Police Department Hiring Process

Unlike most jobs, becoming a law enforcement officer involves far more than completing an applicant and interview. Agencies run their applicants through a comprehensive series of tasks, each designed to narrow the field of applicants to advance only those who are most qualified.

As with the basic requirements, Texas has a Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) that establishes minimum selection standards for law enforcement officers. Recognizing that each state and agency may differ, below is a summary of the steps you are likely to see in the hiring process.

Basic Application/Prescreening Questionnaire

The initial application and prescreening questionnaire convey an applicant’s interest and general eligibility. Based on a review of this material, selected candidates are invited to complete the Personal History Statement (PHS).

Oral Interview Board/Assessment

The oral board is a chance for members of the hiring authority to meet and talk with applicants face to face. Oral interviews serve as a chance to discuss applicants’ qualifications and gauge their fit with the agency. During the oral interview applicants are evaluated on:

  • Communication skills
  • Response to questions and scenarios
  • Understanding of and interest in policing as a career

Background Investigation

An in-depth background evaluation will be conducted to ensure that the applicant(s) do not have any personal or professional issues that would preclude them from police employment. Such evaluations include criminal history, driving records, fingerprint, and social media checks. Additionally, the assessment consists of discussions with those who knows the applicant, including previous employers, military personnel, neighbors, and family members.

Assessment Centers will be held for the position of Sergeant and above.

An assessment center uses a series of simulated on-the-job challenges to gauge a candidate’s ability to perform the target job.

Firearms Qualifications

A minimum of 50 rounds, fired at ranges from point-blank to at least 15 yards with at least 20 rounds at or beyond seven yards, including at least one timed reload. The minimum passing percentage shall be 70% for each firearm.

Psychological Testing

The purpose of a psychological test is to ensure that the applicants are psychologically stable and mentally fit to handle the duties of law enforcement. This process evaluates character and emotional make-up geared to ensure applicants are well suited for the job from a psychological standpoint.


A polygraph test is utilized to verify information provided throughout the application process.

Medical Exam

This physical exam will evaluate if applicants are medically fit to meet the physical requirements of the job. Precisely, applicants should be able to perform the “essential functions” required on the job. Medical exams may include:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Urine test
  • Blood pressure
  • Screening test for illegal drugs

Dispatchers/Telecommunicators will follow the before mentioned process except for the polygraph and firearm.