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 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.

Only 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. Employers must file a Certification of Employment form (DCJS - 2214-a) with OPS. Peace officers who successfully complete the course are eligible to receive a Basic Course for Peace Officers with Firearms certificate.

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. Increases in the number of hours required were as follows: July 1, 1963 - 120 hours; January 1, 1967 - 240 hours; July 1, 1971 - 285 hours; January 1, 1986 - 400 hours; July 9, 1988 - 440 hours; August 5, 1991 - 445 hours; 1997 - 510 hours; September 27, 2006 - 635 hours; November 5, 2008 - 639 hours; and March 13, 2013 – 649.

DCJS provides administrative oversight for police officer basic training in New York State. OPS staff reviews curricula submitted by law enforcement agencies and academies to ensure that each course meets or exceeds the minimum standard for topics and hours established by the Municipal Police Training Council (MPTC). Staff also ensures that each instructor is appropriately certified to teach in the program. OPS staff also provides technical assistance to agencies and academies upon request, and verifies program compliance through site visits. The Basic Course for Police Officers Curriculum currently consists of a minimum of 649 hours. The curriculum is available on-line in the Publications and Forms section.