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

Lateral Civil Service Entrance Exam

  • The written exam focuses on memorization, general knowledge, grammar, spelling, multi-tasking, and reading comprehension.
  • You will have a 1 hour and 30 minute study session prior to the test to prepare for the memorization portion of the test.
  • The written test consists of approximately 86 multiple choice questions, you need 75% 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 30 minutes to complete the written test.

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

Note: Laterals do not take the video exam or PAT (Physical Agility Test) during the testing and hiring process.

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.


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.