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?
- 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 Mounted Patrol Unit, 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, law, 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 recently voted on a new 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. Submit your completed Veteran's Preference Form with the required documentation on the date of the online job application unless instructed otherwise.
Do you accept candidates with tattoos?
Yes we do. However, our members cannot expose any offensive forms of body art while on duty, including when wearing a short-sleeved uniform shirt. Offensive forms of body art include images which are sexually explicit, racially and or sexually biased or could be viewed as discriminatory. Visible body art on the face and neck are prohibited except for reasonable cosmetic purposes. Tattoos cannot be above the collar-bone. Body Art is defined as procedures used to alter the body's appearance including, but not limited to branding, scarification and tattoos.
We do understand that there may be questions regarding our policy and we’re happy to answer specific questions regarding your tattoo. We’ll ask you to send our recruiter digital photo and we will let you know whether it is something that disqualifies you.
Read more about Tattoos, Facial Hair and other 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.
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.
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 ahead of your actual test time. These are offered monthly and the results will have absolutely no bearing on your application process as we do not maintain scores unless you choose to use this as your official result.
What is the probationary period?
All 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. 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.