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Hiring Process

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Apply Now: Application Period Open Through May 20, 2022

Our next test date is scheduled for June 25, 2022. The application period for that test is now open and runs through May 20, 2022.


View job openings for:


Police Officer Recruit (Entry Level)


Experienced Police Officer (Lateral)


Other department or city positions


Additional Testing Dates Scheduled for 2022

  • August 27 (apply May 30 through July 22)
  • October 29 (apply August 1 through September 23)

Entry Level Police Applicants

The Tacoma Police Department hiring process is a multi-step process and may take up to six months for entry-level police applicants. The testing and hiring process for out-of-state applicants is scheduled in three visits to limit the financial burden of travel to the applicant. The testing process is free.


Application Process

The minimum qualifications required by the City of Tacoma are listed in the announcements. The Human Resources Department will screen out applicants who do not meet these qualifications.


Examination Process

The examination process includes an initial personal history questionnaire, a Physical Ability Test (PAT) and a written examination. The Tacoma Police Department conducts its own written and PAT. The PAT consists of three activities: squat thrusts, sit-ups and push-ups. The requirements for the PAT can be found on the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission website. Additionally, you can watch an instructional video on the squat thrusts, sit-ups and push-ups. Following the written examination, the City's Human Resources Department establishes an eligible list based on applicants’ test scores and, if applicable, military experience. The list is valid for one year.


Oral Board

The eligible applicant may be invited to an Oral Board interview. The Oral Board consists of four commissioned officers and one civilian member. Candidates are ranked "competitive" or "not competitive" and competitive candidates are moved to the background phase.



The background phase may take up to two months depending on a candidate's willingness to provide information and the availability of references. This includes a check of personal and professional references, work history, criminal history, driving history and financial history. The Tacoma Police Department may also conduct personal interviews within your neighborhood and workplace.


Final Examinations

At this stage of the hiring process, a candidate will receive a conditional offer of employment, which is conditional upon the successful completion of all final examinations including a polygraph examination, medical examination and psychological assessment.



Selected candidates will receive a final offer of employment based upon approval and availability of a position.


Lateral Police Applicants

The Human Resources Department establishes an eligible list based upon the law enforcement experience listed on the application. The eligible list is valid for up to one year.


Lateral police applicants are given credit for post-commissioned law enforcement experience in lieu of the written exam and must pass a modified PAT, which includes:
  • five push-ups - no time limit
  • 14 sit-ups - one minute
  • a mile-and-a-half run - 17:55 minutes or less

Minimum Qualifications for Lateral Police Applicants

  • U.S. citizen
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Certification by the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission or out-of-state equivalent
  • Currently employed by a law enforcement agency or recently released due to lay-off or reduction in force with the ability to be rehired
  • Must have 12 or more months of continuous post-commissioned street patrol experience (non-patrol sworn officer experience such as jail, corrections, or dispatch does not count as street-patrol experience in calculating the total months of post-commissioned experience). The only exception is a Law Enforcement Officer who was laid off due to budget or reduction-in-force issues and may not be more than a 24-month break in service.
For more information, please contact the Tacoma Police Department’s hiring coordinator:


Officer Gary Wurges

(253) 591-5966

(866) 812-0107