform the duties of a cadet.

For additional information and questions on the process, contact the recruiter at 410-313-HCPD or email [email protected].

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Crossing Guards
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We are now hiring crossing guards!

School crossing guard is a part-time, contingent, non-benefitted position that works 10-20 hours per week. The position pays $14 an hour. No experience needed. Uniforms provided. 

We are currently hiring for the following locations (updated May 2021):

  • Bonnie Branch Middle School
  • Bollman Bridge Elementary School
  • Forest Ridge Elementary School
  • Fulton Elementary School
  • Hollifield Station Elementary School
  • Ilchester Elementary School
  • Laurel Woods Elementary School
  • Lime Kiln Middle School
  • Patuxent Valley Middle School
  • Phelps Luck Elementary School
  • Longfellow Elementary School
  • Stevens Forest Elementary School

For more information, contact 410-313-2255 or [email protected].

Volunteer
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How to Apply
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The Howard County Police Department Volunteers in Police Service Program (VIPS) is an opportunity to actively participate in making Howard County a safer place to live and work.

HCPD volunteers offer their talents, skills and abilities to support the services police provide to the community. Prospective volunteers are matched with identified needs in the police department. Opportunities vary, and may include clerical/office support, citizen services, and crime prevention. HCPD also offers unpaid internship opportunities; please see below for more information.

Volunteer Application

Minimum participation requirements:

  • Complete application and agreement form
  • U.S. citizen
  • At least 18 years old
  • In good physical health
  • Pass a police background check
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Internships
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The Howard County Police Department runs unpaid internships for college credit-seeking students every spring, summer and fall. The program runs on a three month rotation through different divisions of the Department. The program is designed to give qualified students information regarding law enforcement careers. Students observe and participate in a variety of police department activities.

We are currently accepting applications for spring and summer 2022 (subject to change due to COVID-19). Fill out the following form and submit it as instructed: Internship Application Form

Questions? Contact 410-313-2255 or [email protected]

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Auxiliary Officer Program
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The police auxiliary program is an intense, demanding volunteer assignment requiring a commitment of at least 16 hours of service each month, including one special event. The program is a cost-effective method designed to increase the efficiency of the patrol officer while maintaining the departmental standard of high quality, timely public service.

The auxiliary officer performs a wide variety of support services to both the police officer on the street and the citizens of the county. Many of the auxiliary officers have received official commendations recognizing their dedication to duty and the quality of the services they provide. Selected candidates receive free uniforms, professional training and specialized equipment.

Auxiliary officers perform a wide range of duties, including directing traffic, identifying and processing abandoned vehicles, retrieving and storing recovered property, investigating roadway hazards, performing home security surveys, patrolling senior citizen residential complexes, perform courier duties, handling vehicle lockouts, assisting at DWI Sobriety Checkpoints, supplementing the school crossing guard program, issuing parking tickets for handicapped and fire lane parking violations and other non-emergency activities. For more information on becoming an auxiliary officer, contact 410-313 2255 or [email protected].

We currently are not accepting applications. Please check back in mid-2021.

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Volunteer Mounted Patrol Program
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Comprised of local volunteers and their horses, members of the Volunteer Mounted Patrol travel parks, pathways and other designated locations by horse as a high-visibility deterrent to crime. They serve as a resource to the public, providing information to citizens, and watching for and reporting violations and concerns. Volunteers assist in investigative, administrative and community service functions and events. Although they have no enforcement powers, the unit members serve as some of the "eyes and ears" of the police department. For more information, contact 410-313 2255 or [email protected].

We currently are not accepting applications for Volunteer Mounted Patrol. Please check back soon! 

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