Hiring Process and its Purpose

In addition to the easy application process

Candidates for police officer employment must pass a stringent multi-step vetting process. Pre-employment is the first stage, during which documents are reviewed. Following a review of their paperwork by the Human Resource Directorate, candidates whose eligibility criteria fall short of those of the police agency are deemed to be less competitive and are subsequently disqualified. (Hilal, Densley & Jones, 2017).

Civil Service Exam

Candidates who achieve the minimum requirements for employment must then sit for the Civil Service Exam. The majority of exam exams come in written and video formats. The focus of the written test is on grammar, multi-tasking, the power to memorize, general knowledge, spelling and reading comprehension with a mandatory score of 80% and above. Attaining high scores in this test is very important since the results are used to rank the candidates. Video tests consist of scenarios where police officers respond to a variety of situations that are different. Successful candidates at this stage must attain a score of 65% and above. The two tests mostly measure the verbal skills of applicants and allow the hiring agencies to immediately disqualify the applicants that do not meet the minimum threshold of joining the police (Dietrich, 2016).

Physical Ability Test

Thirdly, the applicants are required to undertake Physical Ability Test. The recruits are mandated to run for a moderate distance, climb a fence, run on a rugged terrain, push a patrol car or even drag a heavy dummy. Moreover, the purpose of the test is to measure the endurance level of the recruits and to allow refined ranking of the candidates.

Oral Interview and Written Exercise

After completing the physical ability test, the applicants conduct an oral interview. The interviewing panel strives to expose the interviewees to case scenario questions where their responses would determine job suitability levels. Interviews are meant to test the recruit's resolve to absorb enormous psychological pressure and see how best they can think when under stress. Besides, the candidates undertake written exercise at this stage.

Background Investigations

The fifth step involves conducting background investigations on the applicants. Persons performing the recruitment exercise have to contact former employers, college professors, and teachers to verify the personal profile of the applicants. All these are necessary because the department is usually concerned with the integrity and reliability of the applicant. The unit uses this information to disqualify recruits who are considered to be less qualified and also as a basis for polygraph examination (Hassell, 2016).

Additional Tests

Upon completion of background checks, the most qualified candidates are offered employment that is conditional with Seattle Police in Washington state. Successful candidates go through additional tests which include; medical examinations, psychological and polygraph examinations. Polygraph examination comprises of a thorough review of application material of the recruit and results from the background investigation, interviewing the applicant and examination exercise itself (Hassell, 2016). The exercise’s main aim is to assess applicant’s honesty.

Psychological and Medical Tests

Psychological and medical tests on the other hand often occur at the same time. A psychologist gives the applicant a written test and later assign a score. After which the psychologist advises the department on the suitability of the recruit for employment. Medical examinations may involve an echocardiogram and a stress test in the assessment of the applicant’s heart. Also, urinalysis and blood tests are done to check for other potential health issues. Once the candidates get their final conditional offer of employment, they also get notification of the commencement of their studies at the academy and the job orientation. The Physical Ability Test is conducted once again as a requirement for the entry to the police academy after which the candidate is absorbed.

Completion of Mandatory Studies and Graduation

Once hired, the candidates complete the mandatory studies at the academy then graduate into police officers. The Basic Law Enforcement Academy takes about four and a half months. The academy courses cover topics such as criminal law, firearms training, defensive and investigation tactics and finally community policing. After graduating from the academy, the candidates become student officers. They spend about four weeks at the Advanced Training Unit. Here, they learn the specific laws of the city of Seattle, specific services of Seattle and policies and procedures of the department.

Field Training Program

After advanced training, the recruits join Field Training Program, where they work under an officer with years of experience. The officer aims to evaluate the performance of the candidate in the patrol division. Candidates are later assigned to work a patrol shift in the same unit after successful completion of the training program. They are then put on probation for the first year after their graduation from the academy and later become permanent employees once they pass probation. After working for three to five years as patrol officers, the individuals qualify to apply for other posts.

Overview of the Police Department

Various types of law enforcement agencies are inexistent in the entire Washington state, and they include police departments of small towns to federal agencies. The jobs are available depending on the size, mission, jurisdiction, and type of the office. Law enforcement is a broad security agency comprising of many institutions that differ in size of the number of police officers. They include; local police, state police, exclusive jurisdiction and deputy sheriffs (Hilal, Densley & Jones, 2017).

Minimum Requirements

Local police consist of regional, county, tribal and municipal police. All this derive power from local government. State police’s duties include highway patrol and conducting statewide investigations. Special jurisdiction offers police services to schools found within another jurisdiction. Lastly, Deputy sheriffs enforce the law of the state at the particular local county level. Typically, for consideration to the position of police officer with Seattle state police, one must have attained a minimum age of 21 years, citizens of the US, a holder of a valid driving and must be a holder of a high school diploma.


Dietrich, L. (2016). The use of pre-employment psychological testing during the hiring process.

Hassell, K. D. (2016). 13 Reducing police misconduct. Stress in Policing: Sources, consequences and interventions, 220.

Hilal, S., Densley, J. A., & Jones, D. S. (2017). A signalling theory of law enforcement hiring. Policing and Society, 27(5), 508-524.

Wood, M. (2017). Making and Breaking Careers: Reviewing Law Enforcement Hiring Requirements and Disqualifiers. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 1-18.

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