Application and Selection Procedures

Application and Selection Procedures

Step 1:

First, complete and submit an online application with the City and County of San Francisco. To do so, follow the steps below:

  • Visit the Entry Level (Q-2) Police Officer Employment Opportunities page on the Department of Human Resources website
  • Click on the link “Click HERE to apply” at the top of the job announcement, then read and acknowledge the information
  • Select either “I am a New User” if you have not registered before, or “I have Registered Previously”
  • Note: You will need to use an e-mail address for login purposes. Use an email address that you will maintain throughout the examination process to receive all official communications
  • Follow instructions on the screen
  • After submitting your application online, you will receive an e-mail acknowledging receipt of the application. If you have questions regarding the online application process, please contact Jen Lo by email to [email protected].
  • Computer kiosks are available for the public (from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday) to file online applications in the lobby of the Department of Human Resources at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco.

Step 2:

Next, schedule yourself to take the “FrontLine National” law enforcement examination administered by the National Testing Network (NTN). Do so by visiting the NTN website below:

If you have problems scheduling the examination, the link for NTN Customer Support is:

As part of this process, you will need to establish an account with NTN. A fee is required to take the FrontLine National examination. Candidates with demonstrated financial hardship may submit a request to have the fee waived prior to test registration. See “Candidate FAQ #27” on the NTN website ( to learn more on how to apply for a fee waiver.

There are three components to the FrontLine National examination: a video-based human relations test, a reading ability test, and a written language ability test. Testing takes approximately 2 1/2 hours. Upon receipt of test scores from NTN, the City and County of San Francisco will notify candidates of their pass/fail status on this test component.

Please note that the NTN website provides a description of the test components and directions for scheduling a test for the San Francisco Police Department. The website offers a practice test for purchase with sample items.

Step 3:

Candidates that attain passing scores on the FrontLine National examination will be notified to take a Physical Ability Test (PAT), a pass/fail examination. Candidates’ PAT test dates will be determined based on their FrontLine National test dates. Through a series of physical exercises, the PAT will assess physical abilities needed to perform essential police officer tasks and successfully complete academy training. These physical abilities include: muscular strength, muscular endurance, aerobic capacity, equilibrium, and abilities involving all-out effort. The PAT will assess a combination of these abilities.

Candidates will be notified of their pass/fail status on the PAT. Those that do not pass may request, no sooner than 3 months from their first attempt, for another opportunity to re-take the PAT. Candidates will have a maximum of two opportunities to take the PAT during the two years after first taking the FrontLine National exam

A description of the exercises that comprise the PAT will be made available at a later date on the Department of Human Resources website (

Step 4:

Candidates that attain passing scores on the PAT will be notified to take an Oral Interview, which is also a pass/fail examination. Oral Interview test dates will be determined based on their PAT test dates. Candidates will be notified of their pass/fail status on the Oral Interview. The Oral Interview will assess interpersonal skills, problem solving, oral communication skills and abilities not tested by other examination components.

In accordance with Civil Service Commission Rule 211.15.1, candidates may appeal the administration of the examination components. All appeals must be filed in writing with the Department of Human Resources within five (5) calendar days of the administration of the examination component giving rise to the appeal. A day that the Department of Human Resources is closed shall not be counted as the fifth (5th) calendar day. Appeals shall be limited as defined in Rule 211.15.1 (available at

Eligible List / Certification Rule

Candidates that pass all three test components (i.e., the FrontLine National exam, the PAT and the Oral Interview) will have their names added to the eligible list. Candidate names will remain on the list for a maximum period of 24 months. The Police Department has the option to hire any candidate on the eligible list (“Rule of List”). Therefore, placement on this list neither guarantees nor implies that you will be offered employment. The Police Department will administer the remaining processes outlined below to determine who shall advance further in the hiring process and be considered for appointment.

Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ) Evaluation
The PHQ evaluation is a survey in a multiple-choice format, which solicits information regarding each applicant’s background and criminal history. The PHQ identifies those candidates who appear most likely to pass the full background investigation.

