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Please use this form to sign up for information regarding the next Community Police Officer and Lateral Police Officer Test.

Note: Filling out this request form does not register you for the test.
Frequently Asked Questions: Becoming a part of the Portland Police is much more that a job. It's a pursuit, a passion, a part of the community.

Many of the answers to general questions asked are addressed on our website.  Additionally, see the City of Portland's home page.  This site should be most helpful with general information about life in Portland including: schools, parks, recreation, arts and culture, transportation and tourism.

Some of the most common questions and answers are listed below.



PRE-APPLICATION
How can I be notified of an upcoming recruitment?
Do you have an expedited process for out of town applicants?
How do I prepare myself for the job of a police officer?
How can I be successful through the process?
How many positions are available?
What are the minimum qualifications?
What are the working conditions at PPB?
Do you prefer Lateral officers or those with military experience?
Do you give Veteran's Preference Points?
I only want to be a Detective or Crime Scene Investigator. Do I have to be a Patrol Officer first?
Am I disqualified because of my tattoos?
I'm in the military (or college) - should I apply now?
Is there a residency requirement?
What are the wages/benefits?

APPLICATION
How do I apply?
How often do you test?
I've applied, now what?

TRAINING
What is the probationary period?
How long is the Academy?
Will I be paid during training?
I'm a POST Graduate. Am I required to go to the Academy?
Do I have to buy my own equipment?

PHASE I-VI

WRITTEN EXAMINATION
How can I prepare for the test?
What happens on test day?
What if I fail?

PHYSICAL EXAMINATION
How can I prepare for the test?
What if I fail?

ORAL INTERVIEW
What happens during the interview?
How can I prepare for the interview?
What if I fail?

BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION
How long does the background take?
Why haven't I heard from my investigator?
How can I be successful throughout the background investigation?

PSYCHOLOGICAL AND MEDICAL EVALUATION
What is this for?
What if I'm color blind?

WHO CAN I TALK TO IF I HAVE QUESTIONS THAT ARE NOT COVERED IN THE WEBSITES MENTIONED?

We have a staff of recruiters and background investigators that can answer questions. If you can not find the answers online follow this link for additional contact information.







PRE-APPLICATION



How can I be notified of an upcoming recruitment?

There are several ways to be notified of an upcoming recruitment. You can contact us via email, phone or fill out the Online Recruiter Contact Form, or log onto our facebook site for constant updates.

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Do you have an expedited process for out of town applicants?

No. However, our general testing process tends to work well for out-of-town applicants because Phase I through Phase III happen within a 4-5 day testing process.

Example of testing schedule:
Phase I - Written Test - Friday
Phase II - Physical Ability Test - Saturday
Phase III - Oral Interview - Monday or Tuesday

Generally, out-of-town applicants will be required to come to Portland, Oregon at least twice before they are sworn-in.

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How do I prepare myself for the job of a police officer?

The best preparation can come from simply talking to a police officer and trying to understand the realities of the job. If you have a friend in law enforcement - ask questions! Many applicants participate in Ride Alongs, contact our Recruiter or attend Pre-Test Workshops to learn how to prepare themselves.

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How can I be successful through the process?

The best way to be successful is to prepare at each and every step. First, make sure you are qualified. Failing to meet the requirements may prevent you from reapplying in the future. Call if you have questions. Under the page Hiring Process, Phases I-VI are listed and give a general guideline of expectations and forms that need to be filled out.

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How many positions are available?

Due to anticipated budget cuts, Portland Police will be holding a number of officer positions vacant through the 2012-2013 budget year (which ends June 2013).

This means that candidates who successfully complete Phases I-IV will be placed on a ranked "Eligibility List". As the Bureau is authorized to fill additional positions, we will contact candidates from this list to continue on to Phases V and VI, the Medical and Psychological Exams.

The number of future openings will depend on budget, retirements and other factors.

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What are the minimum qualifications?

The minimum qualifications are listed here. The automatic disqualifiers are also listed.

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What are the working conditions at PPB?

Officers work a 40-hour week. Seniority determines shift, days off and vacation. Shifts and weekends are not rotated. However, during probation, new officers' days off, shifts and assignments are rotated. Officers are considered on duty 24 hours a day and in an emergency are subject to call-out at any time. New officers serve most of their time in uniform patrol. Specialty unit assignments are available on a competitive basis after probation.

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Do you prefer Lateral officers or those with military experience?

The Portland Police Bureau does not have a preference on hiring those with previous military or law enforcement experience. We understand that each and every applicant brings his or her own unique expertise when applying to our department. We are also asked whether criminal justice is a prerequisite if you have a degree. The answer is no. Any course of study will benefit you in the long-term at the Police Bureau.

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Do you give Veteran's Preference Points?

