About Police Officer Recruit & Lateral Testing


The testing process evaluates all areas of an applicant's life to find the best police officer recruit and lateral candidates. The phases of the testing process are outlined below.

Application Process: The process begins by completing an online application. Those who successfully complete the application become part of a candidate pool for up to one year and have the opportunity to attend one of several tests over the course of the year. Recruit and lateral applicants complete the same application. More test instructions are provided to those in the candidate pool prior to each test. Back to Top  

Physical Agility Test: Applicants who are invited to test complete a physical agility test. The test has three components:

  • 1½ mile run in no more than 14:00 minutes
  • 21 or more pushups without stopping with no time limit
  • 29 or more sit-ups in no more than 1:00 minute

An applicant must successfully pass all three components to move forward in the process. Applicants should bring water and wear athletic clothing and shoes during the test. Back to Top

Tutorial & Study Material:

Click here to watch a video demonstrating the approved pushup and sit-up technique.

Click here for a candidate orientation guide and online practice test.  These are available for purchase but only through the test company. All related questions should be referred to the test company.

Written Examination: The written exam is taken after the successful completion of the physical agility test.  Arizona POST certified officers do not complete the written exam.

The exam includes reading comprehension, grammar, spelling, problem solving, memory and other questions. The exam takes approximately two hours to complete and is scored upon completion. Applicants who attain a score of 70% or higher are placed on an eligibility list. Arizona POST certified applicants who are not required to complete the written exam are also placed on the eligibility list. Back to Top

Panel Interview: The most eligible applicants will be contacted and scheduled for additional test phases, including a panel interview. It may take several weeks or months for a candidate to be invited to continue in the process.

Applicants may find the interview to be different from other interviews. Applicants have time to prepare answers to a number of questions but once the interview begins panel members will not ask follow-up or clarifying questions. Panel members do not know anything about the applicant so only the information provided by the applicant can be evaluated by the interview board. Applicant performance will also be evaluated with a scenario during the panel interview. Back to Top

Background Interview: During the background interview, a detective will speak with the applicant extensively and conduct a thorough review of an applicant’s life and history. Back to Top 

Polygraph Examination: Applicants may be scheduled for a polygraph examination after the background interview.  Only the most qualified candidates will be invited to a polygraph examination. Back to Top

Psychological Evaluation: Should an applicant move forward, he or she will be provided a conditional offer of employment and scheduled for a psychological evaluation. This evaluation ensures there are no psychological issues that would prevent an applicant from having a successful career as a police officer. Back to Top

Medical Examination: Applicants who successfully complete the psychological evaluation will be scheduled for a medical examination. Once an applicant has successfully completed the medical examination, he or she will be required to retake and successfully complete the physical agility test.  Applicants who complete these phases will be scheduled to attend the police academy. Back to Top

*Out-of-State Recruit & Lateral Applicants: All out-of-state applicants need to be in Tempe on the scheduled dates for the physical agility test and written exam.  The department will attempt to accommodate out-of-state applicants by minimizing travel during test phases.  Out-of-state lateral applicants who are are offered employment may be eligible for an Arizona POST waiver exam or may need to attend the police academy in Arizona.  Out-of-state lateral applicants should contact a recruiter for more information.  Back to Top