Frequently Asked Questions

Preparation and Minimum Qualifications for a Police Officer Recruit and Lateral

Police Officer Recruit and Lateral Testing

Pay & Benefits

The City of Tempe and Tempe PD

How do I become a police officer and what are the minimum qualifications? You should first determine if you meet minimum qualifications to be certified as a police officer in Arizona by visiting the Arizona POST website. Next, research the job of a police officer to ensure you have an understanding of day-to-day responsibilities. This may include law enforcement websites and publications or speaking with police officers. You may also contact a recruiterBack to Top

What can I do to prepare myself for the test and a career as a police officer? You should maintain high moral character and physical fitness. Applicants could work to improve their education beyond high school in a variety of ways to include higher education, mastering a foreign language or attending technical schools. There are no preferred degree programs or job history.  All diverse education, military and work backgrounds are welcome. Back to Top

How does the recruit testing process work? Click here for information about the testing process. Back to Top

How long does the recruit testing process take? The initial phases of the testing process occur over a relatively short time. The human resources department will announce a test and information will be posted on this website. The most qualified applicants are invited to the testing process and will complete a physical agility test, written examination and panel interview over the course of a few days. If all phases are successfully completed, only the most qualified candidates will be invited to continue in the process, which could take up to six months or longer to complete. Back to Top 

When is the next police recruit testing process? Tempe PD conducts two testing processes each year; usually in the spring and fall. Refer to this website regularly for information about recruit orientations, online application availability and testing dates. Back to Top 

If I have tested before so do I need to complete the entire process again? Applicants who are no longer on the eligibility list must complete all phases of the testing process even if you have participated in the past. You will be judged on the latest physical agility test, written examination and panel interview results.  Past results will not be considered. Back to Top

Can I do a ride-along during the testing process? Tempe PD does not have a civilian ride-along program for applicants.  Applicants who progress in the testing process may be scheduled for a ride-along by the background detective. Back to Top

How many police officers will be hired during the next testing process? The number of applicants hired during each process is determined by a variety of factors including the number of police officer vacancies. This number varies from test to test based on attrition within our organization but we usually hire approximately 20 to 30 officers each year. Back to Top

What if I don’t have my AzPOST background questionnaire notarized or all the required paperwork when I arrive at the test? Applicants arriving for the test are required to have a completed and notarized AzPOST background questionnaire and certain documents including copies of a high school diploma, transcripts or GED equivalent; a birth certificate, naturalization documentation or a United States passport; and a valid government-issued driver license or identification card. These are Arizona POST requirements and those who do not have these items will not be permitted to test. Back to Top

Can out-of-state applicants participate in the recruit testing process? Out-of-state applicants participate in the same test as in-state applicants and are required to be in Tempe on the scheduled test date. The physical agility test and written exam are conducted on the same day; usually a Saturday. Panel interviews are scheduled after the written examination for the following week on a first come, first serve basis. A number of spots are held on the morning of the first day for out-of-state applicants.  If an out-of-state applicant is not able to remain in Tempe for the panel interview, the department may schedule future panel interviews to accommodate out-of-state applicants.

The department will make every effort to limit travel for out-of-state applicants who progress further in the process. Back to Top

I am in the testing process, why have I not heard from the police department? Once an applicant has completed the physical agility test, written exam and panel interview, the additional steps can take up to six months or longer to complete. This is due to the hundreds of applicants in the process. If you have submitted an application, you will be notified when you are moving forward in the process or are no longer part of the process. Unfortunately, due to the large number of applicants involved in the hiring process, we are not able to respond to calls from applicants requesting updates on their status in the process and you should not contact the human resources or police departments to seek an update on your status. Back to Top

What is the pay and benefits for a Tempe Police Officer? Police officer starting pay is $56,742 yearly. The city offers employees a comprehensive benefits package. The benefits provided to Tempe police officers include:

  • 14-24 yearly paid vacation days
  • 12 yearly paid sick leave days
  • 12 yearly paid holidays
  • Shift differential pay
  • Special assignment pay
  • Retention incentive (longevity) pay after five years of employment
  • Yearly uniform reimbursement
  • Ballistic vest reimbursement
  • Health, dental, life & vision insurance plans
  • Supplemental life insurance
  • Industrial insurance
  • Long-term disability insurance
  • Flexible spending accounts (health & dependent care)
  • Employee training & development opportunities
  • $5000 yearly tuition reimbursement
  • Public Safety Personnel Retirement System 
  • Deferred compensation plans (401k & 457)
  • Employee wellness programs
  • Employee assistance program
  • Auto & home insurance discounts
  • Deductible reimbursement yearly after three years of employment

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What is the pay and seniority for lateral police officers? Lateral police officers are compensated at a pay rate that takes into account previous years of police service. A decision related to pay will be made prior to the applicant signing a conditional offer of employment with the department. Lateral officers will not receive seniority for time worked at another police agency. Back to Top