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 U.S. accredited college or university.
  • Applicants must be at least 20 years old when they take the examination. 21 years of age by the time of appointment. There’s no maximum age limit.
Driver’s License:
  • Applicants need to have a valid driver’s license to drive a car. You should have it when you apply and all the way through the selection process. Before you’re hired, you must also have a valid California Driver’s License.
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.
  • A U.S. Citizenship is no longer required. Applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States under Federal Law.
Entry Level Police Officer’s Salary
$112,398 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 part, applicants may use either:
  • FrontLine National Law Enforcement Examination, administered by the National Testing Network (NTN)
  • California POST PELLETB Exam.
Either exam is pass/fail with the minimum scores.
To receive credit for the PELLETB, applicants must upload a copy of the documentation which includes the date of the test and score to the application themselves, and must notify DHR at dhr-publicsafety@sfgov.org after the upload for verification. 


Learn More: joinsfpd.com/written-test

Physical Ability Test (PAT)

This administrated test will measure physical performance through a series of exercises. Scoring will be 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 move on to the Oral Interview phase. This will test the applicant’s interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Skills that are not tested by other exams.

Learn More: joinsfpd.com/oral-interview

Background Investigations
California Government Code §1031 says that law enforcement officers need a background investigation before getting hired. This investigation checks if a candidate meets the requirements for the job. The Background Unit handles this investigation. It’s the applicant’s job to give all the needed documents to the Background Unit. The investigation won’t start until they have all the documents. If the background packet is incomplete, it will slow down the investigation.
This process includes verifying:
  • Identity
  • Education
  • Employment history
  • Criminal record
  • Credit history
Background Investigations will include interviews with family, friends, and relatives.

Learn More: joinsfpd.com/background-investigations


Each member of the SFPD commits to excellence in law enforcement. Dedicates themselves to serving the people of our City. To being just, transparent, unbiased, and responsive in policing. That commitment begins at the SFPD Regional Training Center Basic Academy. Where our instructors provide all possible assistance to each recruit. This ensures their success in the Academy, Field Training Program, and in 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 need to have a valid driver’s license to drive a car. You should have it when you apply and all the way through the selection process. Before you’re hired, you must also have a valid California Driver’s License.

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

One important application requirement is that you cannot have a felony conviction, even if it has been expunged.

How long is the hiring process?

The complete hiring process can range from 3–6 months. This can vary depending on various factors.

Where do I send my passing written test scores?
NTN scores:
Make sure you choose the San Francisco Police Department before taking the exam. If you didn’t, call NTN at (206) 428-3265 and ask them to send your scores to the San Francisco Police Department.
PELLETB scores:
Upload the PDF of your passing scores to your SFPD application profile. Please email dhr-publicsafety@sfgov.org after you have uploaded the document, so the Dept. of Human Resources (DHR) may go back to your application to verify.
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?

Work Sample Test Battery (WSTB)

Candidates who successfully complete the WSTB with South Bay Regional Academy (within the last year) may submit their WSTB Verification Letter in place of taking the SFPD PAT, with the exception of the Dominant Hand Grip. Please email a copy of your WSTB Verification Letter to dhr-publicsafety@sfgov.org.
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?

Lateral Applicants don’t have to take the Written Test or Physical Ability Test (PAT). You only have to do the Oral Interview (OI).

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

Using narcotics won’t automatically disqualify you during the hiring process. Discuss this with your background investigator when you reach that stage. Honesty is crucial because each case is evaluated individually. Sworn SFPD members must follow federal law. Which allows them to use narcotics only when prescribed by a licensed medical doctor.

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