Los Angeles Police Department Officer Requirements
How To Become A Los Angeles Police Officer
The Los Angeles Police Department, or LAPD, serves and protects nearly four million citizens and encompasses an area of over 467 square miles.1 Because of the city’s large diversity of citizens, the police officers in the 18 divisions of the LAPD come from a wide array of backgrounds. While some officers only patrol in cars, other officers are required to perform their duties patrolling by motorcycle, by helicopter, or on horseback. The LAPD also maintains units dedicated to specialty areas as counterterrorism and special operations, gangs and narcotics, and forensic science.
Eligibility Requirements and Application Process for Officers of the LAPD
Individuals wishing to become LAPD officers must first meet eligibility requirements. They must be at least 21 years of age and be a high school graduate, or have the equivalent such as a GED or California High School Proficiency Examination. Candidates must be a United States citizen or a permanent resident alien who has applied for citizenship through the proper channels. One does not have to be a resident of Los Angeles to become an LAPD officer.
Upon meeting eligibility requirements, individuals can apply for a position with the LAPD by filling out the Preliminary Background Application, or PBA. This background check is done to ensure that potential candidates have the right mindset to handle the stress and responsibilities they will face in the line of duty. The background check will delve into such areas as financial and personal history, employment background, the candidate’s honesty, and interpersonal skills.
The Nine-Step Process to Become an LAPD Officer
The LAPD has a nine-step process to become a police officer. Once candidates have met residency and educational requirements and submitted the PBA, which is step one, they move on to step two, writing a Personal Qualification Essay. This essay is administered at a testing site and is designed to determine an individual’s personal qualifications to become an officer. The remaining steps that potential officers will need to pass include a physical abilities test, a background investigation, a polygraph test, a department interview, a medical exam and psychological evaluation, and finally certification and appointment. Once selected, a successful candidate who makes it through all nine steps will then move on to the Police Academy for training. This is an intense six-month training course covering such areas as driving, weapons training, public relations, law regulations, and other subjects.
LAPD Salary and Benefits
The LAPD offers qualified individuals the opportunity to serve their community, job security, good wages, generous benefits, and opportunities for advancement. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 29,160 police officers work in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area and earn an average salary of $96,900.2
The starting base salary for beginning LAPD police officers with a high school diploma is $59,717.3 Pay begins the first day of police academy training. After completion of the academy, officers receive a salary increase to $62,974; after completing a probationary period, officers are promoted to the rank of Police Officer II, with a base salary of $67,505.3 Officers promoted to the rank of Police Officer II who hold a college degree and/ or prior law enforcement or military experience receive a higher base salary of $70,136.3
Los Angeles Police Department
100 West 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
1. Los Angeles Police Department: http://www.lapdonline.org/inside_the_lapd/content_basic_view/1063
2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_31080.htm
3. Los Angeles Police Department Officer Recruitment: http://joinlapd.com/recruitment.cfm?section=salary