Division of Criminal Justice Services

Basic Course for Police Officers

Basic training is often considered to be the most important learning experience that a police officer completes during his or her career. The conventional method of basic training for sworn municipal police officers in New York State began following passage of Chapter 446 of the Laws of 1959, which mandated the training. Typically, in the State of New York, police officers are appointed and attend the Basic Course for Police Officers (BCPO) at a regional academy. A typical course consists of a mix of police officers from a variety of police departments and sheriff's offices in that region of the state. It’s also common for large agencies to operate their own academy.

Appointed police officers who are registered with DCJS by their employing agencies are eligible to receive certificates of completion for the Basic Course for Police Officers.

The Basic Course for Police Officers has undergone a continual evolution since it was first established. When mandated effective July 1, 1960, the Basic Course for Police Officers consisted of a minimum standard of 80 hours of instruction in specified areas. The current BCPO consists of a minimum standard of over 700 hours established by the Municipal Police Training Council (MPCT). Staff routinely reviews the content of the Basic Course for Police Officers to ensure that the material remains relevant to criminal justice issues and best prepares officers to serve their communities. Today’s Basic Course for Police Officers covers a wide range of topics including but not limited to, Ethics & Professionalism, Cultural Diversity, Bias Related Incidents, Professional Communication, Persons with Disabilities, Crisis Intervention, Use of Physical Force & Deadly Force, Active Shooter Response and Decision Making. Today’s police recruits are also mandated to complete numerous Reality Based Training Scenarios to better prepare them for the situations they will encounter on the job.