Baltimore Police Department Officer Requirements

The Baltimore Police Department (BPD) is the eighth-largest municipal police force in the US, with over 3,000 sworn officers and support personnel working within its eight major divisions.1 The BPD protects the citizens living and working in Baltimore by enforcing laws, responding to calls for assistance, and striving to improve the quality of life in the community. Its community-focused policing efforts follow the motto “Engaged Presence Produces Reduction,” or EPPR. Baltimore police programs focused on community policing include the first response compassion team, sector community teams, the BPD Explorers program, and Day of Hope.

Steps to Becoming a BPD Officer

  1. Meet the minimum qualifications for prospective officers (see below).
  2. Take the civil service test at Baltimore Police Department headquarters.
  3. Complete an application.
  4. Pass the physical agility test.
  5. Attend a preliminary interview.
  6. Pass the background check and polygraph exam.
  7. Pass the the psychological and physical/ medical exams.
  8. Complete police academy training.
  9. Begin working as a Baltimore police officer.

How to Become a Baltimore, Maryland Police Officer

The first steps to becoming a police officer in Baltimore, Maryland are to take the civil service exam and complete an application. Next, applicants will undergo extensive testing including a physical fitness test, personal interviews, a polygraph exam, a background investigation, and medical and psychological exams. The final step is a six-month police academy program that prepares cadets for field training, after which recruits will be ready to work independently as officers representing the Baltimore police department.

Baltimore Police Officer Job Description

Baltimore police officers maintain peace and order and uphold the law. They enforce traffic codes and other laws, assist in emergencies, and conduct investigations. They patrol the streets of Baltimore to keep it a safe place to live and work. Recent graduates from the Baltimore police academy are assigned to one of the nine patrol districts within the Neighborhood Patrol Bureau. Neighborhood Patrol units follow a four-day work week, with officers typically working four 10-hour shifts followed by three days off.

Baltimore police officers enjoy working in a challenging but rewarding environment and have many opportunities to advance their careers. After performing successfully in patrol service, officers are eligible for transfer to specialized units. Following three years of service, officers are eligible to take the sergeant's examination to qualify for promotion.

Baltimore Police Officer Training, Prerequisites, and Education Requirements

Applicants to the Baltimore Police Department must be US citizens, have a high school diploma or GED, possess a valid driver's license, and be at least 20 years and 9 months of age at the start of the police academy. Having an associate's or bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field or having military experience can strengthen an individual's competitiveness within the candidate pool. The BPD also offers pay incentives for those who hold a bachelor's degree.

Once conditionally hired, Baltimore police recruits attend 27 weeks of police academy training. Trainees take courses in law and defense tactics and receive training in handling of firearms as well as specialized driver's education focused on how to handle emergency vehicles. After graduating from the police academy, newly sworn officers will be assigned to a patrol district. BPD officers are also afforded opportunities to pursue advanced training in several areas, such as firearms, crime investigation, or advanced defense tactics.

Baltimore Police Officer Salary and Job Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, sworn officers in Baltimore earn an average of $60,970 per year.2 The base salary for first-year police officers is $48,971 per year.3 Applicants who have a bachelor's degree can qualify for a higher starting salary. Regular pay increases are offered based on years of service. All officers receive competitive health insurance benefits, paid vacation, medical leave, and paid overtime.

Contact Information

Twitter: @BaltimorePolice

Baltimore Police Department
242 W 29th St
Baltimore, MD 21211

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What types of Baltimore police jobs are available?

Answer: Officers who perform well in patrol can qualify to transfer to specialized units such as narcotics, SWAT, cyber and electronic crimes, homicide, and many more. After three years as an officer, you will be eligible to take the sergeant's exam to qualify for promotion; an entry-level sergeant's base salary is $76,850 per year.3 After serving two years as a sergeant, you will be eligible to take the exam to become a lieutenant; the base salary for this rank is $88,867 per year.3

Question: What is the difference between the Baltimore City Police Department and the Baltimore County Police Department?

Answer: The officers of the Baltimore city police force are responsible for patrolling and responding to incidents within the city limits of Baltimore and report to the BPD. The city of Baltimore is located within Baltimore County, which has its own separate police force in the Baltimore County Police Department (BCoPD).

Question: What is the average Baltimore city police salary?

Answer: According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, police officers in the greater Baltimore metro area made an average of $60,970 per year as of 2015.2 First-line supervisors of police and detectives, which include the ranks of sergeant and lieutenant, earned an average of $89,210 during the same time period.2

1. Baltimore Police Department:
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Baltimore-Columbia-Towson:
3. Baltimore Police Recruitment:

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