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How to Become a Police Officer in Oregon

People living and working in Oregon, the Beaver State, enjoy the beautiful natural landscape, from the rugged Pacific coast to the volcanic Cascade Range and the forests and plains in between. Along with the arts and culture of the bigger cities like Portland and Eugene, Oregon has everything to offer its residents. For those hoping to work in law enforcement in the state, along with the current 4,910 police and sheriff’s patrol officers there, there are plenty of opportunities.3 New recruits, once hired by a police department, or sheriff’s office, attend the sole academy in the state before becoming licensed peace officers.

Oregon Police Officer Requirements

The minimum requirements to be a cop or sheriff’s deputy in Oregon are set by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST). The Department is responsible for operating the only police training academy in the state and certifying all law enforcement officers. To attend the Oregon Public Safety Academy, recruits must first pass the hiring process at a local department and be offered employment. While each department may have additional standards, the DPSST states that new officers must:

  • Pass a background check
  • Pass a psychological exam
  • Pass a physical exam
  • Complete the Oregon Physical Abilities Test within five and a half minutes

The DPSST recommends that anyone hoping to be hired by a law enforcement agency in the state have some college experience or a degree, although it is not a basic requirement. The department also suggests that new recruits volunteer with a department before applying for employment.

Oregon Trooper or Highway Patrol Requirements

The troopers of the Oregon State Police (OSP) are dedicated to serving the residents of Oregon, protecting them, and supporting local communities throughout the state. New troopers have the opportunity to work toward special positions within the OSP including arson investigator, narcotics detective, or fish and wildlife trooper. New recruits must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have good moral character

In addition to meeting these minimum requirements, hopeful new troopers must go through a rigorous selection process that includes a written test, a physical fitness test, a background check, a drug screening, and an interview.

Oregon Sheriff Deputy Requirements

Sheriff’s deputies in Oregon are responsible for patrol duties, corrections duties, and other jobs throughout each county. They support the OSP and local police departments and serve the residents of their communities. To become a deputy in Oregon a new recruit needs to first be hired by a county sheriff’s office. He or she may then attend training at the state academy before becoming a sworn deputy.

Washington County

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office uses a long and rigorous hiring process to find and recruit new deputies. The process begins with an application and a written test. Those who have suitable applications and pass the test are then invited to be interviewed by a panel of three sergeants. Following the interview, successful candidates must pass an extensive background investigation and then shadow a deputy to see what the job is like. Finally, the recruit is interviewed by the sheriff before being offered employment.

Lane County

Lane County is located in the central, western portion of the state. The county seat, Eugene, is the second largest city in Oregon. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office hires new recruits to work in corrections and patrol deputies. In order to be considered for a position as a deputy, applicants must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or GED, with two years of college preferred
  • Have a valid Oregon driver’s license
  • Have two years of experience working with the public in some capacity

Police Departments in Oregon

From its smallest villages to the bigger cities of Portland and Eugene, Oregon is a diverse state with numerous local police departments. To become a police officer in one of these departments, hopeful new cops need to apply and pass the hiring procedures of a department before being allowed to attend the state training academy.

Portland

Portland is Oregon’s largest city with a population over 600,000. The city is known for its unique and trendy culture and is situated at the scenic confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers at the border with Washington. To work for the Portland Police Bureau, new recruits must pass the rigorous application process. The minimum requirements to be considered include:

  • An age of 21 or older
  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Either 60 college credit hours, experience as a police officer in another state, or two years of experience working in a non-officer capacity at an Oregon law enforcement agency
  • Honorable discharge only from any military service

For more information about the PPB, please check out our How to Become a Police Officer in Portland comprehensive guide.

Eugene

As the second largest city in Oregon, Eugene has a large police force that is always looking for good candidates to join the team. To be considered, new recruits need to apply with the Eugene Police Department and pass the rigorous screening process. The first step is to pass the Eugene Police Department Police Officer physical abilities test, a fitness exam that simulates some of the physical situations an officer may encounter while on duty.

Salem

The Salem Police Department, which patrols the capital city, currently employs 187 sworn police officers.1 The department has high standards for its officers and sets certain minimal requirements that new recruits must meet in order to be considered for employment. New hires must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have good communication skills
  • Pass an oral interview
  • Pass a written exam
  • Demonstrate excellent moral character
  • Pass an extensive background investigation
  • Be willing to work some nights, weekends, and holidays

Police Training Academies in Oregon

Oregon has just one police academy, the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem. The only way to attend the Academy is to be hired by a police department, sheriff’s office, or the Oregon State Police. The Academy is run by the DPSST, which also sets the standards for trainees and instructors.

The state-of-the-art facility includes new buildings for housing and feeding students. The Academy also has training venues that simulate real-life situations. These include constructed outdoor city streets, a scenario building with a life-sized downtown city street, a patrol vehicle training course, and a full-scale indoor firing range.

Oregon Police Jobs Outlook

The number of positions available for police officers and sheriff’s deputies in Oregon is expected to grow over the coming years, providing plenty of opportunities for those hoping to work in law enforcement. Between now and 2022 the number of positions is projected to grow by 8.5%, or by 180 jobs each year, which is higher than the national average growth of 5%.2 The current average annual salary for a cop in Oregon is $63,650, which is on the high side of law enforcement salaries in the US.3 With these statistics in mind, Oregon can be considered a great place for a cop to get started in his or her career.

For more information about current law enforcement openings, take a look at our Police Jobs page.

Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in Oregon

City Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Eugene-Springfield 410 $64,200
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro 2,580 $66,110
Salem 600 $66,850

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

Resources:
1. City of Salem: http://www.cityofsalem.net/Departments/Police/Pages/Police.aspx
2. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Oregon: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current//oes_or.htm#33-0000