Exams for promotion in police jobs

From TV/movies I get the impression that in places like the NYPD if you pass the test for Sergeant,etc. it’s pretty much an automatic promotion to that rank. Is that correct or do you have to do other stuff to get promoted beyond passing the test?

Also are these tests designed to be super hard? And is the passing score 70, 80?

Not sure about sergeant, but in Stockton, at least, the lieutenants also have an interview that has to be passed.

Seems to be fairly straight forward. College credits, pass exam, five years on the force = promotion to sergeant.

Every Single Agency has a different protocol.

I mean every one.

It can be based on department policy, civil service rules, union contracts, politics, who you are, etc…

But it’s impossible to give even a generic blanket answer to this.

I was a Sheriffs Deputy for 25 years. I had taken the patrol Sergeants exam and did well. Ended up getting “assigned” to the rank of Detective. Never took the dick test. The last Sheriff promoted whomever he wanted, ignoring civil service rules, department policy, etc… And he got away with it.

After I retired I started a second career with another agency. Here there is no exam for any rank. When there is an opening for something a department wide announcement is put out (we do not promote from the outside or do “lateral transfers”). Those interested submit a “matter of” memo explaining their qualifications. The Chief and the Assistant Chief hand select candidates from those who apply. They are given interviews with the Chief, AC, and 3 Captains. The assistant Chief and the Captains write up their opinions, but in the end it is the Chief and only the Chief who makes the decision.
Politics? Favoritism? You bet. But that’s how it is on my department.

there could be a zillion answers to the OP.

Don’t be so sure about that. That website is from a test preparation company and only speaks about the requirements to be eligible for a promotion. Part of NYS Civil Service law is the “One in three” rule and I believe it applies to the NYPD. Generally speaking, it means that if there is one opening, the agency must choose one of the top three scores on the list who are willing to accept the job.

Now you say, who would take the test and not accept the job? Probably no one, if you’re talking about a police officer in NYPD being promoted to sergeant - but the rule applies to all or nearly all civil service tests in NYS and I know I could have gotten my last promotion ( in a state agency) a lot quicker if I had been willing to take a job in any of the 62 counties rather than only the 5 counties of NYC and 2 adjacent ones. As far as how they pick between the candidates, in my experience it’s done by interviewing

I expect there would always be vacancies, what with so many of them being killed in the line of duty three days before they were due to retire.

A UK PC who passed the exam to be a sergeant does not get automatic promotion. They have to apply for vacancies in their own or another police force. Indeed it is often not seen as a good idea for them to stay in the same place that they were a constable.

These exams are notoriously difficult, and will require candidates to learn large amounts about the law and legal framework.

From that it sounds like the promotion isn’t automatic. That sounds like the department at some interval posts a number of open slots, and then goes down the list of promotion-eligible officers, starting with the top scorers. Even if you pass, if you score relatively low, and/or there just aren’t a lot of sergeant slots opening up, you might be stuck indefinitely.

Yup, you’re right. I missed that. That’s what happens when one isn’t really invested in the information one is reading.

I believe that each exam has a particular life (maybe two or three years), that if you pass, but they don’t have sufficient vacancies to promote you based on your list position before the exam expires, you’ll have to take the next exam to be eligible for promotion in the next exam cycle.

On top of the 2 major departments I work/worked for over the past 36 years, I also worked part-time for a couple of departments. I also know a zillion officers from other departments and know how their agency operates.

I can’t emphasize enough how much “politics” plays a part in getting promoted.

I’m not saying the people that get promoted didn’t deserve it or aren’t qualified, I’m saying that about 2/3 of the time if they hadn’t been in the right clique, or known the right people, rubbed the right people the right way, been liked by the right people, etc., they wouldn’t have gotten the promotion. It’s just the way it is. At least around here, cronyism reins supreme.

During my first career, when I scored high on the Sergeants exam and had the seniority and performance review scores to get the stripes, there was no way the Captain of the patrol sector was going to endorse me becoming Sergeant. I got into the Detective Bureau only because of who I knew there. I didn’t even have to take the test.