Step by Step Hiring Process

Step by Step Hiring Process 2017-05-03T01:12:30+00:00

Hiring Process: Police Recruit, Police Officer Academy Graduate, Police Reserve Officer and Lateral Police Officer

1. On-Line Application: Apply online via Neo Gov

Minimum Requirements:

  • 20 ½ years of age at time of application; 21 years of age at time of appointment. (There is no maximum age limit)
  • U.S. citizen or Resident Alien in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen
  • U.S. High School graduate or G.E.D.
  • No felony convictions. Not on Probation. Misdemeanors may be disqualifying depending on the number, type of violation, and date of the violation.
  • Vision: 20/100 uncorrected, corrected to at least 20/30
  • Valid California Drivers License prior to appointment.
  • Valid photo ID to take the written exam.
  • Effective oral and written communication in English.

2. Disqualifiers

  • Felony convictions or conviction of any crime that prohibits possession or use of a firearm
  • (3) sustained moving violations or at fault collisions over past (3) years from the time of application
  • Any DUI conviction or plea agreement to lesser charge within (3) years of application
  • Drug Use: Use or possession of marijuana within (3) years of application, use or possession of any non-prescription opiate (includes heroin), cocaine, amphetamine (includes methamphetamine) or ecstasy within (5) years of application. Use or possession of any hallucinogen, (includes LSD, PCP, Ketamine) within last (10) years of application and use or possession of non-prescription steroids within (5) years of application.

3. Written Exam

Consists of a POST multiple choice test known as the PELLETB. The test is designed to measure four skills associated with reading and writing: clarity, vocabulary, spelling and reading comprehension. There is no math or essay questions. Passing total t-score is usually 50 but you will be notified of the pass point when you receive your results via email. The written exam is pass/fail (not part of your final grade). Applicants should wear professional attire throughout the selection process beginning with the written exam. For a written exam study guide, refer to

4. Physical Agility Test (PAT)

The following five events are timed and the Applicant’s performance times are converted to points and summed. Applicant must accumulate a minimum total score of 384 points to pass.

  • OBSTACLE COURSE: Run a 99-yard obstacle course consisting of turns, a number of curb-height obstacles, and a 34-inch high obstacle that must be vaulted.
  • BODY DRAG: Lift and drag a 165-pound lifelike dummy 32-feet.
  • CHAIN LINK FENCE: Run 5 yards to a 6-foot chain link fence, climb over fence, and continue running another 25 yards.
  • SOLID FENCE CLIMB: Run 5 yards to a 6-foot solid fence, climb over fence, and continue running another 25 yards.
  • 500-YARD RUN: Run 500 yards.

5. Oral Interview

A panel of two people, including at least one Sergeant, will interview you. Questions will include hypothetical scenarios. You will be graded on your communication skills, interpersonal skills and decision-making skills, as well as your qualifications, as presented during the interview. Reserve and Academy Graduate applicants will also be tested on technical knowledge. Be prepared!! YOU MUST DO YOUR RESEARCH ON THE CITY, DEPARTMENT AND MISSION, VISION AND VALUES OF THE SANTA ANA POLICE DEPARTMENT.  You need at least a 70% to pass this exam. If you pass this, you move on to step #6.

6. Group Background Orientation

You will meet with one or more background investigators. You will be given a couple background packets and complete a 2-3 page handwritten autobiography.

7. Background Investigation

Once your background packet is completed, it will be returned in person & an initial background interview will take place with a background investigator. Applicants have (1) week to turn in background packet. Paperwork should not be turned in incomplete or incorrect. If everything is ok with your background packet, a background investigation will take place. If you pass this step, you move on to step #8.

8. Background Oral Interview (counts for 50% of your final grade)

Two Commanders will interview you. They will discuss what was found during your background investigation and will also determine if you are a good fit for the department. You need at least a 70% to pass this exam. If you pass, you move on to step # 9.

9. Placement on eligible list, Chief’s file review & conditional offer of employment

If you pass all of the exams above, you will be placed on the eligible list according to your final grade. Your final grade consists of 50% from your first interview and 50% from your second interview scores. Placement on the eligible list will be based on Bands (Band A: 90-100 pts, Band B: 80-89, Band C: 70-79).

    Veterans’ points:

At this point, if you are a veteran and you submitted a DD214 form which shows you served on active duty for at least 90 days during US war or armed intervention, you will then be awarded 5 additional points to your final grade. Proceeding to the next step depends on whether you pass the Chief’s review. The Chief will review the contents of the background file and make the final hiring decision. If you pass this step, you will receive a Conditional Offer of Employment and move on to step #10.

10. Polygraph Examination & Psychological Evaluation

You will undergo a series of questions during a polygraph exam. Information gathered during background is used to determine questions asked and can take 3-4 hours. If you pass the polygraph exam, you will be referred to a licensed psychologist for further evaluation. If you pass this step, you move on to step #11.

11. Bilingual Oral Fluency Exam

If you indicated you are bilingual in one of our 6 approved languages (Spanish, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Samoan, Hmong & Korean) on your application, you will be assessed on your ability to speak, interpret and translate in the second language. The test consists of a short conversation, followed by a translation of a paragraph (from English to Spanish, for example). This is a verbal exam, you will not be writing anything. If you FAIL this test, you will still be eligible to continue.

12. Medical Exam

You will be assessed by a licensed medical doctor to see if you are physically capable of performing the duties of a Police Recruit/Officer/Reserve.

If you pass all steps above, you will be appointed as a Police Recruit/Reserve/Academy Graduate or Lateral Officer given there are budgeted, vacant positions.