Entry Level Hiring
The process you are entering to become a police officer is comprehensive and could take up to 10 months to complete after you take and pass the Civil Service examination. You will be placed on a competitive civil service register for up to one year and processed in descending order.
The Pre-Employment Process
Ensure you meet the requirements. You must meet the minimum hiring standards for all police officers. Once in the Backgrounding, applicants who do not meet the police department's eligibility requirements will be considered less competitive.
All disqualifications are reviewed by the HR Director or his designee for final approval.
The Civil Service Examination
Written & Video Test
- The written test focuses on memorization, general knowledge, grammar, spelling, multi-tasking, and reading comprehension.
- You will have a 1.5 hour study session prior to the test to prepare for the memorization portion of the test.
- The written test has 100 multiple choice questions, you need 80% correct to pass. Scoring high on this test is important, as this is the initial exam that ranks you against to the other candidates.
- You will have 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete the written test.
The video exam consists of approximately 46 multiple choice scenarios of Police Officers responding to a variety of different situations. 65% is required to pass and it is scored pass/fail. Note: Please do not call to inquire about your score.
The Physical Ability Test:
Detailed information about the physical ability test requirements is available on the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission website.
Your PHI packet will be turned in immediately after passing the PAT.
Fill out the Personal History Information Packet
Failure to return your completed PHI will result in disqualification from the hiring process. Make sure to attach photocopies of your driver's license, social security card, DD 214 and academy certification (if applicable). The Release of Information & Credit History Release forms must be notarized.
The Oral Board:
After the successful completion of the Physical Ability test, you will be scheduled for an Oral Board. During the Oral Board you will sit across from a panel consisting of two sworn officers and a community member and you will be answering scenario based questions.
In addition, expect one or more written exercises as part of the oral board process.
Learn more about the Out of State Testing Process
The Background Process
The Seattle Police Department Background Unit continually processes police officer candidates. Background investigations commence once a candidate is assigned to a detective. This process can take some time, so please be patient.
The Hiring Process
After successfully completing the backgrounding and testing processes, the most competitive candidates are offered conditional employment with the Seattle Police Department.
DO NOT QUIT YOUR CURRENT JOB or MOVE until you receive a written FINAL OFFER of employment!
After receiving a conditional offer of employment you will be scheduled additional tests, including a polygraph, psychological exam and medical exam.
Once you receive your final conditional offer of employment you will be notified of your academy start date & employment orientation. You will need to re-take the Physical Ability Test (PAT) as an entrance requirement to the police academy. Once you successfully complete the PAT you will be given a final offer of employment.
The Law Enforcement Academy
Once hired, you will become a Police Recruit and enter the police academy. The Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) is approximately 4.5-months (720 hours). Recruits are NOT housed at the academy and will be responsible for their own housing.
**The Department retains the right to send an Exceptional Entry candidate to the CJTC Police Academy if it is determined during the hiring process that a candidates' existing training is not comparable.
Post-BLEA and Field Training
Upon graduation from the Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) you will become a Student Officer. You will spend approximately 4 weeks at the Seattle Police Department Advanced Training Unit in Post-BLEA. You will learn the laws specific to the City of Seattle, department policy and procedures and services specific to Seattle.
After completing advanced training, you will enter the Field Training Program, with an experienced officer who will evaluate your performance in the patrol division.
You must successfully complete all of the above segments to continue your employment with the Seattle Police Department. Failure to achieve satisfactory scores and/or performance may result in your termination.
Probationary Period and Assignments
Once you successfully complete the Field Training program you will be assigned to the Patrol Division where you will work a Patrol shift at one of our five precincts.
You will be a probationary police officer for the first year following your graduation from the academy. Once passing probation, you will become a permanent member of the Seattle Police Department.
The Police Officer training program at the Seattle Police Department is approved by the Higher Education Coordinating Board's State Approving Agency (HECB/SAA) for training of those eligible to receive veterans benefits under Title 38 and Title 10, U.S. Code.
After working 3-5 years in Patrol, you are eligible to apply for other assignments.
You become eligible to test for promotion after 5 years.