Yes. Your completed Veteran's Preference Form with the required documentation must be submitted on the date of registration unless instructed otherwise. You can deliver the information in person or mail your documentation to the address listed below.

Portland Bureau of Human Resources
1120 SW 5th Avenue, Room 404
Portland, Oregon 97204

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I only want to be a Detective or Crime Scene Investigator. Do I have to be a Patrol Officer first?

Higher-level positions in the Portland Police Bureau are filled by competitive promotional examinations. Under current standards, after 4.5 years of service (at least 3 of which must have been as a sworn member of PPB), officers are eligible to compete for a promotional exam to become a Sergeant, Detective or Criminalist.

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Am I disqualified because of my tattoos?

It depends.

"At time of appointment, members will not expose any offensive forms of body art while on duty, including when wearing a short-sleeved uniform shirt. Offensive forms of Body Art include images which are sexually explicit, racially and or sexually biased or could be viewed as discriminatory in nature. Visible Body Art on the face and neck are prohibited except for reasonable cosmetic purposes. Body Art is defined as procedures used to alter the body's appearance including, but not limited to branding, scarification and tattoos."

If there are specific questions regarding your tattoo, send us a digital photo and we will let you know whether you are disqualified.

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I'm in the military (or college) - should I apply now?

An applicant should keep in mind that they must be available for the Written Examination, Physical Abilities Test (PAT) and Oral Interview. We are able to make some accommodations for out of town applicants on a case-by-case basis.

Generally, an out of town applicant needs to be in Portland two times during the testing. If the applicant is scheduled for the background investigation, it can take an additional 2-6 months, depending on responses from reference checks.

Oftentimes, we tell candidates to "time" the recruitment. If you know you will be separating from the military or graduating college, consider registering for a recruitment test 12 months prior, considering our current budget delays.

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Is there a residency requirement?

No. You are not required to live in Portland or the State of Oregon. Some of our employees live in Washington State.

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What are the wages/benefits?

Wages and benefits are listed under both Entry and Lateral pages of this website.

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APPLICATION



How do I apply?

Potential applicants must apply online.

The City of Portland uses GovernmentJobs.com for the online application process. Applicants will need to create a Career Seeker Account with GovernmentJobs.com prior to registering for a test. Account registration is also accessible through PortlandOnline.com.

Step 1: Make sure you qualify. Exceptions will not be granted.

Step 2: You must set up an account with PortlandOnline before you can register for any recruitment test. We suggest that you set up the Career Seeker account with GovernmentJobs.com prior to the date of an Open Registration. (You can also reach this site through PortlandOnline.com)

Step 3: Be aware that Open Registration date and Written Test date are NOT the same. During Open Registration applicants will answer online supplemental questions and fill-out an application to take the written test. The written test is actually on another day. Online Applications for the Written Test will not be available to submit until an Open Registration Date.

Typically, our recruitments are limited to the first 200 applicants. If you receive an email confirmation, consider yourself registered for a test. The link will close online immediately after 200 applications have been received.

If you fail to show up to the examination, you will be removed from the eligibility list.

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How often do you test?

Testing schedule for 2012 is still undetermined due to current budget constraints. However, we usually try and schedule examinations 3-4 times per year.

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I've applied, now what?

If you have successfully registered for the examination, begin preparing yourself for each phase of the process. With the current budget delays, the process from start to finish, could take 12 - 18 months or more. You must be patient as you navigate our hiring process. If your contact information must be updated, please contact the City of Portland Bureau of Human Resources prior to test date.

(Updates to contact information after successful completion of Phases I, II, and III should go directly to Portland Police Bureau's Personnel Division.)

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TRAINING



What is the probationary period?

All officers have an 18-month probation, where they work under the supervision of a coach who teaches the fundamentals of police work. Entry-level officers shall attend a Basic and Advanced Academy. Lateral officers, who meet Oregon certification criteria, will attend the Advanced Academy. The Advanced Academy is taught by the Portland Police Bureau.

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How long is the Academy?

The Basic Police Academy is located in Salem, Oregon and is 16-weeks in length (400 hours). You are given a dorm room but are not required to stay there during the week or weekends. However, study time is at a premium and it is suggested new officers use their off duty time wisely. The recruit will be paid an entry level police officer wage during their training periods.

The Advanced Academy, in Portland, Oregon, will be provided during the recruit's 18-month probationary period. Advanced will be an additional 12-13 weeks. Every officer, regardless of prior experience, is required to attend the Advanced Academy.

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Will I be paid during training?

Yes. The recruit will be paid an entry level police officer wage during their training periods.

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I'm a POST Graduate. Am I required to go to the Academy?

California POST School Graduates are eligible for a 16-week Basic Training Waiver pending determination. For other states, each waiver is reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Once waived, the applicant would still need to take the Career Officer Development class (PCOD) and complete field-training.

