Hiring Process

Our standards are high and we strive to recruit the best. Because of this, candidates go through a comprehensive selection and hiring process. Unfortunately, processing and backgrounding candidates can sometimes take up to 10 months to complete after you take and pass the Civil Service examination. Please be patient!

If you are hired, SPD is with you every step of the way. We visit recruits while at the Washington State Police Academy, to pinpoint any issues early enough to work on them, provide additional post-academy training specific to the Seattle Police Department and provide Field Training with SPD officers. We want to be sure that you are completely prepared, professional and safe by the time you patrol on your own.

Before the Badge: Four Part Series on the SPD Hiring Process

Q13's Brandi Kruse spent time going through the SPD hiring process and interviewing prospective candidates in a four part series that provides an in-depth look at what it takes to become an SPD officer.

Overview of the Hiring Process

The first step is making sure you meet the minimum qualifications.

If you do meet the qualifications, you can apply for the next the Civil Service exam process. You will need to pass a physical ability test and make it through our backgrounding process before you can be offered a job.

You then enter the Washington State Basic Law Enforcement Academy. This is followed by additional SPD training.

Student officers are then assigned to three different SPD Field Training Officers with whom they work for a total of four months.

After successful completion of the FTO Program, new officers enter a probationary period, where they work on their own with periodic check ins by a Field Training Officer.

Find out many more details on hiring process on our Entry-Level Officer and Lateral Entry Officer pages.

Types of Candidates

Entry Level Police Officer describes a candidate with no prior law enforcement experience and those who have completed a self-sponsored academy and have not worked as a commissioned officer/deputy for a law enforcement agency. All candidates must meet the minimum qualifications. Entry Level candidates must bring a completed, notarized, SPD Personal History Information Packet to their Physical Ability Test.  Learn more about the Entry Level Hiring Process.

If you are currently a sworn police officer who works full time for another police agency, but have worked there less than 24 months of the last 36 months, you are not a Lateral Entry Candidate. However, you may be considered an Exceptional Entry Candidate. See all Qualifications Individuals are evaluated on a case by case basis and must meet the following criteria to be considered as exceptional-entry candidates: Applicants must be certified via attendance at the Washington State Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) or an equivalent academy to the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) training academy, which is 720 hours long. (Basic training does not mean military or police reserve training or any other federal program not approved by the WSCJTC.)

Employed for less than 24 of the past 36 months (post academy experience), as a full-time, paid Police Officer, Deputy Sheriff, Tribal Officer or State Trooper who possess full police powers and duties.

Applicants must take and pass the City of Seattle civil service test for police officers.

Applicants must provide copies of current/valid academy certification, photocopy of a current basic first aid card and documentation of EVOC (emergency driving) training hours.

Officers will NOT have to attend the basic law enforcement academy; however, ALL certified law enforcement officers from outside the State of Washington must take and pass the Police Officer Equivalency Academy administered by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.  Learn more about the Lateral Entry and Exceptional Entry Hiring Processes.

Please Note: The Seattle Police Department retains the right to send an Exceptional Entry candidate to the CJTC Basic Law Enforcement Academy and reclassify them as an Entry Level Police Officer if it is determined that a candidate’s existing training is not comparable. Officers successfully completing the Washington State Equivalency Academy and Seattle Police Department training will then enter into the Field Training program.

You must meet the minimum hiring standards for all police officers. At the time of testing with us, you must be an experienced police officer who worked for another agency for at least 24 of the past 36 months (post academy experience) with full police powers and duties. Learn more about the Lateral Entry and Exceptional Entry Hiring Processes.

The Seattle Police Department is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity in its workforce. At SPD we acknowledge and honor the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals and pledge ourselves to creating and maintaining an environment that respects diverse traditions, heritages, and experiences.