In-Service Training Site
Homeland Security Partners
Frequently asked questions about police and corrections training.
Q1. I want to pursue a career as a police, state corrections or probation/parole officer in New Hampshire. How can I enroll in the police academy or the corrections academy?
A1. Neither Academy accepts tuition students. To attend the police academy you must be hired by a state, local or county law enforcement agency in New Hampshire. Your employer will then send you to the Academy. All associated costs are borne by the State and your employer. To attend the New Hampshire Corrections Academy, you must first be hired by the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, and all costs are borne by the agency and by the State.
Q2. What happens when I complete the Academy?
A2. You are certified by the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council as a full-time or part-time police officer or corrections officer, as applicable.
Q3. How long after I am hired, do I have to become certified?
A3. You must attend and successfully complete the training course within 6 months of your date of hire.
A4. No serious criminal or motor vehicle record, good credit history, pass a background investigation, fingerprint check, a psychological evaluation, a medical exam by a licensed health professional, and a physical fitness test.
A5. The physical fitness tests are based on the Cooper Aerobics Institute standards. For the Full-time Police Officer Academy you must pass at least the 35th percentile on both the entrance and exit tests. The Part-time Officer Academy and Law Package Students must pass at least the 35th percentile on the entrance test (there is no exit test). Decided on November 15, 2016, the Corrections Officer Academy will pilot for at least one year a 20th percentile entrance test with a 35th percentile exit.
Q6. Must I maintain an ongoing level of physical fitness after graduating from the Academy?
A6. Yes, you must pass a medical exam and physical fitness test every 3 years, throughout your career, in order to maintain your certification.
Q7. How stringent is the medical examination?
A7. It generally requires you to be in good overall physical health, with no conditions that would prevent you from fulfilling the essential functions of a police or corrections officer.
Q8. What are some of those essential functions?
A8. You must be able to physically subdue resisting individuals, including someone bigger and stronger than you or multiple aggressors; engage in a foot chase of a fleeing suspect; run up and down flights of stairs; lift and carry injured individuals; push a stalled vehicle; change a vehicle’s tire and install the spare; accurately fire a pistol, revolver, shotgun and rifle; drive an automobile safely at high speeds and under adverse conditions; remain calm and use good judgment under extraordinary fear and stress; give verbal commands; read and interpret laws and complex instructions; hear instructions over and operate a police radio; have adequate keyboarding skills to operate a personal laptop computer; write legible and well-organized reports; search persons and apply handcuffs; utilize a police baton and defensive spray; develop and maintain friendly and cooperative relationships with fellow officers, supervisors and the public; see and hear well enough to hear orders and instructions despite background noise; detect expired vehicle registration decals and inspections stickers on moving vehicles at a distance; have sufficient color vision to distinguish colors of vehicles, wires on explosive devices, etc; see well enough to accurately fire a weapon if your glasses or contacts became dislodged in a struggle; have sufficient night vision to safely drive at high speed, fire a weapon in dim light conditions; be free from a debilitating disease; and assume a professional, paramilitary appearance and demeanor in uniform.
Q9. What are the minimum visual acuity standards?
A9. All candidates shall have binocular vision and near vision of not worse than 20/40 corrected binocular. Corrected distance vision shall be at least 20/30 in the weaker eye and shall be for both eyes together.
Q10. What are the minimum hearing standards?
A10. The candidate shall have unaided hearing in both ears sufficient to perform essential tasks without posing a direct threat to themselves or others. An acceptable test is a whispered conversation at 15 feet or, preferably, using an audiometer, the candidate shall have no average loss of 25 or more decibels at the 500, 1000, 2000 and 3000 Hertz (Hz) levels in either ear with no single frequency loss in excess of 40.
Q11. What if I have high blood pressure?
A11. Resting blood pressure shall be less than, or equal to, 150mmHG systolic and 95mmHg diastolic, on three successive readings. (If the candidate has controlled hypertension not exceeding the above standard and is on medication with side effect profiles which do not interfere with performance of duty, then the condition may not be excludable.)
Q12. What if I have diabetes?
A12. A case-by-case assessment as to the control of diabetes and presence and severity of symptoms and complication shall be required. Disqualifiers may include recurrent episodes of hypoglycemia, ketoacidosis, or any other diabetes-related complications. Insulin dependence requires a specific medical waiver from a qualified physician as approved by the employer and Council, to indicate no limitations on the candidate’s physical activities, minimal to no danger of diabetic reaction, etc.
Q13. What if I have some other physical disability or impediment?
A13. The hiring agency, in conjunction with the Council, will consider your disability on a case-by-case basis, and decide whether (1) it is in fact a disability and (2) whether, with reasonable accommodation, you can fully participate in the required training at the academy and then perform the essential functions of a police or state corrections officer, as applicable.
Q14. I have a particular medical problem or disability. Who can I ask to determine if I can be hired or allowed to attend the Academy?
A14. The Council will not speculate or give off-the-cuff opinions on these matters. If you apply and are hired and there is any question, we will, at that point, look at your situation on a case-by-case basis, referring to our Medical Review Board for a recommendation if necessary.
Q15. What standards must I meet, or test must I pass, in order to be hired?
A15. New Hampshire criminal justice agencies are free to, and are encouraged to, set higher standards for their departments than the Council statewide minimums. For example, some departments require that you pass a polygraph (lie detector) test, a written test, assessment center, oral interview, etc.
Q16. How long is the Academy?
A16. The New Hampshire Police Academy is currently a 16 week residential academy. The environment is paramilitary in nature and you will be subject to military discipline – marching, saluting, etc. Your day will begin at 5:30 a.m. with physical fitness training and “lights out” will occur at 9:30 p.m., after study time. You will go home Friday night and return Monday morning, but most recruits spend substantial time studying at home on weekends. The Corrections Academy is 9 weeks non-residential (commuter school) and the discipline is more relaxed but still has paramilitary elements.
Q17. How difficult is the Academy curriculum?
A17. Your training will consist of academic subjects such as criminal code and constitutional law; practical subjects such as human relations; and physical skills subjects such as defensive tactics, emergency driving, and firearms. The tests consist both of written test and practical skills demonstrations such as driving and firearms qualifications. The minimum passing grade is 70%, and you must pass every subject in order to graduate, not just have an overall average of 70% or better.
Q18. What about a career in County Corrections?
A18. By law, the Council does not train or certify County Correction's personnel. They are trained and certified by the New Hampshire Association of Counties.
Q19. I am a certified out-of-state officer. Can I be hired in New Hampshire without going through the entire Academy?
A19. If you are currently serving as a certified, academy-trained, full-time police officer in another state, you may be eligible to have some subjects waived in our Academy and only attend the “New Hampshire Law Package” training, and pass tests on these modules. You still must meet all the pre-hiring and background investigation requirements, pass the medical and psychological exams and the physical fitness test. You will also be required to pass the on-going physical fitness test every 3 years to maintain your New Hampshire certification. We are reciprocal with all other states in the US and recognize their training if it is at least equal in scope to ours. Any classes you did not have in your state of origin, you may be required to take in our Academy. If our analysis of your out-of-state training requires you to take the equivalent of 30% or more of our total Academy hours, you will be required to attend our entire Academy. NOTE: The Corrections Academy is not reciprocal with any other state, and you must take the entire 9-week course here, if you move in from another state. Also some New Hampshire police departments, as a matter of their own policy, will require you to complete the entire New Hampshire Police Academy.
Q20. I am a civilian police or corrections employee, must I attend an academy?
A20. Civilian employees of the New Hampshire Department of Corrections attend the Corrections Academy alongside corrections officers because they too have a responsibility for security within the prisons. They are given diplomas upon completion (but not certified) and are exempt from firearms training and their training in physical fitness and defensive tactics is less stringent than that of the corrections officers. There is no physical fitness entrance requirement for civilian corrections personnel. Civilian police personnel are not trained or certified by the Council.
Q21. Are police communications dispatchers required to be certified in New Hampshire?
A21. Not through PTSC.
Q22. What ongoing training is required, once an officer is certified, to maintain their certification?
