The Maine Criminal Justice Academy sets minimum selection standards for law enforcement officers. Individual agencies must meet or exceed these minimum standards. While requirements may vary from agency to agency, typical basic requirements include the following:
- Citizenship Requirement
Agencies often require applicants to be U.S. citizens, or in some cases, permanent resident aliens who have applied for citizenship. We require officers live within 30 miles of the Brunswick Municipal Building within the first 6 months of employment.
- Minimum / Maximum Age Requirement
The Town of Brunswick requires individuals to be 20 with 60 college credits, or 21 with 60 college credits, two years military experience, or law enforcement experience to apply. The maximum age can vary widely. Do not assume that just because you are over 30, your chances of becoming a police officer are over. Some agencies have no maximum age.
- Education Requirement
Most agencies expect officers to have a high school diploma or GED at a minimum. Some agencies require a bachelor’s degree or a minimum number of college credit hours. Others offer additional pay based on educational attainment. Regardless, education beyond high school will only help you in your law enforcement career. Having a four-year degree or an advanced degree is an asset in your career progression, particularly when seeking a promotion or specialized assignment. While criminal justice studies are the traditional route for those aspiring to a career in law enforcement, many other fields provide you with a good foundation. Sociology, psychology, and social work are a few other fields that are particularly well suited for police work.
- Valid Driver’s License
Since most officers start out on patrol, a valid driver’s license is a requirement for any law enforcement position. Your driving history will also be reviewed during the background check.
- Minimum Fitness Requirement
The type and rigor of these requirements vary by agency.
While specific disqualifiers vary from department to department, any of the items listed below may disqualify you from police service. Agencies use their discretion when reviewing past infractions. Some come with a sliding time limit that may adjust based on the severity of the crime. For example, marijuana use once in college 10 years ago might not be disqualifying, but marijuana use 10 days ago probably would. Please keep in mind that departments have different requirements. If you are found to be unsuitable for one department, there may be other departments which find you suitable. Below are some typical disqualifiers:
- Felony conviction (adult or juvenile)
- A misdemeanor conviction involving domestic abuse, a sexual component, or perjury
- Illegal drug use
- Poor driving record (including reckless driving conviction)
- DWI/DUI conviction
- Poor credit history or other financial problems
- Dishonorable discharge from the military
- Inadequate score on the written test
- Poor physical fitness
- Disqualifying medical conditions
- Falsification on the application
- Past or current gang affiliations
- The presence of racial bias in the candidate