BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore is in need of new police officers. A growing city and greater scrutiny of law enforcement has made entry into the department selective and demanding. Kai Jackson has inside access to the recruiting process.

The Baltimore City police department is looking for a few good men and women.

“The goal is to prepare these men and women to be the best police officers we can possibly make them,” said Baltimore City Police Lt. Alonzo Moreland.

And they allowed WJZ to get a glimpse into their world by sampling the process of becoming a cop.

There are roughly 3,000 officers on the force. The number they recruit each year varies, depending upon things like retirement and need but it could be anywhere from 30 to 300 candidates. The starting salary is just over $41,000. To get your badge, you first have to pass a background check.

Police tell Eyewitness News in 2010, nearly 3,000 men and women applied to be city cops, but for some reason, many just didn’t make the cut. The brass tells us the problem isn’t finding applicants. Their problem is finding qualified applicants.

“I think essentially you want someone of good character,” Moreland said.

Then there’s a battery of tests. First, there’s a civil service exam.

“I think that’s the only mentality we should have is get the best on the street,” said recruit Patrick McCarthy.

Next, applicants must pass a grueling physical training, or PT test. WJZ spent the day with recruit class #1103. The training is physically and mentally demanding; teamwork is the only way to succeed.

Once cadets are in the academy, they also have to pass a driving test.

“This is a simulated training too that we use to educate our officers about scenario-based training, decision-making,” said firearms instructor Sgt. Sean Brown.

And all candidates and current cops must qualify to use a weapon. But commanders say a cop’s greatest weapon isn’t in a holster.

“Listen, this is a tool. That’s all this is. This is your true weapon. We really push that,” said range master Lt. John Cromwell.

“The reading, the studying. The expectations are definitely high,” said police cadet Jomari Crespo.

Wednesday, Eyewitness News will see what happens when officers will have to make split-second decisions on the street.

The Baltimore City Police Department requires applicants to have at least a high school diploma or GED. To learn more about how to join, click here.

Comments (9)
  1. matt says:

    I applied for the Baltimore police department years ago. Never did drugs, dont drink alcohol, no criminal background and have a 4 year degree. I passed every test be it physical, written or psychological. Passed the lie detector and my background check came back clean. I was denied entrance to the department for some unknown reason. Baltimore deserves what they get with every poor candidate they hire.

    1. Wiseguy says:

      Don’t you get it….Thats the problem..Never did drugs, dont drink alcohol, no criminal background and have a 4 year degree. I passed every test be it physical, written or psychological. Passed the lie detector and my background check came back clean.

      You need to fail a few of those things to get hired by the BCPD.

    2. John says:

      How funny the same happened to me I passed everything, have great credit, no criminal record have college, passed lie detector test and all requirements. I had so much to offer I speak fluent english, Portuguese and spanish. I was expecting a letter telling me when I would start the academy instead it was a Denial entrance letter I wrote back requesting a explanation as the letter said you could appeal the decision and request a reason in writting when I did they sent back a letter saying that the decision will remain unchanged and never gave me a reason as they said they would. There recruitment efforts are a JOke, Than I see on TV cops that being charged with staling and corruption what those that say for there selection process. I am happy to say that I now am a full time 7yr FEDERAL Employee, making more than I would ever make being a Cop on the street of baltimore. Who ever decided to not take me made a huge mistake for the department and a great deed for me. My Life is good. Word of Advice you will do better applying for Baltimore County Police instead of the City because the city selecting process is a big Joke.

  2. Horace Rice says:

    To; kai Jackson, My name is Horace Rice. I live in South Euclid, Ohio. The reason I’m writing you. I have a Nephew, who I haven’t been able to contact tover a year. I contacted the Baltimore City Police. They said,”do to priviacy laws “, they were not any help. His name is Donn Rice, he has daughter name Jessica,sorry I can remember her married name. He at one time live on the end of Chase Street off Chester Street. There is a possibility he is in jail? I really do’t know. He is going on 61 years old. He just dope out sight. Thank you.

    1. Joan says:

      LOL what is this? Why are you commenting on an article? Contact the station, but why do you think Kai Jackson could help you with this? I am confused.

  3. RavenLude says:

    BPD turned me down during the same era they hired……the offduty/drunk cop that killed the marine outside a bar and the ring leader puerta rican of the recent tow scheme. years later another agency took me and ive had a solid career w/ a clean record (for almost a decade now). no sympathy for the BPD “cant find qualified applicants” statement. the city politicians and police department have done this to themselves and can only thank each other.

  4. love says:

    They only take the ones who help them corrupt the citys and countys.

  5. Trueblue says:

    Don’t hate because you were not able to get in. Apparently the BCPD saw garbage when you all came through the door. Even though they don’t catch every bad apple they catch quite a few and you were one of those apples.

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