San Francisco Police Department Officer Requirements

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Updated October 14, 2020 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) has an authorized force of over 1,900 officers.1 Youth engagement and community policing are major focus areas for the SFPD, which runs such initiatives as the SFPD Community Police Academy, the SF Police Activities League, and the SFPD Wilderness Adventure Youth Program. The department also runs a summer intern program for high school students.

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Steps to Becoming an SFPD Officer

  • Meet the minimum qualifications for prospective officers (see below).

  • Complete an online application.

  • Schedule and take the Frontline National law enforcement exam.

  • Pass the physical ability test (PAT).

  • Appear for an in-person interview.

  • Pass the background investigation, polygraph exam, and drug screen.

  • Pass the psychological exam.

  • Pass the medical exam, vision test, and hearing test.

  • Complete police academy training.

  • Begin working as a San Francisco police officer.

  • How to Become a San Francisco, California Police Officer

    Prospective San Francisco police officers who meet the requirements outlined below must first submit an online application. Eligible candidates will be notified to schedule the Frontline National written and video-based entry-level law enforcement exam. The next steps in the San Francisco police officer evaluation process include a physical ability exam and an oral interview. Once these stages have been passed, the candidate will undergo a thorough background investigation. Those still on the eligibility list at this stage will complete psychological and medical evaluations. Finally, recruits must attend and graduate from the San Francisco Police Department Basic Academy.

    San Francisco Officer Job Description

    San Francisco police officers protect people and property in the San Francisco area. They are entrusted with enforcing laws, fighting crime, and providing assistance during emergencies. There are several divisions within the SFPD with specialized duties that can be a fit for diverse career goals. SFPD officers may qualify to serve in such units as Motorcycle Enforcement, the SWAT Team, the Canine Unit, the Mounted Patrol, the Explosives Ordinance Disposal Unit, or the Marine Unit. They may also apply to serve in the Airport Bureau or SFPD Training Academy.

    San Francisco Police Officer Training, Prerequisites, and Education Requirements

    In order to serve as a San Francisco police officer, an applicant must be a US citizen or permanent resident alien, be at least 20 years old (and 21 years old by the time of appointment), and have a valid driver's license. Candidates cannot have a felony conviction in the state of California or a conviction from another jurisdiction that would be considered a felony in California. They cannot have a misdemeanor conviction which prohibits the ownership, possession, or control of a firearm. Candidates must pass all stages of the selection process in order to be hired as police recruits.

    Selected recruits will attend the SFPD Basic Academy. The training academy includes 34 weeks of academic and physical instruction to prepare officers to be effective in the field and uphold the department's philosophy of de-escalation. After graduation from the academy, recruits complete additional field training under the supervision of a field training officer before becoming fully-fledged San Francisco police officers.

    San Francisco Police Officer Salary and Job Outlook

    According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for police officers in the San Francisco metropolitan area was $108,150 as of 2015.2 The starting salary for officers with the SFPD is $83,018, with annual step increases up to a maximum of $115,544 after seven years of service.1 An associate's degree or bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related subject will provide more opportunities for advancement within the department, which can lead to higher salaries. Officers also receive comprehensive benefits including paid vacation and sick leave, incentives for bilingual abilities and special assignments, and retirement benefits. As of 2015, about 4,430 police officers worked in the San Francisco metro area.2

    Contact Information

    Twitter: @SFPD

    San Francisco Police Department Headquarters
    1245 3rd St
    San Francisco, CA 94158

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Is the San Francisco Police Department hiring?

    The SFPD recruits for new officers periodically throughout the year. To find out if applications are currently being accepted, visit the SFPD website.

    What is the average San Francisco police salary?

    On average police officers in San Francisco make $108,150 per year according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.2

    How many weeks does San Francisco police academy training last?

    Training at the SFPD Basic Academy for new recruits takes approximately 34 weeks. The curriculum includes physical as well as academic training that thoroughly prepares recruits for police work.

    1. San Francisco Police Department:
    2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco:

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