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Pre-Employment Basic Program

Recruit Morning Formation

Through a partnership with the Rockland Community College, the Rockland County Police and Public Safety Academy offers the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Service Pre-Employment Police Basic Course. This program is often referred to as "Phase One."

Through this program, civilians may apply to attend the Academy as Recruits.  Pre-Employment Recruits attend nearly all of the blocks of instruction that employed Recruits attend except some specific weapons training and topics that are restricted to sworn law-enforcement officers only. Pre-Employment Recruits receive college credit for their academy training.


The program is just under six months long.  Typically, the Basic Course for Police Officers is run twice annually with one session starting in early February and another starting in late August.  Application periods for each class are open for several weeks about three months prior to the class start date, however the Academy runs based on needs of police departments and the start/end dates are subject to change.

The number of spots available for Pre-Employment Recruits varies based on the number of spots that law enforcement agencies reserve.  Some classes have several Pre-Employment spots, others do not have any.

New York State Division of Criminal Justice prerequisite rules state that a prior felony conviction is a specific bar for acceptance to a Pre-Employment Program.  A felony conviction may not be a bar to employment as a police officer, however, as those rules are set by individual employing agencies.  A criminal record consisting of a misdemeanor is not  a specific bar to acceptance to the Pre-Employment Program.

The academy makes efforts to ensure that those granted admission to the program have a high likelihood of gaining employment as a law enforcement officer upon graduation.


Those considering applying for the Pre-Employment program should be aware of the standards New York State has for hiring police officers contained in NYS 9 NYCRR 6000.


District Attorney's Offices must comply with NYS Criminal Law Procedure Article §245.20(1)(k)(iv) which requires the disclosure of information involving eligibility of police officers to testify.  Police Officers must answer questions that are similar to those on this  District Attorney's Model Questionnaire Form. Candidates should review these questions and consider the answers before applying.

Graduates of "Phase One" do not receive a full police certification, they are not authorized to take any police actions and there is no offer or guarantee of an offer of employment upon graduation. Recruits must attest to the receipt of this information by signing the New York State Pre-Employment Police Basic Training Program Student Advisory Notice before attending a Pre-Employment academy.

To achieve a full New York State Basic Police Certification, within two years of graduation a Phase One Recruit must

- be hired by an agency authorized to field police officers and 

- return to any police academy that offers the "Phase Two" Course and

successfully complete Field Training

A student whose "Phase One" certification expires may have to attend a Phase Two plus Refresher Course or repeat the entire program to be eligible for a full Police Certification.


Pre-Employment Basic Program Application Process

The entire application process should be initiated and completed solely by the applicant.

It is inappropriate for family members or friends to be involved in the process in any way.

Applicants should not call the academy to ask for assistance.

Part of the application process includes being able to follow the detailed rules found in the application packet and the state laws referenced on this site.

Academy staff are prohibited by policy from assisting any potential recruit to ensure that the application process is equally fair to all. 

1.  Complete the written application and mail it to the academy.

         The application period for fall 2023 is closed.  The application for spring 2024 will be available here begining on

         October 2nd, 2023 & must be postmarked no later than October 27th, 2023.

         Applications may not be dropped off in person.

2.  Physical Fitness entrance testing will be at the main academy building. 

        The fitness test follows the standards of the New York State Division

        of Criminal Justice Service and consists of age- & gender-adjusted

        scores for sit-ups, push-ups and a 1.5 mile run. 

You can view the standard here and watch the tutorial video

on this page.

- Physical Fitness testing for applicants for the fall 2023 class will be at

10am on Thursday June 22nd, 2023.

- Physical Fitness testing for applicants for spring 2024 class will be at

10am on Wednesday November 22, 2023.

3.  - Candidates for fall 2023 should not expect to hear from the Academy until mid-summer. 

     - Candidates for spring 2024 should not expect to hear from the Academy until late December.

          Candidates who are invited to continue the application process will be directed to submit to drug screening and a                criminal background check performed by a local occupational health lab.  There is a fee for these tests, set by and

           payable directly to the lab. Candidates will also be directed to be fingerprinted by a law enforcement agency.

4.  After passing the drug screening and criminal background check, admissions staff will conduct a deeper background

investigation using the information in the application file as a starting point.  This background may include

an interview process, home and neighborhood visits depending on what the investigation reveals.

Admissions staff will use criteria such as eligibility to take civil service exams such as this one, passing civil service exam scores, previous college-level success, military service, and reference checks, with the physical fitness scores, criminal background check and drug screening when making final admissions decisions.  Applicants who have a high likelihood of gaining employment as a law enforcement officer upon graduation are the most successful.

5.  Successful applicants are issued a tentative acceptance letter and are put in touch with the program's point of contact

at Rockland Community College, who will explain the process for taking an English placement test or having that test requirement waived.

Some applicants may be placed on a Wait List while sponsoring agencies make hiring decisions about recruits.



6.  The Rockland Community College Bursar charges tuition.  You do not pay the academy directly.

Veterans may be eligible for tuition assistance under a variety of programs.  Find out more about them here.

Members of volunteer emergency service organizations may also be eligible for tuition assistance. Find out more about that program here.

7.  Pre-Employment Recruits must supply their own uniforms and equipment.  The list of required items is in the

         registration packet issued with the acceptance letter.

8.  Recruits are expected to know the academy Basic Exercises upon arrival. 

         The Pre-Basic Fitness and Health Guide can be found here.

Police academy courses are held consistent with the needs of hiring agencies. Dates listed are subject to change.

There is no guarantee that future classes of Basic Course for Police Officers

will have any Pre-Employment spots available.

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