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San Diego Police Department Officer Requirements

How to Become a San Diego Police Officer

Prospective San Diego police recruits must be US citizens or permanent residents, be at least 21 years of age by graduation from the police academy, have a valid California driver’s license, and have a high school diploma or GED. The first step to becoming a San Diego police officer is to take a typing exam. Next, candidates must pass a written test that measures reading and writing skills as well as cognitive abilities and a physical exam, which is based on the actual physical demands officers deal with on the job. After passing the physical exam, a background check and polygraph are completed. A recruit will then have a hiring interview. The final two steps are a psychological and medical evaluation. To start the process, candidates should go to the San Diego Police Department’s website.

San Diego Police Officer Job Description

All newly graduated police officers start on patrol units, where they are responsible for patrolling their assigned area within the 331 square miles encompassed in the San Diego city limits. Officers maintain order by enforcing laws and ordinances, forming relationships within the community, and investigating crimes. There are several divisions within the police department that support this mission, such as detectives, SWAT, K-9, school patrol, and traffic patrol.

San Diego Police Officer Training, Prerequisites and Educational Requirements

The minimum education requirements to be hired as a San Diego police cadet are a high school diploma or GED, or a two-year degree from an accredited college or university. In addition, recruits must obtain a typing certificate demonstrating the ability to type at least 30 words per minute. An applicant must also be a US citizen, have a valid driver’s license, and be 21 years of age by the time he or she graduates the academy.

Once accepted into the academy, recruits will complete a 25-week training course that develops academic, physical, and policing skills. Training takes place at the San Diego Regional Enforcement Training Center on the Miramar College campus. Recruits study a wide range of topics including criminal law, patrol theories, laws of arrest, defense tactics, firearms training, search and seizure, and rules of evidence. Graduates of the academy are promoted to the rank of Police Officer I and complete an additional 12 weeks of field training under the supervision of a Field Training Officer.

San Diego Police Officer Salary and Job Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, police officers in the San Diego area earn an average annual salary of $78,420.1 Police recruits are paid an annual salary of $48,000 during academy training; upon promotion to the rank of Police Officer I, officers earn a base salary of $54,000 a year.2 Officers can receive pay increases based on longevity thereafter, up to a maximum of $76,000 per year, and can also earn higher salaries based on further promotions in rank.2 Benefits available to all San Diego police officers include a four-day work week, paid holidays and leave, and pay incentives based on shift differentials, educational attainment, special assignments, and overtime. About 5,880 police officers worked in the San Diego metro as of 2015.1

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandiegopolicedepartment?fref=ts&rf=112177955460553
Twitter: @SanDiegoPD

SDPD Headquarters
1401 Broadway
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 531-2000

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, San Diego-Carlsbad: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_41740.htm
2. San Diego Police Department: