In an effort to address ongoing recruitment struggles, New York State is taking steps to bolster its pool of state police applicants by expanding the agency’s eligibility criteria.
Notably, the maximum age to apply to become a state trooper has been raised from 29 to 34, with the aim of cultivating a more diverse and skilled force.
New York State Police (NYSP) Technical Sergeant and Recruiter Rhania Traore expressed her enthusiasm for the job. “I can tell you that this is a great career.”
Traore, who joined the NYSP seven years ago following her service with the Army National Guard, said she was inspired to join the profession after witnessing firsthand how military and law enforcement personnel prevented many causalities amid civil war in West Africa, where she grew up as a child.
While some may view law enforcement as a thankless and dangerous job, Traore believes it to be a rewarding profession centered around assisting people.
“A lot of candidates have lost interest in law enforcement, I feel, mostly because all they see or what they think is policing is about pulling people over and writing tickets. But it is way more than that,” she said. “It is about helping people.”
Traore noted that changing the age requirements could open up opportunities for individuals who may be looking for a career change, particularly veterans who have aged out of military service.
To apply for the NYSP, candidates must be at least 20 years old, hold U.S. citizenship, possess a high school diploma and successfully complete an entrance exam.
Those who meet the requirements undergo rigorous training at the academy in Albany, which spans six months and includes exams based on vehicle and traffic law, penal law and criminal procedural law.
To further enhance recruitment efforts, the state is doubling the number of classes to four and has recently revised its tattoo policy, allowing candidates with tattoos to conceal them with long-sleeved shirts, thereby expanding eligibility.
Traore expressed confidence that these initiatives will effectively attract a wider range of applicants and help recruit future generations of NYS troopers.
“In the past, the tattoo couldn’t be visible from the elbow down, but now you can conceal those tattoos with a long-sleeved shirt. I get to speak to people of different background and just introducing them to the agency I’ve worked for seven years,” she added. “It’s been a great experience.”
Applications for the NYSP are currently being accepted, and entrance exams will be conducted until September. For those interested in applying, more information can be found at joinstatepolice.ny.gov.