How to Become a Police Officer in Washington State

In this quick guide on how to become a police officer in Washington State, our aim is to help potential candidates evaluate their chances of having their application approved by one of the law enforcement agencies prior to the submission. It is important to point out that nowadays, the public scrutiny concerning the aptitude and behavior of men and women wearing the police uniform have increased considerably.

Therefore, the Washington State police departments will thoroughly examine the applicants before giving them the green light to join the bandwagon. At the same time, only the best candidates will be able to successfully graduate from the academy. While it is safe to assume that the same rules apply to most American states, Washington law enforcement agencies take things a bit more serious.

Minimum Prerequisites to Becoming a Police Officer in Washington State

The candidate needs to be 19 years and 6 months old or more prior to the submission of the application and at this point of writing, no exceptions to the rule apply in Washington. The American citizenship and the valid driving license (clear of all potential restrictions and non-probationary) go without saying, but the legislation in Washington is quite strict in terms of narcotic possession and/or consumption. In other words, the candidate will be immediately disqualified for any case of possession and consumption.

In summary, here are some of the basic requirements to become a police officer in Washington State:

  • Have to be a U.S. citizen.
  • Must be at least 19-1/2 years old.
  • Possess a valid unrestricted driver’s license.
  • Has to be willing to work on weekends and holidays and rotating shifts.

To detail the two concepts a bit, in Washington State, they are viewed as following:

  • Possessing drugs that fall under the I to IV categories implies physical control over the substance with the intention of consumption or traffic
  • Consumption of drugs that fall under the IV categories refers to the experimentation of these substances through injection, absorption, inhalation, smoking, and etc.

It is necessary to mention the fact that possession is a disqualifying factor only after the point when the applicant has been employed by one of the law enforcement agencies in the state of Washington. However, the consumption of injected narcotics or un-prescribed medication will disqualify the candidate, irrespective of the time frame. In regards to anabolic steroids, you will need not to have utilized them within a 3-year time frame.

Other Disqualifying Factors to Become a Peace Officer in Washington State

In addition to the drug consumption history, the character of the potential police officer is tested based on any conviction history, which is only normal considering the officer should represent a beacon of law and morality.

Convictions that are not acceptable for cadets in Washington include:

  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanor criminal actions including DUI, domestic violence, larcenies, hit and runs, etc
  • Possession of alcohol under the legal age within a 3-year time frame (an additional conviction is an immediate disqualifier, irrespective of the time frame)
  • Reckless or negligent driving convictions within a 7-year timeframe prior to the application (an additional conviction disqualifies the candidate, irrespective of the time frame)

However, the conviction implies court dispositions adverse to the applicant. In other words, in the eventuality that the candidate was acquitted, if the case was dismissed and the prosecution decision was canceled, then the candidate is eligible for entry into the police academy.

Physical Fitness Test

All applicants will go through a series of physical assessments based on the Cooper Institute Physical Fitness Test and Norms for Law Enforcement Standards:

  • One minute push up test
  • One minute sit up test
  • 1.5 mile run
Cooper Institute Fitness Standards for Men
AgePush upsSit ups1.5 mile run
60 +101917:19
Cooper Institute Fitness Standards for Women
AgePush upsSit ups1.5 mile run
50-5912 (m)1419:10
60 +5 (m)620:55

Washington State Police Training Academy

After completing a grueling selection process, qualified individuals will go through a 26-week long basic training course in the WSP academy.

Training courses include the following:

  • Water safety training (underwater rescue exercises)
  • 2.7 mile emergency vehicle drive course
  • Collision investigation
  • Communications training
  • Firearms training
  • Commercial vehicle enforcement
  • First aid
  • Basic supervision training

For more information on becoming a police officer in Washington State, visit the Washington state patrol website.

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

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