How to Become a Police Officer in San Diego

Interested applicants to the San Diego Police Department will be pleased to know that the application process to become a police officer in San Diego can be done online, they also hold regular job fairs to prospective applicants. The SDPD offers a great deal of opportunity for qualified individuals in various of areas of law enforcement and also a great opportunity for fast promotions within the department.

Peace officers in S.D. are well taken care off by the state as they have both health and dental health coverage as well as a tax deferred savings plan to name a few benefits, read on this article to find out more on how to become a police officer in San Diego.

Minimum Requirements To Become a Peace Officer in San Diego

  • Applicants have to be at least 20 years of age on the day of the written exam.
  • Applicants must have at least a high school diploma or an equivalent G.E.D.
  • Candidates must have U.S. citizenship or have a permanent resident alien status and has applied for U.S. citizenship.
  • Should have a valid Class C driver’s license.
  • Certified to be able to type at a corrected speed of around 30 words per minute with less than 6 errors – certificates that indicate more than 5 errors are not accepted.

Potential disqualifiers 

  • Drug use, particularly marijuana and illicit substances.
  • Felony, misdemeanor or domestic violence conviction.
  • Poor credit rating / history.
  • Convicted of any hazardous traffic violations.
  • Has been fired in a previous employment.

Out of state applicants

All candidates that includes out of state cops need to earn a California POST, individuals without the California POST are required to attend the San Diego Regional Police Academy and go through a background investigation.

Click here to check out the various police officer jobs in San Diego.

How to Become a Police Officer in San DiegoThe Employment Process in Becoming a Police Officer in San Diego

Step 1

All individuals with the exception of out of state applicants are required to take the written exam which is implemented by the city of San Diego’s personnel department. Both appointment and application form fill up can be done online through the website. Take note that only applicants who meet the minimum requirements are eligible to take this test.

This examination is be made up multiple choice questions that will analyze the general aptitudes that’s required to become a cop and these consist of:

  • Decision making
  • Intellectual capabilities
  • Reading comprehension
  • Report writing and written communication

Individuals who fail to pass this exam must wait a month to be able to take the exam again provided there is a scheduled test. Should an applicant’s eligibility to take the exam expires and they are willing to take the exam again they should request a waiver.

Out of state applicants who wish to join the SDPD should contact the recruiter before scheduling for a test.

Step 2

Individuals who successfully pass the written test must now take on the physical abilities test then answer the pre-investigative questionnaire. In the physical abilities test, individuals are required to complete a 500 yard obstacle course that simulates a suspect chase with a series of obstacles like low hanging objects, ladders, cones, fences of various heights then drag a 155 pound dummy. It doesn’t get easier, participants will have to wear a 3 pound vest during this activity so it is essential to be in great physical shape prior to participating in this physical test.

Step 3

Applicants will now go through a comprehensive background investigation and as part of this step you will need to complete the personal history statement form which is also available for download online as well as a polygraph exam to verify the credibility of the information you provided in the application form.

Step 4

Qualified individuals who’ve made it this far will have an appointing authority interview scheduled with the San Diego Police Department. This step is done to evaluate the overall qualifications and various employment related variables to help recruiters gauge the applicant’s readiness physically and mentally to become a police officer in San Diego.

Step 5

Next step would be a comprehensive psychological evaluation which will include a couple of written tests plus a clinical interview. Because of their position and police powers, a peace officer’s job may be adversely affected should they have any emotional or mental condition, particularly abnormal behaviour or a personality disorder.

Step 6

Final step for all aspiring cops would be the medical examination as all police officers need to pass strict medical standards in San Diego to be certified.

Vision Requirements

  • All officers are required to have normal vision on both eyes with an acceptable level of color vision.
  • Uncorrected vision cannot be worse than 20/70 on both eyes and should be corrected to 20/20.
  • All officers should be free from vision problems such as sensitivity to glare, progressive regression of vision or impaired vision on low lighting conditions.

Hearing Requirements

All candidates are required to go through a pure tone threshold testing on each ear at the following frequencies:
  • 500hz
  • 1000hz
  • 2000hz
  • 3000hz
  • 4000hz
  • 6000hz
Take note that these tests are done without any hearing aids.
Individuals who use hearing aids will pass through a test that will look at their speech comprehension ability in both a noisy and quiet environment. It is important for aspiring cops to remember that they have to disclose about using a hearing aid in their application form.

Cadet Programs

The San Diego Police Department also offers cadet programs for individuals who are interested in a career in law enforcement but are too young to qualify.

This program includes…

  • a 6 session academy course
  • ride along programs
  • some undercover work and assisting officers with security and traffic control

…which helps in developing vital law enforcement skills, discipline, and work ethic as well as connect with other like minded people who are interested in joining this field.

More information in how to become a police officer in San Diego can be found in their website or by calling the SDPD recruiting unit at (619) 531-2257.

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