Becoming a police officer is one of the most popular career paths in law enforcement. As there is no unified police exam that is applied all over the US, each state has the right to choose the written exam for its candidates. When you start browsing the job openings, you need to keep in mind that some states have adopted a single police exam for all of their agencies, while others allow each department to select the written exam that they will use.
If you have decided to start your career as a police officer in the state of New Jersey, you need to be prepared to work in the most densely populated state in the country. New Jersey ranks as the fourth smallest state by area but the 11th most populous with a population of 9 million as of 2017. It is also the second-wealthiest U.S. state by median household income as of 2017, which makes it quite attractive as a place for working and living.
Basically, as a police officer candidate in this state, you will be faced with two police exam options – the New Jersey Law Enforcement Exam (LEE) designed by EB Jacobs and the National Criminal Justice Officer Selection Inventory (NCJOSI) designed by I/O Solutions. It is necessary to check with the agency that you are applying with to find out which of the two they use, and then and prepare accordingly. Still, it is better to be prepared for more exam options and apply with several departments as you then stand a better chance of employment.
Below, you can find details about the police officer requirements and details about the police exams administered in New Jersey to help you with your preparation. Make sure that you are aware of how long does it take to become a police officer and that there are no factors that will stop you from becoming a police officer.
New Jersey police officer requirements
Each state sets certain requirements for the prospective police officers. They are some similarities regarding the ability to pass a background investigation, but may differ in terms of age or education, for example.
The state of New Jersey has the following requirements for its police officers:
- EDUCATION: Graduation from high school or vocational high school or possession of an approved high school equivalent certificate.
- AGE: Not less than 18 nor more than 35 years of age at the announced closing date for filing applications for the position. In determining maximum age eligibility of veterans, the time spent in active military service during periods specified in Department of Personnel law and rules will be deducted from the attained age.
- DRIVER’S LICENSE: Appointees will be required to possess a driver’s license valid in New Jersey only if the operation of a vehicle, rather than employee mobility, is necessary to perform the essential duties of the position.
- CITIZENSHIP: Must be a citizen of the United States.
- MEDICAL EXAMINATION: As a prerequisite for an appointment, appointees may be required to pass a thorough medical and psychiatric examination to be administered by the appointing authority. Any psychological, medical or physical condition or defect which would prevent the efficient performance of the duties of the position, cause the appointee to be a hazard to himself/herself or others, or become aggravated as a result of the performance of these duties, will be cause for rejection.
NOTE: Appointees will be required to successfully complete a training program mandated by the New Jersey Police Training Commission within 18 months of appointment.
Make sure that you meet the above-listed requirements before you apply for a police officer. It is also essential to check with the specific department whether there are additional requirements for their department in addition to the minimum requirements set forth by the state..
Types of New Jersey police exam
Candidates for police officers in the state of New Hersey shall be prepared to take the written exams as required by the New Jersey Civil Service Commission or the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP), depending on the department they have chosen.
Most of the major departments and nearly half of the agencies in the state are governed by the New Jersey Civil Service Commission, which administers the New Jersey Law Enforcement Exam (LEE) designed by EB Jacobs. It is the same as the Law Enforcement Aptitude Battery (LEAB) by EB Jacobs in its essence, which is used by many US police departments, such as those in the states of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania.
The smaller police agencies belong to the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP). The official entry exam there is the National Criminal Justice Officer Selection Inventory (NCJOSI) designed by I/O Solutions.
Both of the tests check the readiness of the candidate to become a police officer and perform their duties. Being well prepared for the exam is essential, since the competition is strong and the higher the score you get, the better chances you stand to proceed further with the hiring process. Note that the written exam is quite important but all the other elements of the selection process are essential for you getting hired as a police officer in the state of New Jersey.
The New Jersey Law Enforcement Exam (LEE)
The New Jersey Civil Service Commission has selected the New Jersey Law Enforcement Exam (LEE) for the official written police exam for the agencies under its jurisdiction. The test is created by EB Jacobs and consists of three sections: Ability Test, Work Styles Questionnaire, and Life Experience Survey. The entire exam should be completed for 3 hours and it is recommended that you spend 2 hours on the Ability test and divide the rest of the time to the other two parts. You will be faced with multiple-choice questions and behavioral statements where you have to select the right option for you on a scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Note, that all questions need to be answered.
It is essential to be well-prepared for the LEE in order to pass it with the highest possible score. Here is what to expect in each of the three sections:
- The Ability Test section contains six subsections and a total of 48 multiple-choice questions. it aims to check your reading, writing, and reasoning skills with questions in the following areas:
- Written Expression to test your ability in reading and understanding written words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension to test your ability to write sentences so that others can understand them.
- Problem Sensitivity to tests your ability to tell if something is likely to go wrong or if a situation can deteriorate and needs immediate action.
- Deductive Reasoning to test your ability to apply general rules to specific problems and to react accordingly.
