Lateral Entry Hiring

Lateral Entry

To be considered as a lateral entry candidate, 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.

Benefits of Lateral Entry

  • You may skip the basic law enforcement academy, instead taking a much shorter Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commissions Equivalency Academy.

Lateral Qualifications

  • See all Qualifications

Exceptional Entry

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 as an Exceptional Entry Candidate.

Benefits of Exceptional Entry

  • You may skip the basic law enforcement academy, instead taking a much shorter Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commissions Equivalency Academy.

Exceptional Entry 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.
    • 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.

The Civil Service Entrance Exam

  • The written exam focuses on memorization, general knowledge, grammar, spelling, multi-tasking, and reading comprehension.
  • You will have a 2 hour study session prior to the test to prepare for the memorization portion of the test.
  • The written test has approximately 115 multiple choice questions, you need 80% correct to pass.

You will have 2 hours to complete the written test.

If you pass the written exam, you will be scheduled for oral boards.

Note: Lateral officers are not required to take the Physical Ability Test.

Learn more about the Out of State Testing Process

The Hiring Process

After successfully completing the backgrounding and testing processes, the most competitive candidates are offered conditional employment with the Seattle Police Department.

All disqualifications are reviewed by the HR Director or his designee for final approval.

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 offer of employment you will be notified of your start date.

Employment

The Law Enforcement Academy

ALL certified law enforcement officers from outside the State of Washington must take and pass the Police Officer Equivalency Examination administered by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.

Post-BLEA and Field Training

Upon successful completion of the equivalency academy, there will be a Post-BLEA (Basic Law Enforcement Academy) course where you will learn Seattle Municipal Laws, policy and procedures and services specific to Seattle.

This will be followed by Field training for Lateral Officers.

Probationary Period and Assignments

Once you successfully complete the Field Training program you will be assigned to the Patrol Division where you work a Patrol shift at one of our five precincts.

Lateral applicants will be paid at a rate comparable with the years of service within their current agency as a POLICE OFFICER, up to Step 5 on the SPD pay scale.

One year probationary period starts at hire date.

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.

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.