What is the Alternate Route Program?
The Alternate Route Program was designed to give individuals interested in becoming police officers the opportunity to attend a certified police training academy, at their own expense, prior to being hired by a police, sheriff's or campus department.
Although successful completion of the program does not guarantee a position in law enforcement, graduates will have received training from a certified police academy and are able to pursue employment as a certified police officer.
The Basic Course for Police Officers is currently 21 weeks in duration and the Mercer County Police Academy is a non-residential program with trainees attending classes forty hours a week.
What are the requirements?
In order to apply for the program you:
- Must be at least 18 years of age and not over 35 at the completion of the program (for municipal police officers).
- Must be at least 18 years of age (for Sheriff's Officers and College Campus Police Officers).
- Must have completed 60 college credits with a GPA of 2.5 or above prior to the first day of training or 2 years of active military service or a combination of the two. Applicants must supply a copy of their DD214 as proof of military service.
- Must be citizen of the United States.
- Must be a resident of the State of New Jersey
- Must be of good moral character, and not convicted of any criminal offense.
- Must be in good health, sound physical condition and able to participate in a rigorous physical training program.
- Must have a valid NJ Drivers License
What are the selection criteria?
- Mandatory attendance at the Alternate Route Orientation Meeting.
- Written Examination with a score of 70% or above.
- Initial Interview.
- Background Investigation.
- Medical Examination including Stress Test and Drug Test.
- Psychological Examination.
- Physical Fitness Test.
- Final Oral Interview.
How much does the Program cost?
The Total cost for the program is approximately $2,200.00 for Mercer County residents and $2,500.00 for out of county residents.
- Registration fee: $60.00 (covers application processing and written test)
- Medical, Stress and Psychological examinations: $607.00
- Uniform and Equipment: $900.00
- Tuition: $500.00 (Mercer County Residents) & $750.00 (Out-of County Residents).
- Insurance (health & liability).
What does the Basic Course for Police Officers involve?
- Basic training is 21 weeks in duration. There are over 100 subjects that are taught. The training includes but is not limited too: Professional Development; Criminal Justice System; Police Community Relations; Criminal Law; Legal Requirements of Arrest, Search, Seizure, Evidence, and Use of Force; Communications; Vehicle Operations; Emergency Medical Care; Weaponry and Unarmed Defense; Patrol Concepts; Traffic and Motor Vehicle Law; Criminal Investigation; Physical Fitness.
How do I apply?
All Alternate Route inquiries should be made to the Mercer County Police Academy office at 609-584-2302.
- Attend the Alternate Route Program Orientation meeting. The orientation session accomplishes 2 purposes; 1) program overview and 2) allows pre-application to the program. Orientation requires no fee but you can bring a $60.00 money order or personal check (no cash) made out to the "Mercer County Police Academy" at orientation if you wish to continue in the process. You will have the next five business days to register.
- Upon receipt of the $60.00 fee you will automatically be registered to take the written test which will be administered by Mercer County Police Academy. The date and time of the testing process will be established by the Academy.
- After the results are tabulated, you will be advised of your score and if you are eligible to continue. A 70% score is required to continue.
- You will then be given a date for the physical fitness exam and the events in which you will be tested.
- If you successfully complete the written exam and the physical fitness exam you will be given a comprehensive application package.
- Based on the results of the written test, fitness test and background investigation, you will be informed if you are eligible to continue and given the necessary time to complete a medical examination.
- If medically cleared, you will attend a psychological exam which will be conducted by a psychiatrist and/or psychologist selected by the academy's Board of Directors.
- After completion of the above listed testing, you will be informed whether you have been chosen to attend the Final Interview.
Only those successfully completing these steps will be offered an appointment into the next available Basic Course for Police Office.
What happens to graduates of the Alternate Route Program?
Graduates are given three years from the date of graduation to find a position in law enforcement without having to return to an academy for retraining.