- Inductive Reasoning to test your ability to form general rules or conclusions based on certain information or conclusions.
- Information Ordering to test your ability to arrange things in the correct logical or chronological order following a given rule or pattern.
- The Work Styles Questionnaire is made up of 103 statements that check your motivation, values, and attitudes. You need to select a statement on a rating scale of 1-5 going from strongly agree to strongly disagree that best matches your personality.
- The Life Experience Survey consists of 68 multiple-choice questions that cover your past history and experience.
With the proper preparation, you will get familiar with the exam format and you will be able to pass it with a higher score and qualify for the next phase in the selection process.
The National Criminal Justice Officer Selection Inventory (NCJOSI)
The police departments that are part of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) will require you to take the National Criminal Justice Officer Selection Inventory (NCJOSI). The test is designed by I/O Solutions and comes in two variants and both of them consist of cognitive section and a behavioral section.
The NCJOSI I is shorter and takes about one hour and a half to be completed. The cognitive section covers 45 multiple-choice questions divided into four areas:
- Problem Solving Ability
- Reading Comprehension (or Verbal Comprehension)
- Writing Ability
Its behavioral section includes 42 statements that need to be answered following a five-point agreement scale: Strongly Agree (1); Agree (2); Not Sure (3); Disagree (4); Strongly Disagree (5). You need to select the option that best reflects your opinion, values, attitude.
The NCJOSI II is the longer version that takes two and a half hours to complete. The cognitive section includes 80 multiple-choice questions divided into ten areas:
- Verbal Comprehension
- Verbal Expression
- Problem Sensitivity
- Deductive Reasoning
- Inductive Reasoning
- Information Ordering
- Spatial Orientation
- Selective Attention
- Flexibility of Closure
Its behavioral section includes 120 statements that need to be answered following a five-point agreement scale: Strongly Agree (1); Agree (2); Not Sure (3); Disagree (4); Strongly Disagree (5). You need to select the option that best reflects your opinion, values, attitude.
Note that it is necessary to answer each and every question of the NCJOSI. There is no penalty for a wrong answer, so it is better to guess rather than leave an unanswered question as this will disqualify you.
You cannot tell which version will be chosen for your police exam, hence it is better to be prepared for both of them.
New Jersey State Trooper Exam
If you want to join the New Jersey State Troopers you need to pass the written test battery with flying colors. The test battery features four different types of tests that go through your skills, abilities, attitudes, judgments, and background in order to determine whether you are suitable for a trooper or not.
You will be faced with nearly 110 multiple-choice questions and 165 behavioral statements and it is essential to provide an answer to all of them. You will have four hours to complete the following sections:
- Situational Judgement Test
- Following Policies and Procedures
- Work and School Experiences Form
- Survey of Life Experience
You need to be calm during the test and provide an answer as honestly as possible, especially to the behavioral-testing questions.
Trenton Police Exam
Trenton is the capital of New Jersey and the sixth biggest city in the state. The Trenton Police Department was founded on December 29, 1972, and is the primary law enforcement agency for the city. To protect the citizens, it works in conjunction with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office.
If you want to become a member of the Trenton Police Department, you need to pass the LEE with flying colors.
Newark police exam
Newark is the biggest city in the state of New Jersey and with its population of 283,756 people, it is the second largest city in the New York metro area. The Newark Police Department (NPD) was established in April 1857 and is the largest municipal law enforcement agency in New Jersey. The NPD has 1,300 sworn and civil employees in total and covers 7 precincts and several divisions. There are 8 departments within the agency:
- Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC Board)
- Detective Division
- Internal Affairs Bureau
- Patrol Division
- Records and Communications Bureau
- Special Operations Bureau (Which Includes The Emergency Services Units)
- Taxicab Commission
- Youth and Community Service Bureau
If you want to become a member of the Newark Police Department, you need to pass the LEE.
Jersey City police exam
Jersey City is the second largest city in the state and it is often referred to as the Wall Street West because of its banking and financial powers.
To join the Jersey City Police Department, you need to pass the LEE as a written test and meet the following criteria:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be a resident of Jersey City
- Be 18-35 years of age
- Have a high school diploma or G.E.D.
- Be highly motivated
- Possess a valid NJ driver’s license
- Pass a background investigation
Camden police exam
The Camden County Police Department (CCPD) is the local agency responsible for law enforcement in the city of Camden. It was incorporated in May 2013 and is the successor of Camden Police Department. It employs 400 officers and features several special operations squads including a K-9, SWAT, Tactical Negotiations Unit, and more.
The Camden County exam to take is the NCJOSI but if you want to join the Camden County NJ Sheriff Department you will have to pass the LEE.
To become a police officer in the state of New Jersey, you need to meet the requirements set by the agencies within the state and pass the relevant written exam. Make sure to check if it is the LEE or the NCJOSI, as these are the two police exams in New Jersey, and prepare properly for them.