Port Police

Port Police officers are tasked with the protection, maintenance and enforcement of all laws within the port’s jurisdiction. They are responsible for responding to, investigating and arresting suspects involved in criminal activities that may occur at or near the port. They must also be able to identify potential safety and security hazards related to watercraft, trucks and ships entering or leaving the port area. The duties of a Port Police officer include patrolling port areas on foot or in a patrol vehicle; conducting inspections of cargo vessels; inspecting cargo containers for contraband; operating radar systems for surveillance purposes; operating hub cameras to monitor activity around the port; responding to emergency calls and taking appropriate action; conducting background checks on personnel entering or leaving the port area; apprehending criminals who have violated local, state, or federal laws; and testifying in court when called upon to do so.

Common tasks performed by Port Police officers include but are not limited to patrolling designated areas on foot/in vehicles; monitoring traffic around the Port area; searching cargo containers for contraband/hazardous materials/suspect items; apprehending suspects that have committed crimes on/around the Port area; responding to reports of suspicious behavior/activity in and around the Port area; issuing citations/warnings as appropriate when necessary; performing security checks on individuals entering/exiting restricted areas of the Port; performing random searches on watercraft/trucks entering & exiting the Port as well as inspecting their documents & credentials as needed; providing escorts for hazardous material shipments entering & exiting the Port; protecting critical infrastructure such as power plants, communication centers & other strategic points of interest.

Port Police

Basic Requirements

Online Application and Initial Screening

The hiring process begins with candidates submitting an online application, which typically includes their personal information, education, and work experience. The agency will then go through an initial screening process to ensure that the applicants meet the minimum qualifications for the position, such as age, education, and citizenship status requirements.

Written Examination

Candidates who pass the initial screening will then be invited to take a written examination to assess various skills and aptitudes, such as critical thinking, decision-making, memory recall, and report writing. This will help ensure that the candidates have the foundational knowledge necessary for success in a law enforcement career.

Physical Fitness Test

To ensure that candidates have the requisite physical abilities to perform their duties, they will have to successfully complete a physical fitness test. This test may include events such as running, push-ups, sit-ups, and other exercises that assess stamina, strength, and agility.

Oral Board Interview

After successfully completing the previous steps, candidates will be invited for an oral interview with agency representatives. This is a critical opportunity for both the agency and the candidate to assess their compatibility and for the candidate to demonstrate their interpersonal skills, problem-solving abilities, and commitment to law enforcement. In many cases, if an applicant successfully passes the oral board, they may be issued a conditional offer at this stage.

Background Investigation

Law enforcement agencies conduct thorough background investigations on candidates to ensure that they possess the moral character and integrity needed for the job. The investigation may include interviews with family, friends, neighbors, employers, and others who can provide insight into the candidate's character. Additionally, candidates may be subjected to credit checks, driving record reviews, and criminal history checks.

Psychological Evaluation

To assess a candidate's emotional and mental stability, they may undergo a psychological evaluation. This process may include interviews with a Psychologist or Psychiatrist, as well as written tests that assess personality traits and mental stability. In most cases, the Psychologist or Psychiatrist will have access to the details of the background investigation.

Polygraph Examination

Many agencies require a polygraph examination to verify the truthfulness of the information provided by candidates during the application process. This step aims to detect any omission or falsification of information, which could disqualify an applicant from the law enforcement profession.

Medical Examination

Candidates must pass a comprehensive medical examination to ensure that they are in good health and physically capable of performing the demanding tasks associated with law enforcement work. The examination includes vision and hearing tests, as well as a thorough assessment of their overall medical condition.

Academy Training

Upon a final offer of employment, having successfully satisfied the requirements of the hiring process, successful candidates will attend an agency-sponsored training academy. Some agencies require their officers to participate in a field training program prior to the academy. Other agencies require the candidates complete the academy before starting their field training program. This structured program provides extensive academic, physical, and practical training on the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for a career in law enforcement.

Probationary Period & Field Training Program

After graduating from the academy, new officers will enter a probationary period, working under the supervision of experienced colleagues. This phase allows officers to practically apply their training on the job and provides the agency with an opportunity to evaluate their performance and readiness for independent duty. This timeframe can vary between 12 months all the way to 24 months.


Not all police departments will have specialized units, and the availability of these assignments may vary depending on the size, needs, and resources of the specific law enforcement agency. The steps in the hiring process vary and range from different agencies. For the most accurate information, please contact the agency directly and obtain the information from the agency regarding the exact steps in the hiring process.

In order to ensure effective security operations within their assigned jurisdictions, most ports will require their police officers to undergo specialized training such as maritime law enforcement training courses pertaining to vessel boarding procedures, sea marshal operations training, as well as basic law enforcement training courses mandated by the State’s peace officers standards & training council requirements. In addition, many ports will also offer additional continuing education opportunities such as advanced weapons skills training, hazardous materials handling courses, and first aid certification courses, for their police officers to stay up-to-date with current technology & best practices related to port security activities. Entrace requirements to become a port police officer may include:

Port Police

Specialized assignments for Port Police officers may vary depending on the specific needs and operations of the port authority. Some of the specialized assignments for Port Police officers include:

  • Marine Unit
  • Cargo Theft Task Force
  • Hazardous Materials Response Team:
  • K-9 Unit
  • Port Security Operations Center (SOC)
  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection
  • Environmental Enforcement Unit
  • Port Intelligence and Investigations