Employment, Character, and Background Investigation
The employment, character, and background investigation consists of a thorough study of the candidate's history prior to appointment to determine fitness for this employment. Reasons for rejection include use of controlled substances, felony convictions, repeated or serious violations of the law, inability to work cooperatively with co-workers, inability to accept supervision, moral character (integrity), safe driving practices, confronting and overcoming problems, omissions of information or incomplete documents, decision making and judgment, personal accountability and responsibility, work habits, truthfulness, cooperating with the investigation process or other relevant factors.

Review of Judicial and Driving Records
A review of judicial and driving records will be conducted for all candidates. Candidates must give a full and complete listing of all motor vehicle violations on their background forms. Driving records will be obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Any significant discrepancy between the candidate's statement and Department of Motor Vehicles records will be cause for disqualification.

The following misdemeanor violations may be cause for rejection if they occurred within the past three years immediately prior to the date of application and extending to the time of appointment: drunk driving; reckless driving; hit and run with personal injury or hit and run with property damage; other violation(s) indicating individual disregard for safe vehicle operation. Candidates who incur negligent operator probation or license suspension at any time within one year prior to the date of application will be disqualified. The same is true for candidates who incur license suspension or operator probation at any time from the date of application to the date of appointment. Two moving violation convictions in the last 24 months or three moving violation convictions in the last 36 months from the date of application may be cause for rejection.

Polygraph Examination
A polygraph examination will be used to verify the veracity and accuracy of information submitted by candidates regarding, but not necessarily limited to: use of controlled substances; driving, criminal, medical and employment history; and other job-related factors.

Testing for Use of Controlled Substances
Testing for use of controlled substances is required. Any use of controlled substances after the date of application may be cause for rejection; rejection is mandatory for illegal use. Rejection for prior use of controlled substance(s) is based on the type of substance(s) used and the frequency and recency of such usage. All information submitted by candidates regarding the use of controlled substances will be reviewed during the polygraph examination.

Psychological Examination
The psychological examination consists of written tests and a clinical interview to determine the candidate's fitness and suitability for police work.

Medical Examination
The medical examination consists of a rigorous medical screening and is currently provided by Occupational Health Services at San Francisco General Hospital. Each candidate will be individually evaluated and any current or past medical condition that is likely to compromise the candidate's ability to perform the essential functions of the position may be cause for rejection. Height and weight guidelines will be strictly enforced. The Police Department Physician will evaluate the results of the initial medical examination to determine the candidate's fitness for employment as a Police Officer. The medical examination includes the taking of blood and urine samples.

Vision Testing
Vision testing is required prior to appointment. If correction is necessary, corrective lenses must be available at the time of the test. While each situation will be evaluated on an individual basis, all candidates must have a visual acuity of 20/30 either unaided or corrected by eyeglasses or contact lenses. Vision testing will be done using binocular vision only. If eyeglasses or hard contact lenses are worn, uncorrected binocular vision must be at least 20/100. If soft contact lenses are worn, there is no limitation on the uncorrected vision, provided the wearer has successfully worn these soft lenses for at least six months. All candidates must have entirely full visual fields and must achieve a passing score on a color vision test. Color vision deficiencies may be cause for rejection.

Hearing Testing
Hearing testing is also required. Loss of hearing may be disqualifying. The uncorrected auditory threshold for each ear in the frequencies of 500 to 600 Hz should be 25 db or less.

Special Notes

Important employment information for the City and County of San Francisco can be obtained at or at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor.

Applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum eligibility requirements for this examination announcement can find information on requesting reasonable accommodation at:

Applicants must be guided solely by the provisions of this announcement, including requirements, time periods and other particulars, except when superseded by federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations. Clerical errors may be corrected by the posting of the correction on the Department of Human Resources website at

The terms of this examination announcement may be appealed under Civil Service Rule 211.5.1, provided that such appeal is submitted in writing in the Department of Human Resources, 1 S Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103-5413 by close of business on the 5th business day following the issuance date of this examination announcement.  Go to for more information on applicable appeal rights and submission requirements under the Civil Service Rules; and for Civil Service Rules, policies and procedures on announcements, applications and examinations.