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Do I have to buy my own equipment?

No. The City provides uniforms, weapon, handcuffs, flashlight, duty belt, body armor, helmets, etc., and $90 a yr. equipment allowance; $390 for plain clothes.

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PHASE I-VI



Phase I - Written Examination

How can I prepare for the test?

Attend a Pre-Test Workshop (offered one month prior to testing), or review the City of Portland's Written Test Guide (located under the Hiring Process - Phase I).

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What happens on test day?

On test day, expect to arrive at the testing site early. Check-in time is 0800. The test starts promptly at 0900 and lasts until approximately 1600 (4PM). In the morning session, applicants will take the written examination. During the afternoon session, you will take two psychological inventories. Attendance is mandatory at both the morning and afternoon sessions for continuing in the recruitment. Wear appropriate and comfortable attire. You will receive a lunch break between the morning and afternoon sessions. Photo Identification is required for admittance to the testing area. If you are new to the area, print driving instructions in advance as parking is at a premium in Downtown Portland.

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What if I fail?

Applicants are eligible to apply for the next recruitment should they fail Phase I (Written Examination or Supplemental Questionnaire), Phase II (Physical Abilities Test) or Phase III (Oral Interview).

Phase II - Physical Abilities Test

How can I prepare for the test?

A detailed diagram of the Physical Abilities Test (PAT) is available, as is a video. Both can be found under Phase II of the Hiring Process section. Many applicants tell us that the PAT is not as easy as it seems. However, most people in reasonably good physical condition pass this portion of the process. Applicants should plan to demonstrate aerobic and anaerobic fitness, flexibility and upper body strength.

If you haven't already, begin an exercise program to build endurance and strength, such as running and lifting moderate weights. Any one is welcome to view a PAT when offered and, if there is time, practice the course.

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What if I fail?

Applicants are eligible to apply for the next recruitment should they fail Phase I (Written Examination or Supplemental Questionnaire), Phase II (Physical Abilities Test) or Phase III (Oral Interview).

Phase III - Oral Interview

What happens during the interview?

During the oral interview the applicant will be asked questions by a board of three persons (2 sworn, 1 non-sworn). We will assess your judgment and communication skills. Be prepared to answer questions regarding scenarios that are presented to you. This interview will take approximately 30 minutes.

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How can I prepare for the interview?

Just as you would with any job interview, focus on direct and concise answers during your panel interview. Focus on your body language, eye contact and tone of voice. Attend a Pre-Test Workshop. Do your homework: draw on life experiences and relate them to the job of police officer. Remember, there is not always one 'right answer'.

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What if I fail?

Applicants are eligible to apply for the next recruitment should they fail Phase I (Written Examination or Supplemental Questionnaire), Phase II (Physical Abilities Test) or Phase III (Oral Interview).

Phase IV - Background Investigation

How long does the background take?

On average, a background investigation can last between 2-6 months. However, the length of the investigation can vary with the depth of investigation needed and the timely responses of references, employers and other sources. The investigation can proceed more smoothly if you tell your references to respond promptly. Candidates must complete the Statement of Personal History (SPH) as instructed to ensure their background progresses quickly. Failing to acquire required documents can also increase the length of the investigation.

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Why haven't I heard from my investigator?

Throughout the year, the Personnel Division holds multiple recruitments. At times, each eligibility list can be as large as 200 applicants. If you have successfully passed Phases I-III and you are waiting to hear from a background investigator, be patient. Depending on how many recruitments we are working from, applicants may wait to be assigned to background 1-2 months or longer after completion of the oral interview.

How can I be successful throughout the background investigation?

The most important element of a background investigation is honesty. If we have any doubt to your truthfulness, you risk failing the background and not being allowed to test at our department in the future.

Read the instructions for the Statement of Personal History (SPH) and fill it out in entirety. Failing to do so may cause your background to be prolonged unnecessarily. If you have any questions during the process, reach out to your investigator- they are there to help you succeed.

Phase V & VI - Psychological and Medical Evaluation

What is this for?

Both the psychological and medical evaluation will be used to determine the candidate's personal suitability and physical capability to do police work. If you have questions regarding the physical requirements of the job, download DPSST's Medical Examination and Essential Tasks for Police Officers [PDF].

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What if I'm color blind?

Color vision should be perfect. Nevertheless, red or green deficiencies will need to pass the Ishihara (24-plate edition) with 9 of the 13 plates required. Applicants who fail the Ishihara test can meet the color vision standard by demonstrating that they can correctly discriminate colors via a field test conducted by the employer and approved by DPSST.

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WHO CAN I TALK TO IF I HAVE QUESTIONS THAT ARE NOT COVERED IN THE WEBSITES MENTIONED?

We have a staff of recruiters and background investigators that can answer questions. If you can not find the answers online follow this link for additional contact information.

Ride-Along Request



Please contact the precinct you would like to visit to make a Ride-Along request. Please allow approximately two weeks to have a Ride-Along set up with an officer.
View the precincts and addresses here



Ride-Along Request Form [PDF]

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General Requirements



At time of testing, be at least 21 years of age and possess a High School Diploma or GED AND A MINIMUM OF ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:


At time of hire:
  • An Associate Degree or a minimum of 60-semester or 90 quarter hours from an accredited college or university. Courses must be 100 level or above, OR
  • A P.O.S.T. certificate, which is accepted by the State of Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), OR
  • At the time of testing:
  • Two years of active duty or four years reserve U.S. military service under honorable conditions, OR
  • Two years of continuous service working in law enforcement agencies (including 911-dispatchers) within the State of Oregon, OR
  • Two years of service as a reserve police officer (after initial training and with a minimum of 500 hours of service rendered), OR
  • Two years service as a police cadet (after initial training, minimum of 500 hours of service, and meeting the minimum age requirement of 21 years at the time of appointment), OR
  • Two years of continuous service working for a law enforcement agency exercising police powers, OR
  • Three years of continuous service in another police agency as a sworn police officer for a recognized state, county or city (municipal) entity (lateral) and must have been employed there within the last six months.

PORTLAND POLICE BUREAU'S ADDITIONAL SELECTION CRITERIA:


Following the successful completion of Hiring Phases 1 through 4, including the extensive background investigation, candidates are evaluated by the Bureau's Chain of Command in the following areas:

  • Work and Volunteer Experience
  • Extent of Demonstrated Ability to Interact and Work with Diverse Groups
  • Extent of Demonstrated Interest and Desire to Serve the Community and Others.

YOU ARE NOT LIKELY TO BE HIRED AS A PORTLAND POLICE OFFICER IF:


  • Traffic record, police contacts, accident report, and credit report show a continuing or recent pattern of poor decision making.
  • Personal life shows a history of poor judgment or refusal to confront problems.
  • Recently or are currently misrepresenting yourself or ignoring laws.
  • Provided controlled substances to others, or have been involved in long-term criminal activity.
  • Work history shows a pattern of unexcused absences, discipline, or discharge.
  • People who know you have doubts about your honesty or character.
  • Have body art above collarbone or below wrists, except for reasonable cosmetic purposes. Body art includes, but not limited to, branding, scarification and tattoos.

STATE & FEDERAL LAW - YOU CANNOT BE A POLICE OFFICER IN OREGON IF:


  • You cannot obtain a valid driver's license in your state of residence.
  • You will not be a U.S. citizen within one year of being hired. NOTE: Citizenship application requires 5 years of residency.
  • You have been convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicants (D.U.I.I.) within the past 3 years or have 2 or more D.U.I.I. convictions. A diversion or similar action is considered the same as a conviction. You have been convicted of Reckless Driving, Attempting to Elude, Hit and Run (Failure to perform the duties of a driver....), or Felony Driving While Suspended or Revoked within the last two years.
  • You have been convicted of a Domestic Violence Assault.
  • You have been convicted of a felony.
  • You have been convicted of any crime involving controlled substances.
  • You have a dishonorable discharge from the armed services.

THE STATE OF OREGON WILL NOT PROVIDE POLICE CERTIFICATION IF YOU HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF:


ORS 162.065, Perjury
ORS 162.075, False Swearing
ORS 162.085, Unsworn Falsification
ORS 163.408, Sexual Penetration with a Foreign Object II
ORS 163.411, Sexual Penetration with a Foreign Object I
ORS 163.435, Contributing to Sexual Delinquency of a Minor
ORS 163.445, Sexual Misconduct
ORS 163.575, Endangering Welfare of Minor
ORS 163.670, Use Child in Display Sexually Explicit Material
ORS 163.684, Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse I
ORS 163.686, Encouraging Child Sexual Abuse II
ORS 167.065, Furnishing Obscene Materials to Minors
ORS 167.070, Sending Obscene Materials to Minors
ORS 167.075, Exhibiting Obscene Performance to a Minor
ORS 167.080, Displaying Obscene Materials to Minors
ORS 162.335, Rape III
ORS 162.365, Rape II
ORS 163.375, Rape I
ORS 163.385, Sodomy III
ORS 163.395, Sodomy II
ORS 163.405, Sodomy I
ORS 163.415, Sex Abuse III
ORS 163.425, Sex Abuse II
ORS 163.427, Sex Abuse I
ORS 163.515, Bigamy
ORS 163.525, Incest
ORS 167.007, Prostitution
ORS 167.017, Compelling Prostitution
ORS 167.012, Promoting prostitution
ORS 163.465, Public Indecency