Specialty Units

One of the best things about a career in policing, is you can have dozens of “career changes” without ever having to leave the Department. The Seattle Police Department, the largest metropolitan police agency in the state, has many different specialty and investigative units.

After 3 years as a patrol officer, you become eligible to transfer to a a speciality unit or enter Detective school.

Here are just some of the speciality units available in the Department that you can learn more about:

Canine (K-9) Harbor Patrol SWAT
Homicide Narcotics Vice
Domestic Violence Sexual Assualt ADRT
Crisis Intervention Public Affairs Motorcycles
DUI Squad Internet Crimes TCIS

Other Available Units

Crime Scene Investigations, Intelligence, Fraud & Forgery, Robbery Unit, Burglary Unit, Mounted (Horse) Patrol, Gang Unit.


After 5 years as a police officer, you are eligible to take a promotional examination.

Civil Service tests are administered every other year for promotions within the Department. Tests are given for the rank of Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain. Assistant Chiefs are appointed by the Chief from the management ranks.

Officers may be promoted to Sergeant after 5 years of experience with the Seattle Police Department and passing the Sergeant's test. Lieutenants must have at least 3 years experience as Sergeants and Captains must have at least 3 years experience as Lieutenants.

A bachelor's degree may substitute for 1 year of experience but can only be used for one promotional exam.