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Getting Hired

Is NPD a civil service Department?

No. We left civil service in 2005.

Do I need to take a written test to be hired as an officer?

No. We stopped requiring a written test in 2016.

Are there any age restrictions for new officers?

Candidates must be at least twenty-one (21) at date of hire but younger than thirty-seven (37).

Are there any physical disqualifiers for new officers?

Candidates must pass the medical examination before participating in the Physical Abilities Test (PAT).  Candidates then must pass the state-mandated PAT test.  After completing the PAT, candidates need to pass a Physical Fitness Test.  The Municipal Police Training Committee requires that all potential student officers who intend to enter a full-time police academy first pass a physical fitness test.  The fitness test includes four components: push-ups, planking, a 1.5 mile run, and a 300-meter sprint.  All student officers must meet the 30th percentile of the Cooper Aerobics Institute's norms, with requirements established for different ages and genders.

Do I need to be a Northampton resident?

No. In accordance with Chapter 41, Section 99A, candidates must establish residency within fifteen (15) miles of the limits of the City of Northampton within one (1) year from the date of appointment.

Is there an educational requirement?

Yes. Candidates must have completed an Associate's degree or attained an equivalent number of credits (60) toward a Bachelor's degree at an accredited institution of higher learning prior to the date of hire or have receipt of an honorable discharge or released under honorable conditions after two (2) years of uninterrupted military service (presentation of DD-214 military discharge at time of application), and requirement to be actively enrolled at an accredited college or university, attaining at least twelve (12) credits annually until completion of Associate's degree requirements.  This requirement would commence upon the successful completion of the department's Field Training and Evaluation Program.

I have a college degree but it is not in criminal justice.  Will I be hired?

Many of our officers have degrees in different areas of study.  We have found that there is great value in different types of college degrees including business, education, psychology, math, sociology, and many more.  We value education and encourage everyone who is interested in policing, to apply, regardless of their area of study in college.

Do you accept lateral transfers from other agencies?

Yes!  People who are working or who have worked full-time for another police agency should complete the application.  The hiring process is similar, but the interview is modified and the PAT is not required.  Also, the length of the Field Training program may be shortened based on demonstrated knowledge and abilities.

How do I apply?

It’s easy!  Click on “Apply Now” on the left side of this screen and complete our online application.  Fill it in, upload your resume and cover letter, hit submit, and that’s it!

How long does the hiring process take?

It can take anywhere from about 2-6 months, depending on when the next academy starts.  The local MPTC academy usually holds classes twice a year.  When we’re hiring officers who have not completed a part-time of full-time academy, we have to wait for the academy to start before we can hire a new recruit.

I have completed the part-time academy.  Can I start working now?

Candidates who have completed the part-time academy may qualify for a waiver from the MPTC that would allow the candidate to start working before the full-time academy begins.  In these cases, we usually hire the officer, they move through the Field Training Program, and then they go to the full-time academy.

Benefits, Salary, Retirement

What is the salary range for new officers?

Under the current contract (FY23-25), the patrol officer salary range is $52,492  to $71,677 (FY24).  Officers receive twelve (12) paid holidays annually.

What are the vacation and sick time benefits?

Officers with one (1) year but less than 5 receive 14 vacation days annually.  Officers with five (5) years but less than 10 receive 21 vacation days annually.  Officers with ten (10) year and over receive 28 vacation days annually. 

All regular full-time employees accumulate up to fifteen (15) working days (120 hours) per year.

What is the health insurance benefit?

Under the current contract, the City pays 80% of a full-time employee's health insurance.

Will I make more money if I have a college degree?

Yes!  Officers are also eligible to participate in the Educational Incentive Program. Officers with applicable degrees earn the following amounts annually (1/2 paid in June and 1/2 paid in December) in addition to their base salary:

Associate's Degree:  $5,000
Bachelor's Degree:  $9,000
Master's Degree:  $11,000

Applicable degrees must be in one of the following subject areas: public administration, sociology, criminal justice, psychology, forensic science, computer science with a concentration in forensic computer science, law enforcement, or political science. 

Officers who have a degree at any level in a subject area that is not in the previously identified areas of study, earn $2,500 annually.  Each Officer's degree is subject to review by the Chief of Police and the Director of Human Resources.

The Police Academy

How long is the police academy?

It is about 26-weeks.

What academy will I attend?

There are MPTC police academies across the state, but the closest to us is in Holyoke.  The majority of NPD recruits attend the Holyoke academy.

What is the academy schedule?

Most academy training occurs during the daytime, Monday through Friday.

Do I have to sleep at the academy?


Do I have to pay for the academy?

No. We pay the tuition and cover the cost of equipment.

Do I get paid while I attend the academy?

Yes. Recruits are full-time employees of the City of Northampton and earn a Student Officer salary.

Field Training

What is Field Training?

Field Training is the on the job training that occurs just after an officer graduates from the police academy.  New recruits are paired with veteran officers who ride with them and help them learn how to apply their academy training to the job.

How long is field training?

For new officers the Field Training program typically takes 14-weeks.  Some officers take a little more time if they need remedial training in specific areas.


What hours will I have to work?

We have three patrol shifts at NPD:  days, evenings, and nights.  During field training new officers will move onto different shifts with their Field Training Officers.  After completing field training and depending on the time of year, officers will be temporarily placed onto a shift.  Calendar year shifts are signed each fall.  At that time all officers will select their shifts based on seniority in the department.  Many new officers spend their first few years on the midnight shift.

Can I work as a part-time police officer for NPD?

No. Our Special Police Officers are former full-time police officers.  We do not hire new officers for part-time positions.

Is there a way to skip patrol and go directly to a specialty unit?

No. All officers start as general patrol officers and, over time and based on performance, will have opportunities to participate in specialized assignments.  We have a lot of specialized opportunities and some officers participate in these after only a few years on the job.

What kind of specialty units are there?

We have a Detective Bureau and officers working in this area transition out of patrol and into the Bureau.  We also have a Bike Patrol Unit that works alongside the rest of our patrol force.  We have other specialty assignments that officers work, in conjunction with their other duties.  These include: Field Training Officer, Crime Scene Services technician, Firearms Instructor, Defensive tactics Instructor, CPR/First Responder Instructor, Small Unmanned Aircraft (drone) pilot, DART officer, LGBTQ Liaison Officer, and many more.