Frequently Asked Questions2023-06-09T11:41:08-07:00

You’ve Got Questions

We’ve Got Answers

Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve Got Questions?  We’ve Got Answers.

What is the job of a Police Officer?2023-06-01T12:06:55-07:00

VPD offers an excellent hiring incentive, a highly competitive salary, the best schedule in Washington State (and perhaps all of policing), community support, many career paths and promotion opportunities. We are a growing department and anticipate adding 100 new positions over the next five years. We are located in one of the most beautiful cities in the country, surrounded by mountains, beaches, and rivers. Our waterfront offers many award-winning restaurants and fun activities for you and your family.

These positions offer a wide variety of challenging emergency and routine duties including:

  • Patrolling a designated area of the City.
  • Responding to a variety of calls for service involving criminal and non-criminal situations and taking necessary police action.
  • Conducting investigations, collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses/suspects.

  • Testifying in Federal, State and local courts, and in administrative hearings.
  • Preparing reports.

  • Working in partnership with the community to solve problems.

  • Developing relationships with civic groups, schools, businesses, neighborhood organizations and other law enforcement agencies.

  • Representing the police department to other city service areas, elected officials, outside agencies, and to various citizens and citizen groups.

All City of Vancouver employees are expected to perform their duties in accordance with the City’s Operating Principles; work and act as a team player in interactions with other city employees and provide a high level of customer service at all times.

About the Vancouver Police Department2023-06-07T10:57:19-07:00

The Vancouver Police Department is a professional, progressive and innovative law enforcement agency. The department partners with the community to preserve life, protect property and enhance livability through equitable law enforcement and effective use of resources. The department is currently authorized for 242 sworn staff and 62 civilian staff.

Specialty units include:

  • SWAT

  • Traffic

  • Investigations

  • Crisis Negotiation

  • UAS

  • K-9
  • Neighborhood Police Officers

The Patrol schedule allows generous days off which equates to working approximately 17 days a month.

  • Officers work 10 ½ hour shifts on a 5/4, 5/4, 5/5 schedule (on/off).
  • Most specialty assignments enjoy a 4-10 schedule with weekends off.

  • Overtime is available but rarely mandated.

  • The position of Police Officer is covered by an agreement between the City and the Vancouver Police Officers’ Guild. Regular employees in this position are required to pay union dues.

About the City of Vancouver2023-06-02T11:53:36-07:00

The City of Vancouver is a growing community that sits on the north bank of the Columbia River. The population of Vancouver is 192,000. Vancouver combines the excitement of a major metropolitan area with small-town charm and abundant recreational opportunities. Its full-service city government is committed to providing responsive and progressive leadership for all citizens. Vancouver offers quality schools, a favorable tax climate with no state income tax, affordable housing, livable neighborhoods, and dedicated citizens involved in all aspects of community life.

I have no policing experience but am interested in becoming a police officer. Where do I start?2023-05-31T11:38:19-07:00

The first step in the application process for entry-level officer candidates is to take a written and physical ability test through the Public Safety Testing website. For more information, click on our entry-level page and watch the How to Apply Video.

What does the Public Safety Testing consist of?2023-05-31T11:40:00-07:00

There are two Public Safety Tests – a written test and a physical ability test. The written test must be completed within 3.5 hours. The test has several sections which are designed to test deductive reasoning, pattern detection, inductive reasoning, information ordering, spatial orientation, written comprehension, written expression, and non-cognitive traits such as work style and personality. Public Safety Testing offers a study guide to help you prepare for this test.

The physical ability test (PAT) consists of push-ups, sit-ups, and squat thrusts. To pass the test, you must do 20 push-ups within 90 seconds, 25 sit-ups within 90 seconds, and 35 squat thrusts within 3 minutes.

Both tests can be completed at a PST testing site, or virtually. See the links below for more information on both tests.

I am a lateral applicant – do I have to complete Public Safety Testing?2023-05-25T08:52:38-07:00

No, lateral applicants are not required to complete Public Safety Testing.

Apply as a lateral applicant at Careers (

What happens after I pass Public Safety Testing (PST)?2023-05-25T08:53:18-07:00

After you pass both the written and physical abilities tests, VPD will contact you via email and invite you to an oral board interview with us. If you signed up for text messaging through PST, you would also receive a text message. The oral board interview does not require police specific training or knowledge. Your oral board interview will be scored. Your written test score will be combined with your oral board score. If you meet or exceed the minimum required score, you will be placed on a list of certified candidates. Candidates are assigned in order of score to a background detective who will guide you through the remainder of the hiring process.

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