Have questions?

Here are some of the commonly asked questions about joining the San Francisco Police Department. If you still have questions, contact a recruiter by scrolling to the form at the bottom of the page. If you are ready to join, click the Apply Now button.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Education: Applicants must be a U.S. High School Graduate or have passed the General Educational Development (GED) or the California High School Proficiency Examination or have an AA or higher degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Age: Applicants must be at least 20 years old when they take the examination and at least 21 years of age by the time of appointment. There’s no maximum age limit.
  • Driver’s License: Applicants must possess and maintain a valid driver license to operate an automobile at the time of application and throughout the selection process. Possession of a valid California Driver License is required prior to the date of hire.
  • Judicial Record: Applicants must NOT have been:
    • Convicted of a felony;
    • Convicted of an offense involving domestic violence;
    • Convicted of any misdemeanor that carries a penalty of prohibiting ownership, possession or control or a firearm; or
    • Restricted from employment with the City and County of San Francisco.
  • Citizenship: A U.S. Citizenship is no longer required, but applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States under Federal Law.


Entry Level Police Officer’s Salary
$109,928 to $164,164*


*Must possess the CA POST Advanced Certificate to reach the Top Step Salary


  • Paid Academy training
  • Paid vacation, leave and sick time
  • Annual sick leave buyout
  • 6.25% Night Shift differential pay
  • 5% Specialty pay for Bomb Squad, K9, SWAT
  • Longevity Pay after 5 years of service
  • 80 hours of discretionary time annually
  • Up to 120 hours of holiday pay at holiday rate
  • 3 hours minimum court pay at overtime rate
  • Countless overtime opportunities (Warriors and Giants games, concerts, etc.)
  • Uniform pay and equipment provided
  • Education compensation
  • Excellent medical, dental, and vision benefits for officers, spouses and dependents.
  • Over 80 specialized units

Retirement Benefits:

  • Pension – 3% of final compensation per year of service at age 58, with a maximum of 90% benefit based on years of service.
  • Optional 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan (SFDCP) to compliment your pension benefits
  • Purchasable Service Credit
  • Limited Employment during Retirement – Retired members may return to City employment without affecting retirement status, not to exceed 960 hours in any fiscal year
  • For more info: https://mysfers.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Plan-Provisions-Police-605-2023.pdf

Steps of the Hiring Process

Step 1 : Submit Application

Step 2: Schedule Written Test

Step 3 : Physical Ability Test (PAT)

Step 4: Oral Interview (OI)

Step 5: Eligibility List

Step 6: Background Investigation

Step 7: Academy


Learn More: joinsfpd.com/hiring-process

Written Test

For this portion, applicants may use either the a) FrontLine National Law Enforcement Examination administered by the National Testing Network (NTN) or the b) California POST PELLETB Exam. Either exam is pass/fail with the minimum scores.


Learn More: joinsfpd.com/written-test

Physical Ability Test (PAT)

This test will measure physical performance through a series of exercises that will be administered on a pass/fail basis.


Learn More: joinsfpd.com/physical-ability-test

Oral Interview (OI)

Once a candidate has passed the written examination and the Physical Abilities Test, they are moved to the Oral Interview phase. This examination will evaluate the applicant’s interpersonal and problem-solving skills not tested by other examination components.


Learn More: joinsfpd.com/oral-interview

Background Investigations

California Government Code §1031 requires a pre-employment background investigation for law enforcement officers. The Background Investigation process determines whether a candidate meets the requirements to become a law enforcement officer. The Background Unit manages the investigation process which includes verifying identity, education, employment history, criminal record, credit history and will include interviews with family, friends and relatives. It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide all necessary documents to the Background Unit so the investigation process can begin. Incomplete background packets will delay the pre-employment investigation.


Learn More: joinsfpd.com/background-investigations


Each member of the San Francisco Police Department commits to excellence in law enforcement and dedicates themselves to serving the people of our City with just, transparent, unbiased and responsive policing. That commitment begins at the SFPD Regional Training Center Basic Academy, where our instructors provide all possible assistance to each recruit in order to ensure their success in the Academy, the Field Training Program, and throughout their career.


Learn More: joinsfpd.com/basic-academy

Do I have to be a San Francisco resident?

No, you do not need to be a resident of San Francisco or California to apply.

Do I need to be a citizen of the United States of America to apply?

No, but you must be legally authorized to work in the United States under Federal Law.

Do I need to have a California Driver’s License to apply?

Applicants must possess and maintain a valid driver license to operate an automobile at the time of application and throughout the selection process. Possession of a valid California Driver License is required prior to the date of hire.

Can I apply if I have been convicted of a felony?

A minimum qualification of the application is that you must not have been convicted of a felony regardless of expungement.

How long is the hiring process?

The complete hiring process (Written Test, Physical Ability Test, Oral Interview, Backgrounds, and Final Screenings) can range from 3–6 months depending on various factors.

Where do I send my passing written test scores?

  • For NTN scores, ensure you have selected San Francisco Police Department prior to taking your exam. If you had not, please contact NTN at (206) 428-3265 and request your scores be sent to San Francisco Police Department.
  • For PELLETB scores, upload the PDF of your passing scores onto your application profile via SmartRecruiters. After you completed the upload, email Jennifer Bushman (Jennifer.Bushman@SFGov.org) at the Department of Human Resources (DHR) to notify her of your passing scores.

Do I have to complete the NTN Public Safety Self Assessment?

No. You are not required to complete it.

Do you accept Physical exam results other than those taken with SFPD?

Currently, we only accept the Work Sample Test Battery (WSTB) if completed through South Bay Regional.

What are the minimum passing scores for your tests?

  • NTN:
    • Video: 65
    • Writing: 70
    • Reading: 70




Can I retake the test if I fail?

Yes, you can retake the PELLETB, PAT and OI every 30 days. The NTN can be retaken every 3 months.

How long is the police academy?

The police academy is currently 37 weeks long.

Is the police academy a live-in academy?

No, the police academy is not a live-in academy and does not offer housing. The schedule for police academy is four 10-hour days/week.

Do Lateral Applicants have a modified testing process?

Yes, Lateral Applicants are exempt from the Written Test and Physical Ability Test (PAT). You only need to take the Oral Interview (OI).

I have used narcotics in the past, can I still apply?

The use of narcotics does not immediately disqualify you from the hiring process. This is a discussion you will have with your background investigator when you have reached this stage in the process. Be honest with your answer, as this is on a case-by-case basis. Sworn members of the SFPD must abide by federal law, which prohibits sworn police officers from using any type of narcotics other than prescribed by a licensed medical doctor.

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