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Become a Cambridge Police Officer

Cambridge Police

Few careers offer more opportunities for self-fulfillment than service as a police officer. Our officers play a vital role in maintaining safety and welfare in the City of Cambridge, but understand that law enforcement is a service career at its core. Policing is as much about helping people and maintaining and enhancing quality of life as it is about enforcing laws.

Here at the Cambridge Police Department, community policing is part of our culture and one that views community engagement, rather than response to specific crimes or incidents, as the core of our police work. Many of the issues our officers face are community problems in need of a solution often best achieved outside of the criminal justice system. This is reflected in our nationally renowned Safety Net Collaborative and Community Court Sessions, as examples. By hearing and understanding the causes of community concern, dedicated and compassionate officers find workable, sustainable, and cost-effective resolutions to issues as minor as a noise disturbance or as complex as a mass protest. Our officers are often viewed as partners in continual touch with the communities they serve. This requires officers who are adept at fostering relationships and building connections between people and groups. Officers should come prepared to think and solve problems with a broad community and be connected with the community in a way that facilitates their ability to collect, analyze, and share critical information and resources.


Policing is a job that will bring out the best in you and offer you exciting and challenging opportunities. It is one of the few careers where you can truly make a difference in the community and in someone's life. While it comes with serious responsibilities, the reward is having a job that really counts, particularly here in Cambridge.

Important Dates

  • The next exam period is March 16, 2024, through March 30, 2024. The application deadline is January 16, 2024, but may be extended depending on the number of candidates.

  • We have introduced a new Police Cadet Program. The two-year paid program is geared for high school graduates (ages 18-23) interested in pursuing a career in policing and gaining insight and experience into the Cambridge Police Department's community policing model.

  • Visit https://www2.cambridgema.gov/jobopenings.cfm for current non-sworn job openings or lateral transfer position opportunities

  • Contact personnel@cambridgepolice.org if you have any questions about joining the Cambridge Police Department.

Learn More & FAQs


Examination Process



The state typically holds a civil service exam every year to become an officer. The next exam period is March 16, 2024, through March 30, 2024, but may be extended depending on the number of candidates. The current application period opened November 23, 2023.  
To become a police officer, you need to first take a written test. You also need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 19 years of age on the date of the exam.*
  • You need to have a high school diploma or a GED certificate. You can also satisfy this requirement with three years of military service and an honorable discharge.
  • To claim residency preference, you must be a Cambridge resident (lived in the city) at least one year before the date of your exam. Please see the below for those active in the military. 
  • You must meet minimum fitness requirements. A fitness test measures a candidate’s overall level of fitness through structured activities that assess strength, endurance, and cardiovascular health. With enough training and determination, anyone can achieve success.

* You can take the written exam when you turn 19, but you won't be considered for a position until you turn 21.

Inside Cambridge Police Patrol Car

Military Residency Preference

For military personnel who were on full-time active duty during any part of or the entire 12-month period required to establish residency in Cambridge, you may still be eligible to claim residency preference if you meet the following conditions:

  • You must have served a period of full-time military active duty (for which you received or will receive a DD214) during any part of the 12 month period. 
  • You must have been a Massachusetts Resident at the time of entry into full-time active duty or your Home of Record on your DD214 for this period of active duty must be a city or town in Massachusetts.
  • See more at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/residency-preference.


To register to take the civil service exam to become a police officer, you need to create an account online. The state's website has more information about the Civil Service exam.

Civil Service Application

The early application fee for the exam is $75 and the late application date fee is $125. You can pay on the state’s website with a credit or debit card. 

Fee Waiver

The exam fee may be waived for candidates receiving certain state or federal public aid, or unemployment insurance. You can find fee waiver forms in the applicant forms section of the state's website. The examination information hotline is 617-878-9895. You can also visit https://www.mass.gov/service-details/exam-fee-waiver-form

Full-Time Lateral Transfers

On occassion, the Cambridge Police Department will seek highly motivated, community-oriented police officers to fill lateral transfer positions. To learn more about a vacancy, please visit the City's Job Posting page



To prepare for the exam, you can study the state’s guide for the police officer exam. Also watch our Information Session in the above video. During this session, you will learn about the entrance examination process, physical abilities test, interview experience, and academy training to assist you in becoming a Cambridge Police Officer.



To secure your spot for a future seminar, please e-mail personnel@cambridgepolice.org. Participants will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. On the day of the seminar, you will be required to provide proof of Cambridge residency. 

The state will email you a notice with the date of the test. It's a good idea to show up early. You can also bring your own number 2 pencils for the exam.

Apply During Open Hiring Period:

If you pass the exam, you'll be able to apply to the Cambridge Police Department during an open police recruiting period.



We take candidates based on the list created by the state. You can find where you landed on the list through the state’s website.

If you're selected as a potential candidate, the Cambridge Police Department's Office of Personnel will contact you by email. Officials will contact you through the same email address you used to register for the exam.


As a candidate to become an officer, you’ll have to fill out an extensive application packet. You’ll also have to complete:

  • a background check
  • a drug test, and
  • an interview with the Professional Standards Unit, Commissioner, Superintendents and Director of Personnel.
At this point, you may receive a conditional offer to continue with the process. You'll need to complete medical and psychological exams. You'll also have to pass the Civil Service Administration’s Physical Abilities Test (PAT). The state's website has more information on the physical test.


If you pass the physical test, we then review your application and rank on the list. You may then receive an invitation to attend a formal orientation, and a final offer letter and invitation to become an officer in the Police Academy.


The new Cambridge-Northeastern Police Academy is a paid, 20-week program. You'll take part in:

  • rigorous physical challenges
  • tactical training, and
  • classroom activities.

How can you train for the physical challenges? We suggest using the Massachusetts Police Training Committee's standard for fitness as a benchmark. 


After completion of the academy and a welcoming ceremony at the City of Cambridge, officers will then enter a multi-week field training program at the Cambridge Police Department. During this time, officers will be paired with a training officer and accompany them on routine patrol. You will rotate through different shifts (day versus night; weekend versus weekday) and different Units within the Department to ensure maximum exposure and understanding of policing in the City of Cambridge.



A career with the Cambridge Police Department offers a very competitive salary and benefits package.

The starting annual wage for a Cambridge Police Officer is approximately $55,000. That is just the base salary, which can be increased through a variety of special pays, including:

  • Shift differential pay for time worked on nights, weekends and/or holidays,
  • Longevity pay based on years of service,
  • Overtime and court time for duty beyond the standard schedule,
  • Periodic equipment allowances, and
  • Degrees, special training and language skills.

Cambridge Police Officers also enjoy benefits, retirement packages, and insurance coverage options that meet and often exceed those offered by private employers, including a schedule of working 4 days on and 2 days off, 24/7 access to a fitness center, and policing in a vibrant City that is home to two of the finest institutions in the country and is highly supportive of its police department.

Cambridge Police Youth Resource Officer



  • Building lasting relationships in the community and with other fellow officers that often last a lifetime.
  • Mentoring youth, supporting the City’s most vulnerable populations, and helping drive positive change in the community.
  • Participating in regular training opportunities to help expand personal or professional skills sets and growth.

Learn More

Looking to find out more about the Cambridge Police Department? We encourage you to review the following links to find additional background on the Department, including its mission, vision, long-term strategic plan and social networks: 

Page was last modified on 12/19/2023 4:59 PM
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