New York Police Officer Requirements


As you can imagine, there’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to investigating crimes in New York. According to the 2012 statistics released by the FBI, the state is actually doing quite well when it comes to property crimes and burglaries compared to the stats in other states. But its robbery rates are quite high with 146.4 robberies per 100,000 people.

In general, the selection processes for potential police officers used by the various police departments are the same, although they may differ in sequence and in some details. It usually involves passing a written exam and an interview, a thorough check of your medical, psychological, and physical fitness, and an intensive background investigation which usually involves a polygraph test. But the basic police academy requirements in New York may differ depending on the department, and so may the physical fitness test standards.

New York Police Department

The NYPD is one of the most famous police departments in the world, thanks to movies and TV shows. You can apply to the NYPD online, and once you finish the process and enter the police academy you can earn an annual salary of $44,744 as a recruit (not including overtime). But after 6 months, your annual salary jumps to $46,288.

The basic requirements include the following:

  • US citizen by the day of hire.
  • 21 years old by the day of hire (you can be 17 ½ years of age when you take the written exam), but not older than 35 unless you have an active military service.
  • Sixty (60) college credits with a 2.0 G.P.A. from an accredited college or university OR a high school diploma or equivalent plus 2 years of full-time, active military service in the United States Armed Forces with an honorable discharge.
  • A resident of the five Burroughs or the surrounding counties.
  • Valid New York State driver’s license.
  • Pass drug and alcohol screening.
  • Pass character and background investigation

The following are causes for disqualification:

  • Dishonorable discharge from the military.
  • Felony conviction.
  • Repeated convictions for an offense demonstrating lack of respect for the law, a lack of good moral character, or a tendency towards violence.
  • Losing a job due to poor behavior or lack of discipline.
  • Larceny or domestic violence conviction.

The physical fitness test standards are also more complicated, but then again this is the NYPD. You need to pass a series of physical tasks that simulate what you would regularly do as an NYPD officer. This includes climbing over a 6-foot barrier, climbing stairs, running pursuit, dragging a 176-pound dummy by 35 feet, and trigger pull skills with both hands. You need to complete these tests in sequence within 4 minutes and 28 seconds.

Buffalo Police Department

Buffalo may not be as famous as New York City, but it is the second most populous city in the state of New York. As a Buffalo PD officer, your salary may range from $48,895 to $64,095 a year. The basic requirements for the Buffalo include:

  • US citizen
  • Between 20 to 35 years of age (19 years old to take the test).
  • Have a valid New York driver’s license
  • Be a resident of Niagara, Genesee, Erie, Cattaraugus, Wyoming, or Chautauqua County for at least 90 days before you take the test
  • 60 college credit hours OR at least 2 continuous years in the military OR at least 6 continuous years in active reserve duty

If you think you meet all these requirements, you can then get an application form at (or send a self-addressed stamped envelope to):

City of Buffalo

Department of Human Resources

65 Niagara Square, 1001 City Hall

Buffalo, NY 14202

The selection process includes taking a physical fitness test which involves doing sit-ups, pushups, and a 1.5-mile run.

Rochester Police Department

The Rochester PD has only 732 police officers to protect 230,000 residents and 37 square miles of suburbia. The selection process is typical, and it ends when you complete the 26-week police academy training and a 12-week field-training program.

The minimum requirements include the following:

  • US citizen.
  • 20 to 35 years old. You can be 19 ½ years old on the day of the written exam, and you can be more than 35 years old if you have served at least 2 active years in the military.
  • High school diploma or GED.
  • Valid driver’s license.
  • No visible tattoos or body art

The physical fitness standards differ according to your age and gender. If you are a male between 20 to 29 years old, you need to do 29 pushups, 38 sit-ups in a minute, and run a mile and a half in just 12 minutes and 38 seconds.

Yonkers Police Department

For the Yonkers PD, the basic requirements are typical, but you can be 18 years old by the time of the written test. But you have to be 20 years old to be appointed. The maximum age is also 35 years old but you can add up to six years to this, depending on your military duty history. The physical fitness standards are similar to Buffalo PD standards.

You can pick up an application at any precinct, and you can mail the application to:

Civil Service Commission

40 South Broadway

Room 120

Yonkers, NY 10701

Syracuse Police Department

at Syracuse PD you have to be 19 ½ years old to take the civil service exam, and 35 years old at the most unless you served two years in the military. You need at least at least 20/100 eyesight, corrected to 20/30.

The physical fitness depends on your age or gender, and it is very challenging. For example, males between 20 to 29 years old must complete the mile and a half run in 12 minutes, 29 seconds.


You have to know how to prepare for the police academy properly, otherwise you won’t be able to earn the uniform of a police officer in New York. You need to know what’s coming in the various tests and interviews, and you have to be fit to pass the grueling physical fitness tests.

That’s why you need a study guide such as the Prepare for the Police Academy review manual, which offers tips for every step of the selection process. It also includes various helpful suggestions on how to prepare for the fitness exams.

Share This :