Tracking the Police Officer Hiring Process

By Raymond Foster, Tracey Biscontini

Part of Police Officer Exam For Dummies Cheat Sheet

After filling out an initial application, candidates vying for a position within a police department can expect to take several qualifying exams. The following table outlines the types of exams and what they entail.

Exam Type What to Expect
Written Exam An exam that may feature multiple-choice, true-and-false, and
open-ended questions in a variety of subject areas
Law Enforcement Essay Exam An exam requiring candidates to write several paragraphs in
response to a prompt
Personal History Statement A detailed response to questions about a candidate’s past
experiences, including education and work experience
Background Investigation An investigator uses the information a candidate supplies on
the Personal History Statement to conduct a thorough background
check
Physical Ability Test (PAT) An exam that assesses candidates’ physical fitness —
including strength, endurance, and flexibility — to ensure
that they’re physically capable to endure the rigors of a police
training academy
Oral Interview An interview with a hiring panel that may include police
department leaders, local government representatives, and local
businesspeople
Medical Evaluation A complete physical performed by a certified physician to check
candidates for a variety of medical conditions and ensure that
they’re healthy enough to train to become police officers
Psychological Evaluation A personality questionnaire and/or an interview with a
psychologist or psychiatrist to ensure that candidates can mentally
handle the stress of police work