Qualifications

Minimum HIRING Standards:

The following are requirements of the State of Washington to become a law enforcement officer:

Age

An applicant must be at least 20.5 years of age at the time of taking the written exam.  This requirement is necessary to ensure all police applicants will be able to legally enter all premises that SPD responds to. There is no maximum age limit  See RCW 41.12.070.

Education

Proof of high school graduation or a certified GED.  See WAC 139-07-020(1)(b)(ii)

Physical Fitness

An applicant must pass the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission Fitness Ability Test. 
See WAC 139-05-230

Citizenship

An applicant must be a United States Citizen or lawful permanent resident to be hired.  
See RCW 41.12.070 and WAC 139-07-020(1)(b)(i) and 8 U.S.C See 1101 (a)(20)

Military Record (when applicable)

An applicant must have been discharged under honorable conditions (Fair Employment Laws apply).       
See WAC 139-07-020 (1)(b)(iii)

Driver's License

An applicant must have a valid Washington State Driver's License prior to being hired.  It is understood that out of state candidates won't have this at time of application, but they must get one prior to accepting a job.  Driving is an essential function of this position with SPD. See RCW 46.20.001 for license rights and restrictions.

Additional Hiring Standards

The following Seattle Police Department hiring standards and information are some of the areas that are considered during a SPD background investigation.  The Department is most interested in an applicant's life history as a complete picture.

SPD understands that, at times, people encounter challenges in their lives.  During the background investigation process SPD is interested in learning greater detail about those challenges, as well as the lessons the applicant has learned and the changes the applicant has made as a result. Please be forthcoming in your responses, as SPD expects honesty in this process. All disqualifications are reviewed by the Human Resources Director or their designee for final approval.  

Criminal Record

An applicant's criminal record, including all arrests, prosecutions, deferred prosecutions, 'Alford' pleas, and non-conviction information will be thoroughly assessed and may be grounds for disqualification.

The following examples will be disqualifying:

  • Any adult felony conviction.
  • Any misdemeanor or felony conviction while employed in a criminal justice and/or law enforcement capacity.
  • Any domestic violence conviction.

Traffic Record

An applicant's driving record will be considered on a case by case basis with the past five (5) years being the most critical. The following will be disqualifying until the time parameters have been met:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI), Negligent and Reckless Driving, Hit and Run within the past five (5) years of taking the exam.
  • Suspension of your driver's license as a result of a DUI within the past five (5) years of taking the exam. 

Employment History

An applicant's employment history, including any terminations or leaving an employer in lieu of termination, will be thoroughly assessed and may be grounds for disqualification.

Financial

An applicant's credit history will be thoroughly assessed and may be grounds for disqualification.  The following are areas of concern:

  • Failure to pay income tax.
  • Failure to pay child support.

Professional Appearance

All applicants are expected to maintain a professional appearance.  SPD has the sole discretion in determining what is considered professional, as it relates to the position the applicant is applying for. Tattoos, branding (intentional burning of skin to create a design), voluntary disfigurement (marring or spoiling of the appearance or shape of a body part), or scarification (intentional cutting of the skin to create a design) shall be carefully reviewed by SPD on a case-by-case basis.

Drug Use

Seattle Police guidelines for applicants relating to drug use:

To be considered the most competitive candidate and to increase the likelihood of continuing on in the process, the closer the applicant is to the timeline listed for the drug(s) in question the better. All illegal drug use will be closely scrutinized on a case by case basis. 

  • MARIJUANA: Has not used Marijuana within twelve (12) months prior to taking the Police Officer Civil Service Exam.
  • The use of PRESCRIPTIONS not prescribed to you by a Doctor or a pattern of illegal use of prescription medication.
  • CLUB DRUGS: Has not used club drugs, such as, but not limited to: Ketamine, GHB, Rohypnol, or MDMA (ecstasy) within three (3) years prior to taking the Police Officer Civil Service Exam.
  • STEROIDS: Has not used steroids within three (3) years prior to taking the Police Officer Civil Service Exam.
  • AEROSOLS: Has not inhaled aerosols, sometimes referred to as Huffing (paint) or Whippits (Nitrous Oxide) or used Khat within three (3) years prior to taking the Police Officer Civil Service Exam
  • COCAINE/CRACK: Has not used cocaine or crack within five (5) years prior to taking the Police Officer Civil Service Exam.
  • HALLUCINOGENS: Has not used any Hallucinogens; PCP, Angel Dust, Wet, Phencyclidine, LSD, Mushrooms, or Psilocybin, within five (5) years prior to taking the Police Officer Civil Service Exam.
  • OPIATES: Has not used Opium, Morphine, or Heroin within five (5) years prior to taking the Police Officer Civil Service Exam
  • STIMULANTS: Has not used Methamphetamine, Crank, Crystal, Ice, Speed, Glass, or Amphetamine within five (5) years prior to taking the Police Officer Civil Service Exam.
  • Has not used any illegal drug(s) while employed in a criminal justice and/or law enforcement capacity.
  • Has not manufactured or cultivated illegal drug(s) for the purpose of the sale/marketing of the drug(s). 
  • Has not sold or facilitated the sale of illegal drugs.
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.