How to Become a Police Officer in Seattle

All interested folks wanting to become a cop in Seattle can do so by sending their application online. There is, however a $25.00 application fee than can be paid through Visa or MasterCard. Schedules for examinations are found in the seattle.gov website. Along with sending in their application, applicants also need to fill out the Personal History Packet. This is important, as the absence of this will result in a candidate’s disqualification.

Before beginning the application process, make sure that you meet the minimum requirements:

  • At least 2o and a half years of age at the time of the test
  • Have U.S. citizenship
  • Has a high school diploma or GED
  • Possess a valid Washington State driver’s license
  • Former military personnel interested in becoming a cop has to have honorable discharge from the armed forces
  • All applicants cannot have tattoos, branding, scarification or voluntary disfigurement that is visible on the face, neck or hands

Potential Dis-qualifiers

  • Use of banned or illegal substances such as Marijuana, Methamphetamine, Crack, Ice, Speed, Glass or Amphetamine
  • Convicted of DWI, reckless driving or a hit and run
  • Three or more moving violations within the last five years of the date of application
  • Two or more accidents within the last five years of the date of application
  • A felony, misdemeanor or domestic violence conviction
  • Termination from a previous employment
  • Excessive credit card debt
  • Failing to pay child support or income tax

Steps in Becoming a Police Officer in Seattle

The steps listed are the processes subsequent to submitting the application form and Personal History Information Packet. Basically there are two phases in becoming a cop in Seattle for entry level applicants – the civil service exam and the selection process.

Step 1: Civil Service Exam

Take the Civil Service Exam which is comprised of both a written and video based test, a physical abilities test and the oral board.

Written Test

The written part of the exam assesses the grammar and spelling, memorization, general knowledge, multi-tasking, common sense and reading comprehension of the individuals. It’s has a total of 125 multiple choice questions and the passing score needed is 80%.

Video Test

The video exam consists of around 50 multiple choice questions that’s about the different police situations. Passing score of the video exam is 70%. Take note that you can’t call to check your exam scores.

Physical Ability Test 

Consists of 4 different events, each measuring a specific physical requirement needed by licensed cops:

  • 300-meter run
  • Maximum push up test (no time limit)
  • Sit ups (one minute long)
  • 1.5-Mile run / walk

The Oral Board

A panel – two sworn-in police officers and a community leader, will ask a series of questions regarding different scenarios you’ll face as a cop.

Background Investigation

A SPD investigator will in-detail check a candidates background for any possible infractions (listed above) that may disqualify them being employed as a Seattle police officer.

Suppose an applicant successfully completes all the require tests in the Civil Service Exam along with the background investigation, he / she will be offered conditional employment by which they’ll undergo further tests such as the a physical, polygraph and psychological exam and an interview with the Police Chief or their representative. At this point applicants are encouraged not to leave their current employment until they have received a final offer of employment were they’ll be notified of their academy and employment orientation schedule.

Step 2: The Selection Process

Seattle Police Academy

All individuals that are given a final offer of employment will go through the law enforcement academy, take note that trainees may need to take the Physical Abilities Test again as a requirement. The Basic Law Enforcement Academy will last around four and a half months (720 hours). Trainees will not live within the academy and are responsible for their own accommodations.

Post Law Enforcement Academy and Field Officer Training

This is a two part training process… 1st student officers will learn all city-specific laws, department policy and procedures, and services specific to the city of Seattle at the Seattle Police Department Advanced Training Unit. This process will last around 4-weeks. 2nd officers will go through a Field Training Program with a seasoned cop who will analyse the performance of the rookie cop.

It is important that officers pass the academy, post-BLEA and Field Training in order to be certified as a police officer in Seattle, failure will result in becoming terminated from the Seattle Police Department.

Probationary Period and Assignments

Officers who successfully complete the Academy Training, Post-BLEA and Field Training will be assigned to a patrol division. Probationary period will be around a year after the date of graduation from the academy.

Out of State / Lateral Applicants

Certified police officers outside the state of Seattle interested in becoming a police officer in Seattle who meet all the requirements and able to pass the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commissions Equivalency Academy may be considered for a lateral position, benefits of which include not needing to attend the basic law enforcement academy training as well as receiving a salary that is comparable to their years of service.

For more information on becoming a police officer in Seattle, visit the Seattle.gov website.

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

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