Candidates must pass each of the selection components unless otherwise noted on the announcement. The Department reserves the right to waive selection components for individuals based on prior experience or certification.

If candidate populations exceed the capacity for a given PAT or Oral Interview test date, the City reserves the right to schedule candidates across the next, available test dates.

Candidates that possess a current Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certificate and have two years of patrol experience should indicate on the supplemental questionnaire portion of their job application that they are “lateral candidates”.  Lateral candidates will need to pass the FrontLine National examination, the work sample test battery (i.e., WSTB administered by the South Bay Regional Academy) and the Oral Interview to be placed on the eligible list and be considered for appointment.   If hired, lateral candidate may be placed in abbreviated academy and Field Training Officer (FTO) training programs. These candidates may also start at a salary step higher than the entry level.

Upon successful completion of the FTO program, candidates with a verified Intermediate or Advanced POST certificate may apply for a salary upgrade.

Candidates who are rejected for hire based upon a history of controlled substance abuse, psychological testing and/or background factors are not eligible to reapply for two (2) years from the date of disqualification. The Police Department reserves the right to disqualify individuals who have previously been rejected for hire based upon conditions that are not subject to change, e.g., non-correctable medical conditions, felony convictions, controlled substance abuse. In addition, the Department may reject, within a two (2) year period from final disqualification, individuals who have previously been rejected for hire based upon psychological testing or background factors. Final disposition, in the instance of an appeal of disqualification, shall be that date on which all administrative remedies have been exhausted.

Candidates on the eligible list may waive an offer of appointment one time only.  A second waiver of appointment renders candidates ineligible.

Any changes to your contact information (name, address, phone number, etc.) should be updated immediately.  To update your contact information, go to, click on “Update My Contact Info,” enter your UserID and Password, then enter your new information.  You must click on “Update Contact Information” again at the bottom of the page in order for your changes to be submitted.  Failure to maintain current contact information may result in loss of eligibility.

Applicants should keep copies of all documents submitted, as these will not be returned.

Veteran’s Preference

To be eligible for Veteran’s Preference, an applicant must have served on active duty (non-reserve duty) and been released from active duty under conditions other than dishonorable at the time of application filing. Applicants who served in the military after January 31, 1955 for at least 181 consecutive days of active duty prior to discharge may be eligible for Veteran’s Preference. Applicants who served prior to this date or who served in time of war or during an expedition for service in which a medal was authorized by the government of the United States may also be eligible. Widows/widowers or surviving domestic partners of deceased eligible veterans may also qualify for Veteran’s Entitlement credit. In order to be considered for Veteran’s Preference, applicants must submit a copy of their Form DD214 or other acceptable documentation and complete a City and County of San Francisco Veteran’s Preference Application. Widows/widowers or surviving domestic partners must also provide documentation of relationship to deceased veteran, and the veteran’s death certificate. Individuals who have received permanent appointment with the City and County of San Francisco from an eligible list and who successfully completed the required probationary period are not eligible for Veteran’s Preference Points.

Micki Callahan, Director of Human Resources
Announcement No.: CCT-Q002-060667
Issued: November 7, 2013
Public Safety Team, JLo, 415.551.8946

Disaster Service Workers

All City and County of San Francisco employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the City requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.



Police Officer Employment Information

Recruitment Home
General Information and Qualifications
Salary and Benefits
Application and Selection Procedures
Lateral Entry Program
List of Current Job Openings
Background Unit / Current Candidate Info
The Physical Ability Test
Frequently Asked Questions

Have Questions? Contact the San Francisco Police Department Recruitment Unit

850 Bryant Street, Room 577-15A, San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 415-734-3331 or 415-734-3332
Fax: 415-734-3344

mail30x30.jpg[email protected]