Wednesday, March 18

Careers in the Boston Police Department

The Criminal Justice Student Advisory Council ("CJSAC") invited three detectives from the Boston Police Department ("BPD") to share the career opportunities available and some of their experiences in the agency.

Police Academy
This probationary period lasts 6-18 months after passing the exam and is required before becoming an officer. Be prepared to run 5-8 miles at a moments notice. It's commonplace that during the police academy the individual running the program will require this on any day. Training for this may take months or a year for some individuals. Strength training is important too as you will have to climb over walls as well. The academy will be emotionally and physically challenging but something that you should be dedicated to succeed in. You may "know more about the law than many attorneys" through the education and exams that you will encounter.

BPD will conduct a thorough background check of all applicants which will include CORI (background) check, drug test, records checking in all areas you have lived in recently, and calls of service from those residences. The interviews may be extensive too. It will include yourself, past/current neighbors, employers and (perhaps) your mailman. The detectives shared that neighbors are more mindful of your activities than you may think. You will not be hired if you have any prior criminal history including drug offenses or domestic violence incidents.

Versatile Career, But Only for Dedicated Individuals
Individuals who work for the police department are held to higher ethical standards than other employers so there is a high rate of attrition. The detectives shared that of a recent police academy class of 400 individuals, 80% of applicants didn't pass (background check, mental health, physical or attitude issues). There are many options of employment in the police department such as patrol officer, detective, lab technician, and dispatcher -- all typically pay the same rate and have the same rise in salary over the years. There will be a good amount of classroom and practical education that officers will receive.

Important Notes
- Be a people person. If you don't like interacting with people on a daily basis, this isn't the career for you. If you are, it will be less difficult.
- There will be a period of time where you will have to "pay your dues" but the the detectives shared that the benefits will greatly outweigh these initial hurdles.
-You will be sprayed with pepper spray. I'm not certain if you will be tased, but ask the recruiting officer.
- Start preparing for the physical portion of the academy early. They will turn officers away without hesitation if they aren't able to run 5 miles or climb over a wall. Don't let this impede your chances of becoming hired. Get to the gym at least several months beforehand to focus on cardio and strength training.
- Take the civil service test so your name appears on list of possible applicants. This lists you as passing and "available" so if positions aren't available immediately after you pass, one will likely come up in a couple months as the need arises. If you don't take the civil service test to be added to the roster, you may be overlooked. The exams remain active, I believe, for approximately two years.

Questions / Want to Learn More?

Click here to view the flyers. You can download the images by clicking the icon next to the filename in the slideshow. I have a few extras if anyone would like a copy.