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Entry-Level and Lateral Police Officers

Seattle Police Department
Seattle, WA Full-time
Posted on June 14, 2019

Patrol work is the backbone of policing.  It is an incredibly diverse, active and exciting job.  Every day is a chance to respond to a variety of calls, interact with a wide spectrum of people, and solve new and ongoing problems.  Working patrol has both the camaraderie of being part of a team, while also giving you a lot of freedom, autonomy and independence.

What many patrol officers say they love about the job is the immediacy of the work - directly helping people with tangible results - yet at the end of the shift you are done with your job and don't have to "take your work home with you". Because they come across a wide variety of incidents in their day-to-day work, patrol officers are given extensive training in many different skill sets and attend mandatory training throughout their careers. Having a background and understanding of patrol work is absolutely vital before a transition to any other type of police work. Because of this, all sworn officers must work as a patrol officer for at least three years before they can be assigned to a specialty unit or be promoted.

Minimum Hiring Standards:

The following are requirements of the State of Washington for law enforcement officers:

  • Applicant must be at least 20.5 years of age at the time of taking the written exam. This requirement is necessary to ensure all police applicants will be able to legally enter all premises that SPD responds to. There is no maximum age limit.
  • Proof of high school graduation or a certified GED.
  • Applicant must pass the Criminal Justice Training Commission Fitness Ability Test.
  • An applicant must be a United States Citizen, or lawful permanent resident to be hired.
  • Military Record (when applicable) - The applicant must have been discharged under honorable conditions (fair employment laws apply).
  • The applicant must have a valid Washington State Driver’s License prior to being hired. It is understood that out of state candidates won't have this at time of application, but they must get one prior to accepting a job. Driving is an essential function of this position with SPD.



In order to patrol the city 24/7, Patrol Officers work on a rotating schedule. Patrol officers work four (9 hour) days in a row on a rotating schedule which includes working weekends and holidays. Officers are assigned to one of three watches:

  • First Watch: 0300-1200 or 0330 - 1230
  • Second Watch: 1100-2000 or 1130 - 2030
  • Third Watch: 1900-0400 or 1930 - 0430



Uniforms and Equipment

  • Uniform Allowance: Yearly uniform allowance of $550.
  • Equipment issued by SPD: Glock 9 mm, or .40 caliber duty weapon and take home portable police radio. Laterals have options for .45 caliber.

Vacation and Benefits

As part of the largest city in the Northwest, the City of Seattle offers generous leave and family coverage. Benefits begin the first day of Academy Training:

  • 10 Paid Holidays plus
    16 hours Personal Holiday
  • 12 Days paid Vacation per year to start. Accrual increases with Longevity.
  • 12 Days paid Sick Leave
    (can be used for spouse/domestic partner, child or parent)
    (unlimited accrual)
  • Enrollment in Washington State LEOFF2 Retirement
  • Deferred Compensation Plan (Optional) 
    (City Matches up to $4,262 per year)
  • Premium and Incentive pay depending on assignment


Medical/Dental/Vision/Life Insurance

  • Benefits start within 30 days of being hired.
  • No extra cost for Dependants Coverage and Domestic Partner Coverage is available.


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The Seattle Police Department is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity in its workforce. At SPD we acknowledge and honor the fundamental value and dignity of all individuals and pledge ourselves to creating and maintaining an environment that respects diverse traditions, heritages, and experiences.