How to Become a Police Officer in Long Beach
Situated just south of Los Angeles, Long Beach covers over 52 square miles and is home to a diverse population of approximately 474,000 people, with a crime rate higher than the national average.1 To protect such a large city, a large police force is needed. The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) employs over 800 sworn officers and 400 civilian personnel.2 The process for becoming a cop with the LBPD is outlined below.
Long Beach Police Officer Requirements
Anyone hoping to become a law enforcement officer with the LBPD must first meet the minimum requirements set by the California Peace Officers’ Standards and Training (POST) Commission and the LBPD. Candidates must:
- Be a minimum age of 21
- Hold US citizenship
- Possess a valid driver’s license
- Have vision correctable to 20/20
- Be free of felony convictions and must not be on probation
- Not have used marijuana in the past two years, used any other drugs in the last three years, or ever used any type of hallucinogenic drug
Although it is not required, candidates who have recent college coursework related to criminal justice, and/or who are fluent in Spanish or Khmer in addition to English, have an edge in the competitive selection process. The process of applying to be an officer with the LBPD occurs in two phases. Phase I is submitting an application and passing a written test. Candidates who do well on the test may be invited to the second phase. Phase II begins with an orientation. It also includes a physical fitness test, an oral interview, and medical and psychological screenings. Candidates will also complete a thorough background investigation. Selected candidates will be invited to attend training at the Long Beach Police Academy.
For more information about how to become a cop in a typical big city, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. If you are ready to apply, find specific application information on the Long Beach Police Department website.
Long Beach Police Training Academy
The Long Beach Police Academy offers basic training to all of its new recruits and its program is based on the standards set by the California POST. Newly-hired officers spend 27 weeks in the rigorous training program where they learn skills like police driving, policies and procedures, mediation, report writing, and develop knowledge about criminal law. Throughout the training program, recruits must pass a number of written and physical exams. Recruits are also evaluated on their ability to respond to coaching and the demands of stressful situations. After graduating from the academy, new recruits spend one year working on the force with an LBPD training officer.
Long Beach Police Department Information
In addition to patrolling and serving the city of Long Beach, the LBPD is also contracted to provide law enforcement services to the Port of Long Beach, Long Beach City College, and Long Beach Airport. The Patrol Bureau is divided into four commands that each have responsibility for a different geographic area, plus a field support division. Over 40% of the LBPD’s budget and more than 50% of the LBPD’s personnel are devoted to the Patrol Bureau.2 Patrol officers with experience may apply to transfer to specialized divisions including the Detective Division, Gang and Violent Crimes Division, and the Criminal Intelligence Section.
The Long Beach Police Department has faced challenges in recent years. Its police body-worn camera program is currently on hiatus after pervasive technical problems with the selected technology.3 The department is also being investigated by the LA County Prosecutor’s office for the use by officers and command staff of a controversial app that self-deleted text messages, raising questions about police transparency and violating records retention rules.4
The LBPD welcomes involvement from the community through several volunteer opportunities. People of all ages, including seniors are invited to get involved with the department through the volunteer program, senior police partners program, and youth volunteer program.
Department Contact Information
Salary, Benefits, and Jobs Outlook
New recruits to the LBPD earn a starting salary of $32.40 per hour while in the academy, which rises to $36 per hour following graduation and assignment.2 Incentives are offered for higher education, bilingual abilities, special assignments, earning advanced POST certifications, and, after 15 years, longevity pay. In addition to the salary, new officers also receive a number of benefits from the department, including health insurance, life insurance, a retirement program, and opportunities for career advancement. The average annual salary for a police officer in the greater Long Beach metro is $103,730.5
The overall growth in police jobs in California is expected to be positive; through 2026 the field is expected to grow by 5%.6 This translates to an average of 350 new positions opening up each year throughout the state.6 For more information on current LBPD law enforcement positions, take a look at our jobs board page.
- Long Beach Police Officers Association – The Long Beach Police Officers Association is the bargaining unit for LBPD police officers and offers law enforcement advocacy services at the local and state levels.
- Fraternal Order of Police California State Lodge – The Fraternal Order of Police California State Lodge provides social, educational, professional, and charitable opportunities for police officers statewide.
1. Sperling’s Best Places, Long Beach, California: https://www.bestplaces.net/city/california/long_beach
2. Long Beach Police Department: http://www.longbeach.gov/police/
3. The Press-Telegram, “Long Beach Police Will Ditch Current Body Cams After a Year of Tech Problems ,” 4 Apr. 2018: https://www.presstelegram.com/2018/04/03/after-tech-problems-long-beach-police-will-ditch-current-body-cams-opt-for-new-test/
4. The Los Angeles Times, “L.A. County Prosecutors Investigating Long Beach Police Use of Controversial App,” 21 Sept. 2018: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-long-beach-police-app-investigation-20180921-story.html
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_31080.htm
6. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm