By Bill Parry
Just days after the largest and most diverse class of recruits in Department of Correction history graduated, the agency announced plans to hire 1,800 more officers next year. New York City Correction Commissioner Joseph Ponte said candidates will be selected after taking one of four exams.
Nearly 2,800 New Yorkers took the test in November, the first time DOC had held a Correction officer exam since 2012. Three more exams will be given in 2016.
“Corrections is an exciting and rewarding career that allows individuals to serve the public with courage, dignity and respect,” Ponte said.
Pre-registration for the next Correction officer exam will begin Dec. 28; the test itself runs from Jan. 4-30. Two more exams will be held through May 31, 2016.
Applicants can schedule themselves to take an exam at one of two testing centers any time during the filing period, officials said. Correction officers start out at a minimum salary of $42,532 and can earn $89,596 after 5 1/2 years. Overtime and generous benefits push their compensation higher.
DOC has been expanding recruitment and training in order to professionalize its forces and bring them in line with best practices nationally.
“We our committed to providing our staff with the latest tools and training to make their jobs safer and to make DOC a national leader in the correction field,” Ponte said. “Our hardworking and dedicated members of service perform a vital role in keeping the city safe.”
As part of reform on Rikers Island and other city prisons, Ponte has pursued an aggressive approach to Correction officer recruitment, expanding community outreach and standing up a dedicated Recruitment Unit. The DOC also strengthened its screening of applicants through its Applicant Investigation Unit in order to weed out unqualified candidates and raise standards.
DOC has also redesigned the curriculum of its Training Academy in order to ensure that officers have the tools to deal with DOC’s varied and challenging populations. Reforms include courses in Mental Health First Aid, Safe Crisis Management, Scenario Assessment Training, Tactical Communications, De-escalation and Conflict Resolution.
“DOC also offers high pay and outstanding benefits,” DOC Acting First Deputy Commissioner Dina Simon said. “In an economy that offers too few paths to middle-class wages, qualified job seekers should seize the opportunity to take the Correction Officer exam and sign up right away. We are looking for the best of the best.”
The exams are administered by the city Department of Central Administrative Services and require a fee of $54, although the fee may be waived in some instances. For more information, contact the DOC Recruitment Unit at (718) 546-8585 or visit online at nyc.gov/
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr