Frequently Asked Questions
- What hours or shifts would I work?
- What are the variety of assignments available?
- What is the promotions path?
- What are wages/benefits?
- Are there steps I can take to prepare to become a police officer?
- Am I qualified?
- Do you give Veteran’s Preference Points?
- Do you accept candidates with tattoos?
- I’m now in college or the military—when should I apply?
- Is there a residency requirement?
- Do you pay for relocation?
- What if the required documents I have are from a country other than the United States?
- Where can I take the test?
- How many positions are available and how long will it take?
- Where can I find the Personal History Form?
- What if I'm color blind?
- What if I have other medical or physical concerns about meeting requirements?
- How can I prepare for the Physical Ability Test?
- Will I be paid during the Academy and how long is the training?
- Do I have to buy my equipment?
What hours or shifts would I work?
Officers work a 40-hour week—four shifts of 10 hours each with a set three-day weekend. Seniority determines shift, days off and vacation. Once off of probation, shifts and weekends are not rotated. However, during probation, new officers' days off, shifts and assignments rotate. Off-duty officers may on rare occasions be called in for duty for a city emergency (e.g.: large protest, natural disaster, large crime scene, etc.).
What are the variety of assignments available?
Officers can apply for a specialty unit or promotion following probation. The Bureau has a number of specialty units, including: the K9 Unit, Traffic Division, Youth Services, Narcotics, Family Services, Gang Enforcement and more!
Officers can also apply for detached positions, such as a member of the Air Support Unit; Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) or Rapid Response Team. You can also serve as an instructor with the Training Division in any number of fields: defensive tactics, firearms, patrol vehicle operations, etc.
What is the promotions path?
The Portland Police Bureau has a strong promotions path with many opportunities for advancement.. Under current standards, after 4.5 years of service (at least 3 of which must have been as a sworn member of PPB), officers are eligible to compete for a promotional exam to become a Sergeant, Detective or Criminalist.
What are the wages/benefits?
The Portland City Council voted in 2016 on a Collective Bargaining Agreement that significantly impacts our wages and benefits. Starting wages can be found here, but watch this site in the coming weeks for a complete breakdown for new hires and laterals.
Are there steps I can take to prepare to become a police officer?
- Participate in a Ride Along. This will give you the opportunity to ask lots of questions and see the job firsthand.
- Attend a preparatory workshop about work environment, hiring process and the physical ability test.
- Gain knowledge and experience with cultures that are different from your own. (See Building a Diverse Workforce)
- Become a Cadet (for youth, 16-20) or Reserve Officer--both provide hands-on training and firsthand job knowledge.
Am I Qualified?
Do you give Veteran’s Preference Points?
Yes. You must request Veteran's Prference Points and attach a copy of your DD Form 214 and/or VA Disability Letter at the time you submit yoru online job application.
Do you accept candidates with tattoos?
Yes we do. Tattoos cannot be above the collarbone and visible body art on the face and neck are prohibited expect for reasonable cosmetic purposes. Body Art is defined as procedures used to alter the body’s appearance including, but not limited to branding, scarification and tattoos. You will be required to describe each tattoo and the significance it has to you. Portland Police Officers cannot display any offensive forms of body art which includes images that are sexually explicit, racially and/or sexually biased or could be viewed as discriminatory. Contact a recruiter regarding any questions you have about our policy on appearance standards.
I’m still in college or the military—when should I apply?
Applicants should keep in mind that it takes several months for our process to be complete from the written exam to the background test being completed. Consider taking the written test 4 to 6 months before graduation or release.
If you are from out of town, you will be required to come for portions of the process. See more on Travel Assistance.
Is there a residency requirement?
You are not required to live in Portland or the state of Oregon.
Do you pay for relocation?
Yes, the Bureau does pay up to $2,500 for newly hired officers (which can include travel assistance). See more on Relocation Reimbursement.
What if the required documents I have are from a country other than the United States?
Required documents from countries outside the United States are accepted, but the documents must be translated to English.
Education credits from a college or university outside the United States must be officially verified as defined in Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 259-008-0045; “Any education credits obtained in a foreign country, which are claimed to be comparable to credits or a college degree granted by a licensing body in the United States or US Territories must be evaluated by a credentialing agency that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) http://naces.org/ . The credentialing agency must send an evaluation to the Department for approval, at the applicant's expense, before any educational credit is accepted as equivalent.”
Applicants who are a U.S. Citizens with a birth certificate from a country other than the United States should also provide any U.S. Citizenship documentation such as a U.S. Passport, Certificate of Citizenship or naturalization paperwork. Additional information can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/citizenship-through-parents .
Where can I take the test?
We have partnered with the National Testing Network (NTN) to administer the entry level test to become a Portland Police Officer. This allows our applicants to take the test from anywhere in the country. Read more about testing.
How many positions are available and how long will it take?
The Portland Police Bureau will be actively recruiting for police officers for many years, due to the number of current and upcoming retirements.
Though we have streamlined our process and ensured efficiency, it will still take several months to complete the entire process. Talk to our recruiters today about your concerns regarding timeliness.
Where can I find the Personal History Form?
The Personal History Form is critical to the hiring process, as your background investigator will chart their course with the information provided. Click here to download the form. Remember it will take some time to complete, as the thoroughness of this information will only help streamline the process. Also, please remember that truthfulness is critical. olice Officers are held to a high standard of integrity and must be credible witnesses. Negative spots in your background will not necessarily result in failing your background; however, deliberate misrepresentation, falsifying or omitting information will most likely result in permanent disqualification and you will be ineligible to re-apply.
PHYSICAL / MEDICAL REQUIREMENTS
What if I'm color blind?
Color vision should be perfect. Nevertheless, red or green deficiencies will need to pass the Ishihara (24-plate edition) with 9 of the 13 plates required. Applicants who fail the Ishihara test can meet the color vision standard by demonstrating that they can correctly identify colors via a field test conducted by the employer and approved by DPSST. This will not be conducted until after the medical examination.
What if I have other medical or physical concerns about meeting requirements?
State of Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training establishes most physical requirements for hire. If you have questions about eyesight, hearing, or other medical issues please review the F-2 Form. Take it with you to visit your personal physician, they should in most cases be able to answer your questions about if you meet the medical requirements.
How can I prepare for the Physical Ability Test?
During the physical ability test, you will be tested on:
- Physical strength
- Agility and coordination
These tests are pass/fail, and individual times have no impact on your overall score.
We invite you to attend a Portland Police Bureau Physical Ability Test These are offered monthly and PPB members can assist in discussing techniques to train for the course.
What is the probationary period?
Entry-level officers have an 18-month probation, where they work under the supervision of a coach who teaches the fundamentals of police work. Entry-level officers shall attend a 16-week State Basic Academy after being hired and also Portland's Advanced Academy. Lateral officers, who meet Oregon certification criteria, will attend a two week Career Officer Development class and the Advanced Academy. Lateral officers have a 12-month probationary period. The Advanced Academy is taught by the Portland Police Bureau at our Training Facility.
Will I be paid during the Academy and how long is the training?
Yes, new officers are paid an entry level officer wage from the date of hire. Oregon's Basic Police Academy is located in Salem, Oregon, and is 16-weeks in length (400 hours). You are given a dorm room but are not required to stay there during the week or weekends. However, study time is at a premium and it is suggested new officers use their off-duty time wisely. Following successful completion of Basic Academy, recruits will work patrol with their Field Training officer for about 2 months before attending the Portland Police Bureau Advanced Academy, which is 12 weeks in length. Every officer, regardless of prior experience, is required to attend the Advanced Academy.
Do I have to buy my own equipment?
No. The City provides uniforms, weapon, handcuffs, flashlight, duty belt, body armor, helmets, etc., and equipment allowances.