The rigorous phases of the hiring process test an applicant’s aptitude, physical fitness, communication, background and general health. Certain phases have minimum passing standards but applicants should remember they are competing against hundreds of other women and men who are all vying to be police officer recruits. Applicants should perform at their highest level during all portions of the process, continue to live their lives in a professional manner at all times and improve their aptitude and physical fitness.
Initial Application Process: The process begins with the announcement of test dates and recruit orientation dates. An application availability window will be provided and applications must be complete and returned prior to the noted deadline. Recruit orientations provide invaluable information about the testing process and department and are designed to help applicants succeed in the testing process.
Hundreds of initial applications are received and only the top candidates are invited to the participate. Those invited to the test will need to complete an AzPOST background questionnaire and submit it upon arrival at the first test phase. Visit the Tempe police recruiting website regularly for updates on test and recruit orientation dates, application availability and instructions. Back to Top
Written Examination: The written examination is a comprehensive law enforcement test designed to evaluate applicant memory, analytical and logical thinking, reading comprehension, written communication, problem solving and other tasks critical to the success of a police officer. The exam will take approximately two (2) to three (3) hours to complete. Exams are scored upon completion and applicants are notified if they have passed or failed. The written exam will be conducted immediately before or immediately after the physical agility test. When the written exam is conducted before the physical agility test, only applicants who pass will move onto the physical agility test. Back to Top
Physical Agility Test: The physical agility test consists of three (3) components – a 1½ mile run, pushups and sit-ups – and is held the same day as the written examination. The evaluation is designed to measure an applicant’s general cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and muscle endurance. An applicant must successfully pass all three (3) components of the physical agility test to move forward in the process. The physical agility evaluation is conducted immediately before or immediately after the written exam.
When the physical agility test is conducted before the written exam, those who pass all phases of the physical agility test will move onto the written exam. Applicants should wear appropriate clothing to include running shoes. Applicants are encouraged to bring water to the test and hydrate well in advance. It is wise to stretch and warm-up prior to physical activity to avoid unnecessary injury.
The job of a police officer requires a reasonable level of cardiopulmonary endurance, muscular strength and endurance as well as flexibility. In order to perform specific job tasks with enough energy for emergency situations and enjoy normal activities while off-duty, officers must maintain an acceptable fitness level. The standards below are the minimums to pass the physical agility test.
1½ Mile Run - Applicants must run six (6) complete laps around a ¼ mile track in 14 minutes or less. Walking is not permitted and if an applicant walks, s/he fails this portion of the test. Applicants may carry water during the run if they choose.
Pushups - Applicants must complete at least 21 pushups; there is no time limit. If an applicant needs to stop or rest during the test, they may do so but only in the front leaning rest (up) position. If an applicant stops with any part of his or her torso touching the measuring block or ground or is unable to complete 21 pushups, s/he fails this portion of the test.
A proper pushup begins with the applicant in the up position; arms extended; hands on the ground shoulder width apart; fingers pointing forward; feet together or up to 12 inches apart. Applicants must bend their arms at the elbow to lower their chest until it contacts the top of a four (4) inch measuring block and then return to the up position. This is considered one (1) pushup. Modified pushups are not permitted. A proctor will keep the official pushup count and pushups will only count if done properly.
Sit-ups - Applicants must complete at least 29 sit-ups within one (1) minute. If an applicant needs to stop or rest during this test, they may do so but only in the up position. If an applicant stops with any part of his or her back touching the ground or is unable to complete 29 sit-ups within one (1) minute, s/he fails this portion of the evaluation.
A proper sit-up begins with the applicant's back on the ground; knees bent and feet flat on the ground; hands either cupping the ears or interlocked behind the head. Using the abdominal muscles, the applicant must raise his/her upper body off the ground until the elbows touch or break the plain of the knees and then return to the start position. This is considered one (1) sit-up. Crunches are not sit-ups and will not be counted. A proctor will keep the official sit-up count and sit-ups will only count if done properly. Back to Top
Panel Interview: Upon successful completion of both the written examination and physical agility test, applicants will immediately be scheduled to participate in a panel interview. Applicants should expect to attend a panel interview as early as the week following the written exam and physical agility test. The panel interview lasts approximately 30 minutes once the process begins but applicants should plan to set aside up to two (2) hours of their time. The interview board will be made up of two (2) members from different areas of the police department and city.
The panel interview may be different from other interviews an applicant has attended as only the applicant will speak during the interview and the panel members will not ask follow-up or clarifying questions. This provides a venue that is consistent for all applicants. Applicants should answer questions completely and base answers on personal experiences, skills and knowledge. Panel members do not view applications or the results of previous tests and only information provided by the applicant can be can be evaluated by the interview board. Back to Top
Background Investigation: If an applicant successfully completes the panel interview and is selected to move forward in the hiring process, s/he will be contacted by a background investigator to schedule a background interview. Simply passing the written examination, physical agility test and panel interview does not guarantee an applicant will be given further consideration. During this interview, the investigator will review your AzPOST questionnaire and address all areas of you life. The background investigation may take several weeks or months to schedule and complete. During this portion of the process, the background investigator will conduct a thorough check of an applicant’s criminal history, driving record, work history, past drug use, etc. The background investigator will contact personal references, previous employers, family members, etc. During this process, you should continue to carry yourself in a professional manner befitting a police officer recruit and improve your physical fitness in preparation for the rigors of the police academy, should you be selected to continue in the process. Back to Top
Polygraph Examination: Upon completion of the background interview, applicants may be scheduled for a polygraph examination. Only the most qualified candidates will be invited to a polygraph examination. Back to Top
Psychological Evaluation: Upon completion of the previous phases, applicants are evaluated and the best are selected to move forward. Should an applicant move forward, s/he will be scheduled for a psychological evaluation. This phase consists of a written tests and a face-to-face interview with the department’s psychologist. The purpose of this part of the process is to ensure there are no psychological issues that would prevent an applicant from having a successful career as a police officer. Prior to the psychological evaluation, an applicant will be given a conditional offer of employment. 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, s/he may be scheduled to attend the police academy. Back to Top
Out-of-State Applicants: The department will attempt to accommodate out-of-state applicants who are unable to remain in Arizona, when possible. Should an applicant successfully complete the written examination and physical agility test, the department we will do its best to accommodate the applicant during the remainder of the testing process but this will depend on several factors not known until each testing process is announced. Back to Top