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Application Process

Application Process (image)

To join the Los Angeles police force, download the formal job listing as posted by the City of Los Angeles.

In general, you will need to be prepared, do some studying and be honest and forthcoming. For in-depth detail on each step in the process and how to prepare for it, visit Prepare for the Tests and find the Police Department recruitment downloads section.

There are seven steps to the application process:

Step 1 - Preliminary Background Application (PBA) and Job Preview Questionnaire (JPQ)

All applicants must complete the online, interactive Preliminary Background Application (PBA) and Job Preview Questionnaire (JPQ) prior to taking the written test. Go to and click on "How to Apply." The online PBA will identify issues that you should resolve before beginning the selection process and will tell you if you have a realistic chance of success in the background investigation portion of the selection process. The online JPQ includes questions designed to help you better understand the nature of Police Officer work. Bring the printed results with you to the test site.

Step 2 - Personal Qualifications Essay (PQE)

The Personal Qualifications Essay (PQE) consists of essay questions related to judgment and decision making and behavioral flexibility. Your written communication skills will also be evaluated. If you fail, you may retake the PQE after three months.

Effective September 15, 2012, any person appearing for a civil service test administered by the City of Los Angeles Personnel Department MUST present a valid State or Federal issued photo identification card when appearing for the test. Any candidate who does not have a valid State or Federal issued photo identification card WILL NOT be allowed to take the test.

Step 3 - Background Investigation and Polygraph Examination

The Background Investigation begins with completion of a Personal History Statement, which requires compilation of extensive biographical information, fingerprinting, and an interview with a background investigator. The investigation will also include checks of employment, police, financial, education, and military records and interviews with family members, neighbors, supervisors, co-workers, and friends. The Polygraph examination is conducted to confirm information obtained during the selection process. Check here to see if there are any issues that may impede your progress in the Selection Process.

Step 4 - Physical Abilities Test (PAT)

The Physical Abilities Test (PAT) consists of two portions. The first portion is designed to measure strength, agility, and endurance. The second portion measures aerobic capacity and it will be administered usually at the time of the medical evaluation. Passing the PAT only indicates the minimum physical ability required to undertake academy training.

Step 5 - Department Interview

The Department Interview will be conducted by a panel to assess your personal accomplishments, job motivation, instrumentality, interpersonal skills, continuous learning orientation, and oral communication skills. (Only those candidates who pass the interview will be scheduled for further testing.) If you fail, you may retake the Department Interview after three months. Beginning January 2010, candidates will be required to submit their Fitness Logs as part of the Department Interview, as it will be considered in your evaluation.

Step 6 - Medical Evaluation and Psychological Evaluation

The Medical Evaluation is thorough and it is essential that you be in excellent health with no conditions, which would restrict your ability to safely do police work. Written psychological tests and the second portion of the PAT will also be administered at this time. The medical evaluation also includes a Psychological Evaluation that consists of an individual oral interview and evaluation by a City psychologist on factors related to successful performance in the difficult and stressful job of Police Officer. The information evaluated includes the written psychological tests as well as the background findings.

Step 7 - Certification and Appointment

Certification and Appointment are the final steps in the selection process. To be considered for hiring, you must have successfully completed all steps in the selection process. When a candidate is appointed will depend on the next available class date, selection by LAPD management, and accordance with provisions of the Consent Decree.

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