San Jose Police Department Officer Requirements

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The San Jose Police Department (SJPD) is organized into four Bureaus comprising 11 divisions and over 50 specialized units. The mission of the SJPD is to promote public safety and develop and maintain community partnerships, which is part of its overarching goal of applying a multidisciplinary approach to solving problems in the community. The SJPD also embraces a diverse workforce and aims to recruit qualified professionals from all backgrounds.

Steps to Becoming an SJPD Officer

  • Meet the minimum qualifications for police recruits (see below).

  • Submit the online application.

  • Pass the written and physical agility tests.

  • Submit a personal history questionnaire.

  • Complete an Oral Board Exam panel interview.

  • Undergo the department’s background investigation.

  • Accept the conditional hire offer and complete training at the San Jose Police Academy.

  • Complete the SJPD Field Training Program.

  • Begin working as a solo beat officer.

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    How to Become a San Jose, California Police Officer

    To join the San Jose Police Department, prospective officers must have at least 40 semester or 60 quarter hours of college credit or four years of active military duty with an honorable discharge and meet the department’s hiring requirements. Eligible candidates must earn passing scores on the California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) written exam, physical agility exam, and a 1.5-mile run. Next, applicants must complete a personal history questionnaire, which is the foundation of the department’s full background check, as well as a panel interview with an SJPD oral board. Those who move on to the next stage of the process will be conditionally hired as recruits and complete 24 weeks of training at the San Jose Police Academy, followed by 17 weeks of field training.

    San Jose Police Officer Job Description

    All new San Jose police officers are assigned to the Patrol Division for the first three years of their tenure. While working in patrol, officers are equipped with body-worn cameras to patrol their “beat” and respond to service calls. The SJPD has embraced a 21st century policing model that emphasizes community policing, de-escalation training, and fair and impartial policing. Related to this, the department runs such programs as Coffee with a Cop and TEAM Kids. After three years of patrol duty, officers are eligible to test for promotions and/ or special assignment to such units as special investigations, gang suppression, or special operations.

    San Jose Police Officer Training, Prerequisites, and Educational Requirements

    Candidates for police officer jobs with the San Jose Police Department must be at least 21 years of age, have a valid driver’s license, be a US citizen or permanent resident who has applied for citizenship, and have completed at least 40 semester college credits (60 quarter hours). Four years of US military service with an honorable discharge can waive the college credit requirement. All prospective recruits must have at least 20/40 uncorrected vision. Candidates who have any felonies or who have been convicted of domestic violence or assault misdemeanors will be disqualified. Candidates who fulfill all the requirements may be given a conditional job offer to attend the police academy.

    The San Jose Police Academy is a 24-week program that includes 1,120 hours of training in academic subjects as well as physical conditioning. Topics covered include California law, firearms training, criminal investigations, and other courses related to maintaining and promoting officer and public safety. Training takes place from 7 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday. Following graduation from the academy, recruits complete an additional 17 weeks of field training, after which permanently hired officers will be assigned to the Patrol Division.

    San Jose Police Officer Salary and Job Outlook

    According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of police officers in the San Jose metro area was $114,520 as of 2015.1 During academy training, San Jose police cadets are paid $34.59 per hour.2 After completing California POST and police academy training and earning assignment to patrol, officers are paid an annual salary starting at $87,176, with annual step increases up to $125,504.2 Further increases are available based on promotion in rank or special assignment. Benefits for all officers include a four-day work week, medical, dental, and life insurance coverage, and 80 hours of paid vacation with increases based on seniority.

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    Contact Information

    San Jose Police Department
    201 W Mission St
    San Jose, CA 95110
    (408) 277-8900

    Frequently Asked Questions

    • What education is needed to become a police officer in San Jose?

      Answer: The SJPD requires all applicants for entry-level police recruit positions to have at least 40 semester hours of college credit from an accredited school. However, having an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related subject can provide an edge when seeking promotion to higher ranks or to special assignments.

    • What San Jose Police Department jobs are available?

      Answer: As it serves a major metro, there are over 50 specialized units and assignments within the SJPD. All new officers are required to work for at least three years in patrol. After meeting this requirement, officers may apply to work for such units as the Drug Task Force, Crime Scene Unit, Homicide Unit, Intelligence Unit, Vice Squad, or Mounted Unit. The SJPD is also part of the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) and Bay Area Auto Theft Task Force (BATTF).

    • How much do San Jose police officers make?

      Answer: The starting salary for a sworn San Jose police officer with POST training was $87,176 per year as of 2015.2 Step increases based on longevity are available up to a maximum of $125,504 per year.2 Earning promotion to supervisory ranks such as sergeant or to special assignment can lead to higher salaries for qualified officers.

    1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara:
    2. San Jose Police Department:

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