How to Become a Police Officer

Being a Police Officer is a job that comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility and dedication. Therefore, the Santa Monica Police Department takes the selection process very seriously. We have long set a standard of providing excellent public service with the highest level of professionalism.

If you are interested in civilian (non-sworn) employment opportunities, the hiring process and requirements vary. Please contact the Human Resources Department for more information.

We hire for character and train for skill.

Continue the Process:

The hiring process:

  1. Apply Online

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     All applicants are required to complete a City application. When submitting your application, you must provide clear, concise, and complete information regarding your qualifications for the position. Those candidates whose qualifications best meet the City's needs will be invited to participate in further testing for the position. 

  2. In-Person Written Examination

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    The written P.O.S.T. examination will test applicants' skills in vocabulary, spelling and reading comprehension. The exam also tests the applicant's general knowledge and may have some reference to law enforcement principles. Test examples may be found on the P.O.S.T. Website. A written test is not administered to Police Officer Lateral or Pre-Service applicants. The Santa Monica Police Department is NO LONGER accepting a T-Score Waiver. 

  3. Physical Fitness Qualifier (PFQ)

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    This examination consists of four timed exercises that are designed to measure strength and endurance. The exam includes sit-ups, push-ups, dummy drag and a 1.5 mile run.

    For assistance with preparing for the PFQ, we highly suggest attending a Training and Preparation Session (TAPS).

    The TAPS class is specifically designed for those who are interested in becoming Santa Monica Police Officers. The first half of the course gives insight into the testing process, including "tips and tricks" on how to prepare and pass the oral exam. The second half of the course is a practice physical fitness qualifier (PFQ).  Participation in the training is voluntary and not required as a condition for consideration as a Santa Monica Police Officer.


    • Meet with Police Officers from the Santa Monica Police Department
    • Prepare for your career in law enforcement
    • Discuss and ask questions regarding the hiring process
    • Participate in a practice Physical Fitness Qualifier


  4. Oral Interview

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    The oral interview is the first assessment of the applicant's qualifications and verbal skills. Failure to attain a passing score on this interview will result in the applicant's disqualification from further processing. Applicants who obtain a passing score will be placed on an eligibility list, which is valid for one year, and may be selected to proceed in the process.

  5. Background Investigation

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    Applicants who have successfully completed all prior phases of the selection process are required to undergo a thorough background investigation. The investigation is used to determine an applicant's moral character and suitability for employment in law enforcement. The investigation shall include, but is not limited to, the following reviews: criminal record, polygraph examination, driving record, credit history, military record, current and previous employment history and references.

  6. Psychological & Medical Examinations

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    Applicants will be evaluated for their suitability for employment as Santa Monica Police Officers. All applicants must also successfully complete a City medical examination, including a drug screening, to determine if they meet the City's medical standards for the position of Police Officer.