Joseph Libowsky,
former Special Agent

Working as a police officer is a desired career path for many people, regardless of their age. If you have a passion to help people and serve your community, one of the best ways to do it is by joining the field of law enforcement. You can decide whether to work in local, state or federal law enforcement depending on your skills and preferences.  

As an aspiring police officer, you are aware that you need to pass a written exam and a series of other tests and checks before you can be employed by the agency you want to work for. What you may not be aware of, is that there is no national standardized police exam applied in the US. Each state and each agency within that state, decides which written exam applicants must take. There are a few states that have approved only one or two different police exams, but there are some states, where more than 4 exams are used by various departments. 

If you have chosen the state of New York for your future employment, you should know what are the requirements and written exams used in that state before you start browsing job openings. Below, you can find details that will be useful for your test preparation and the successful start of your career as a police officer in the state of New York. 

New York police officer requirements  

There are strict requirements for those who want to work in law enforcement and a few things may stop you from becoming a police officer. Therefore, you need to check the requirements of the agency that you are applying with to make sure that you meet the requirements before investing time and effort into trying to get hired. 

For the state of New York, you should know that the minimum training and experience necessary to participate in examinations does vary from location to location. It is necessary to refer to the examination announcement for each agency to determine the minimum qualifications for that department. 

Still, there are several qualifications/standards that have been set forth by Section 58 of the Civil Service Law and the Municipal Police Training Council that must be met in order to participate in an examination for Police Officer/Deputy Sheriff in the state of New York. These include: 

  • Agenot less than 20 at the time of appointment nor more than 35 as of the date of the written examination. It is recommended that candidates be not less than 19 on the date of the exam; 
  • Education: high-school graduate or possession of a high school equivalency diploma; 
  • Physical condition: medical and physical fitness requirements are set by the New York State Municipal Police Training Council and must be met prior to appointment; 
  • ResidencyMunicipal civil service agencies may pose certain residency requirements for candidates in order to participate in law enforcement examinations. You should carefully review the examination announcement to verify if you meet the residency requirements for a particular examination before filing and paying your application fee. Any questions regarding residency must be addressed to the municipal civil service agency that has jurisdiction. 

Note that municipal civil service agencies may establish other additional or higher qualifications than those listed above, so you must closely review the announcement for the examination where you are interested in being employed. 

The age requirement concerning the maximum age of employment of police officers was enacted by the New York State Legislature in April 1999. Section 58 of Civil Service Law was amended to establish a maximum age limit of not more than 35 years of age for provisional or permanent appointment as a competitive class Police Officer or Deputy Sheriff. The maximum age established in Section 58 requires the candidate must not have reached his/her 35th birthday on or before the date of the written examination. The age requirement for Police Officer/Deputy Sheriff in New York State is in conformance with the Federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). 

The only waiver that applies to the maximum age requirement is granted to candidates who are veterans of the armed forces. They may have time spent on military duty, up to a maximum of six years, as defined in Section 243 (10- a) of the Military Law, deducted from their age for purposes of determining whether they meet the age requirement. Beyond this exemption for Veterans, there is no ability for a municipal civil service agency or the New York State Civil Service Commission to provide a waiver to the age requirements. 

Types of New York Police Exams  

The written exam is one of the first steps to your career as a police officer. There are two basic types of New York police exams used in the state: 

You need to score a minimum of 70% for both NYPD and NYS exams in order to pass successfully to the next step of the hiring process.  

There are some other written exam formats that are used by agencies throughout the state and it is always a good idea to double check, which exam you will take. Thus, you will be able to prepare properly and pass the test with flying colors.  

You have the option to prepare for each exam specifically in case you have chosen the agency to apply with and know which test will be used. Still, it is better to apply with multiple departments and in this case, it may be a good idea to prepare in general for the police written exam. You can choose PoliceExam911 as one of the best ways to get familiar with the format of the written test. PoliceExam911 Prep Course is a great way to prepare for a number of the most popular written tests administered within the US and will be of use for any aspiring New York Police Officer.  

New York City Police Exam – NYPD exam 

NYPD is the largest police department not only in the state but in the US as a whole. In order to join their team, you need to pass the NYPD Police Exam. There is a pass threshold of 70% that you need to pass over in order to proceed with the application process. The better the results, the higher the chances you stand to join NYPD.  

It is a good idea to prepare specifically for the exam. To do that, you need to know the test format, the content and type of questions you will face at the day of the test.  

