Police Department Hiring Process

Unlike most jobs, becoming a law enforcement officer involves far more than completing an application and an 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.

Alongside 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 rough 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, select candidates are invited to complete the Personal History Statement (PHS).

Background Investigation

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

Oral Interview Board/Assessment

The oral board is a chance for members of the hiring authority to meet and talk with an applicant 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
  • Understanding of and interest in a policing career
  • Response to questions and scenarios

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

Psychological Testing

A psychological test is done 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 to ensure applicants are well suited for the job from a psychological standpoint.


A polygraph test is done 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. More specifically, applicants should be able to perform the “essential functions” required on the job. A medical exam 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.