The selection process for Entry Police Officer includes a written multiple–choice exam, an oral interview involving hypothetical situations, a physical ability test, a background investigation that includes a polygraph examination, in addition to both a psychological and medical evaluation.
Please note that the City of Oakland reserves the right to modify the selection process based on administrative considerations, legal requirements, and/or business/operational necessities. Workshops, seminars, and practice tests are available. Please visit the Seminars page for specific dates, times, and locations.
P.O.S.T. Written Multiple–Choice Exam and Application
The first stage in the selection process is the completion of the application and supplemental questionnaire at www.oaklandnet.com/jobs. The examination measures basic skills such as writing and reading comprehension. This exam is administered in a proctored, group setting with oral instructions. Applicants who pass the P.O.S.T. written examination will receive notice regarding their scheduled Oral Interview Appointment.
Oral Board Interview
Successful applicants will participate in an interview designed to evaluate job–related skills and abilities such as oral communication, interpersonal skills, and judgment. In addition to general questions, applicants will be presented with hypothetical scenarios (either orally or on videotape) and asked to explain how they would respond to each situation.
After the scheduled interview, applicants will be given the Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ), which is a 32-page document to be completed by all applicants prior to their background investigation. The completed PHQ must be submitted to the Oakland Police Recruiting and Background Investigations Unit at the scheduled Physical Ability Test.
Physical Ability Test (PAT)
Applicants who pass the Oral Board Interview will be assigned a Physical Ability Test date and time after the interview, typically when they are notified of their interview results. The test is pass/fail and measures coordination, ability, balance, and strength. Applicants who pass the Physical Ability Test will proceed to complete the Phase I of the Psychological Assessment on the same day of the test.
The Physical Ability Test consists of a timed series of six (6) events. The first 5 events must be completed within 2 minutes and 35 seconds. The last event (handcuff simulation) requires you to participate for 30 seconds, while maintaining a proper posture (as explained below), in order to receive an overall passing grade. A failing grade will be assigned if you are unable to complete one or more of the six events in the allotted time.
PAT Event Information
- Cone Maze: While running through the cone maze, you may not knock over or move any of the cones from its original position. If you do, you will be asked to put the cone back to its original position. The additional time you use to do so will be counted toward your overall qualifying time.
- Fence Climb: You will have three (3) chances to climb over the 5-foot fence. If you fail to go over the fence after 3 attempts, the proctor will stop the test and give you a failing grade. While climbing the fence, you may not use the support on either side of the fence to assist you.
- Ditch Jump: You will have three (3) chances to jump over the simulated 4-foot ditch (rubber mats). Your foot must not come in contact with the ditch area at anytime. If you fail to complete this event after 3 attempts, the proctor will stop the test and give you a failing grade.
- Stair Climb/Window Entry: When climbing the stairs and going through the window, you must step on each stair on both the front and backside of the simulated window frame. You may use any part of the window frame to brace yourself in order to help facilitate your climb through the window frame.
- Dummy Drag: In order to pass this event, you must successfully drag the dummy around the designated cone and drop it after it crosses over the black tape marker. Then you will run as quickly as you can to the handcuff simulator platform. Your timed run will end when you touch the handcuff simulation platform.
- Handcuffing Simulator: This is the last event of the Physical Ability Test. You are allowed three (3) attempts to complete. You must grasp each end of the bar and bend the bar until both ends touch. You must hold the bar in this position for 30 seconds. You may not inter-lock your fingers and your hands must not touch your chest at any time. If you let the ends of the bar separate, even slightly, your time will be restarted and you must begin the event again. Remember: The time begins when the ends of the bar touch.
Pre–Offer Background/Psychological Suitability Assessment
Prior to a conditional job offer, applicants will be assessed for background and psychological suitability. The psychological assessment is designed to measure job–related traits and characteristics which are important for successful performance as a police officer including conscientiousness and the ability to work as part of a team.
Applicants may be rejected for background factors at any stage of the selection process. Providing fraudulent information at any step of the selection process may be grounds for removal from the process. Applicants will also be required to submit to a polygraph examination in connection with the investigation.
Final Post–Offer Processing
After a conditional job offer has been made; applicants will be assessed for compliance with Department medical and psychological standards. The medical evaluation will include screening for use of illegal drugs. Any remaining background issues will also be resolved. Character–related information discovered during the post–offer stage or failure to pass drug screening may be grounds for revocation of the conditional job offer and removal from hiring consideration.
In addition, applicants will be individually evaluated by the City Physician based on the ability to meet the physical demands of the position, including vision standards. For more information about the vision standards, visit the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) website at www.post.ca.gov.