The NYPD test is a computer-based multiple-choice test that has a 2 hour and a half time limit to be completed. The test checks the basic abilities of the candidates to do the job of a police officer and assesses ten competencies: 

  1. Memorization. The memory section of the NYPD exam is considered to be one of the most difficult parts of the test. It will check your ability to memorize details and answer questions related to them. At the test, you will be given a photo to study for ten minutes. You are not allowed to take any notes during that time. Once the time is over, the photo will be taken and you will have to answer several questions related to it, including tiny details. 
  2. Written Comprehension or your reading comprehension. This section checks your ability to read and interpret written text. You will have to read several long passages containing a few paragraphs each. After each passage, there will be several questions that you need to answer based on the information provided in the text. Some of the questions may be related to details in the passage, while others will ask you to choose the statement that best summarizes the content.  
  3. Written expression or your writing abilities, grammar and language knowledge. You will have to complete the sentences by selecting the best word or phrase that matches its content and is grammatically correct. 
  4. Spatial orientation. The level of your directional competency will be tested in this part of the exam. You will be given a map and you need to find the shortest route between two given locations. 
  5. Visualization. This part of the test measures your skills to identify an object, which has been altered or repositioned purposefully. The questions you will have to answer may contain diagrams, charts, human faces, floor plans, geometric shapes, and written passages describing objects.  
  6. Inductive reasoning. You need to prove that you can form rules or conclusions based on particular information. You will be presented with offense classifications and asked to identify what type of crime was committed in each scenario. In some of the cases, you will have to decide which witness statement is accurate or inaccurate.  
  7. Deductive reasoning. This section checks if you are able to apply a rule to a specific problem. The questions include dealing with maps, tables, and picture match-ups. 
  8. Information ordering. You need to show that you can order rules or actions in a sequence. The questions will contain numbers, letters, pictures, math operations, sentences, and procedures. You need to order them logically.  
  9. Problem sensitivity. This part of the test checks your ability to identify a problem and act accordingly. 
  10. Basic math. The so-called number facility on the test includes basic arithmetic and word problems to check your math knowledge.  

NYPD hires only the very best candidates, so it is essential to be very well prepared for the written exam and for the other parts of the hiring process.  

New York State Police Exam – NYS exam  

The majority of New York State Police departments use the New York State (NYS) Civil Service Police Exam. This includes the NYS Troopers and most of the local police and sheriff agencies. 

 As of 2017, the NYS police exam is based on the LEAB-II exam prepared by E.B. Jacobs. the test contains three main sections that aim to assess the candidate’s readiness to perform the duties of a police officer. These are: 

  1. Cognitive Questions that cover four main areas: 
  • Memorizing Written Information 
  • Preparing Writing Material in a Police Setting 
  • Reading Comprehension 
  • Writing Abilities 
  1. Work Style Questionnaire
  2. Life Experience Survey

You can prepare for the test using an online course and the NYS Civil Service Exam Prep is one of the best you can find on the market. Mastering the NYS test will give you a chance to apply to most of the police departments in the state of New York.  

NYS Trooper Police Exam 

If you want to become a NYS trooper you will need to take the New York State (NYS) Civil Service Police Exam. You can also find it listed as the EB Jacobs Law Enforcement Ability Battery Exam or LEAB exam as is the commercial name for this entry-level police written test. 

Buffalo Police Exam 

In order to be a police officer in the City of Buffalo, you may need to take the Buffalo Entry-Level Police Examination (BELPE) provided by I/O Solutions. The department has already posted the next call to all prospective candidates who want to work in the city. You can get all the details about the hiring process on the department website. Make sure to contact them if you feel uncertain about any requirement they may have. Currently, the Buffalo Police Department consists of more than 800 sworn and non-sworn personnel.  

Rochester Police Exam 

The police department in Rochester uses the New York State (NYS) Civil Service Police Exam to recruit its members. Currently, the Rochester Police Department (RPD) employs 870 sworn and non-sworn employees. RPD is accredited through the New York State Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. The department consists of three Bureaus: Operations, Administration, and Community Affairs.  

Yonkers Police Exam 

City of Yonkers Police Department distributes the New York State (NYS) Civil Service Police Exam to its candidates. The YPD is the largest municipal police department in Westchester County. It has four precincts and a number of specialized units. The YPD is a NYS Accredited Law Enforcement Agency. 

Syracuse Police Exam 

Syracuse Police Department selects its new police officers among those who pass successfully the New York State (NYS) Civil Service Police Exam. The department was formed in 1848 and currently, Syracuse Police Department has more than 425 members and serves a population of approximately 143,000. 

Albany Police Exam 

The Albany Police Department uses the New York State (NYS) Civil Service Police Exam as a written exam for its aspiring police officers. The Albany Police Department is divided into four bureaus which are accountable to the Office of the Chief of Police:  

  • Administration Bureau 
  • Uniform Bureau 
  • Criminal Investigations Bureau 
  • Support Services Bureau 

The Department is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies and certified by the State of Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. APD is dedicated to a “Community Oriented Policing” philosophy and maintains a high level of cooperation with the community.  

Note that each NY County is very selective in hiring new police officers and exams happen once in a few years. So, you need to make sure that you are well prepared for the written exam that the agency you will be applying with is using. Getting a higher score enhances your chances of joining the department and hopefully, the information above will help you get prepared better and faster for the New York police exam regardless of its type.