A22. Police officers must complete at least 8 hours a year of ongoing training (exclusive of firearms qualification, first aid and CPR certificate renewal, and defensive tactics refreshers). The training topic can be any topic the agency head deems relevant, but may not be the same topic every year.
Q23. What is the annual firearms qualification requirement?
A23. Each officer who is issued or allowed to carry firearms must qualify on the range or a Council approved course under the supervision of a Council-certified firearms instructor with each firearm he or she is permitted to carry. The training must also include at least 4 hours of use of force training.
Q24. Must my agency use the Council’s standard firearms qualification course?
A24. Yes, unless you obtain the written approval of the Director of Police Standards and Training for an alternative course of fire that he deems at least equal to the Council’s standard course.
Q25. Can a police or corrections officer have his or her certification revoked or suspended?
A25. Yes. An officers certification can be suspended or revoked by the Council if he or she is convicted of a crime (including certain violation-level offenses such as DWI); or if he or she is fired or allowed to resign in lieu of firing for serious misconduct; or for failure to comply with mandatory Council training requirement; or filing false or fraudulent documentation; or for other egregious misbehavior. We are not an “internal affairs” agency. We normally rely on the hiring agency or the Public Integrity Section of the Attorney General’s Office for investigation and bringing cases to us.
Q26. What happens when an officer is decertified?
A26. That officer cannot again serve as a sworn police or corrections officer in New Hampshire unless and until the Council has voted to reinstate the officer. The officer’s name is also posted to a national database of decertified officers.
Q27. Once an officer resigns or retires, how long is it before his or her certification lapses?
A27. 30 days. After that, the Council determines eligibility for recertification. Generally if no more than 2 years has elapsed and there is nothing in the officer’s background to prevent it, that officer can be recertified without additional training. Between 2 - 3 years, officers will generally be required to complete the NH Law Package the same as an officer coming from out of state, plus any skills courses that the Council deems should be refreshed and any new topics that have been added to the academy curriculum. After 3 years, he or she will be required to attend the entire academy.
Q28. What is a part-time police officer and what training is required from them?
A28. A part-time police officer is one who receives a certification that limits him or her to 1300 hours a year of police work (not including training time and court attendance, but including any administrative time and paid details). Part-time police officers must attend a part-time officer academy run by the Council, which includes 200 hours of training typically done on Tuesday/Thursday Nights and Saturdays.
Q29. What are the hiring requirements for part-time officers?
A29. They are the same as for full-time officers.
Q30. How do I determine who is hiring police or corrections officers, and how do I contact them?
A30. There is no statewide civil service system in New Hampshire. The best way to determine who is hiring is to check the “help wanted” ads in the newspapers. The New Hampshire State Police, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, the county sheriffs and the town and city police departments do their own hiring and recruiting. The Community College System of NH also currently does regional testing at colleges such as River Valley, Great Bay and NHTI - Concord's Community College. Other colleges may or will offer those services as well.
Q31. I want access to information from a police or corrections officer’s file with the Council. What should I do?
A31. Educational records are private information under the federal Buckley Amendment. You need to submit either a written waiver from the officer whose data you wish to access, or a valid court order.
Q32. What if I want copies of the academy curriculum or tests?
A32. To the extent that making public any of the curriculum that describes police tactics and might jeopardize officer safety, this is privileged information. Any such request should be directed to the Director of Police Standards and Training for a legal determination as to what is releasable. Copying costs would be billed in advance for anything that can be provided.
Q33. I would like to hold an event at the New Hampshire Police Training Facility. What should I do?
A33. Generally speaking, our facility is over scheduled and rooms are booked more than a year in advance.
When the facility is available, the following rules apply. The event must be in a demonstrated public interest, not inimical to the interest of law enforcement, the applicant must pay for such janitorial services as the Director requires at a premium daily rate, and pay a room rental fee. Alcoholic beverages and smoking are strictly prohibited. Inquiries to use the facility must be submitted in writing to Director Donald L. Vittum, Donald.L.Vittum@pstc.nh.gov
Inquiries to use the facility must be submitted in writing to Director Donald L. Vittum, Donald.L.Vittum@pstc.nh.gov
©2016 NH Police Standards and Training Council