How to Become a Police Officer in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has one of the most visible and well-known police forces in the nation. With over 10,000 officers and almost 3,000 civilian employees, it is the third-largest law enforcement agency in the US.1

Anyone looking to become a police officer in Los Angeles must meet a number of requirements. Like most cities, Los Angeles looks for the most qualified candidates for recruitment into the city’s department. The steps to become a Los Angeles police officer are listed below in detail.

Los Angeles Police Officer Requirements

Parker Center, Police Administration Building

Parker Center, Police Administration Building

Like most big cities, the LAPD has quite a list of requirements for anyone looking to become a Los Angeles police officer. In terms of basic requirements, all candidates must be a US citizen aged 21 at the time of hire. Unlike most cities, however, the LAPD does not require local residency in Los Angeles to be eligible for recruitment.

Education requirements state that all candidates must be a US high school graduate OR hold a GED or a California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE) certificate. In some cases, the high school requirement may be substituted with a two-year or a four-year college degree from an accredited US or foreign learning education.

Examinations Required for Los Angeles Police Recruits

The testing process to become a Los Angeles cop includes a series of physical and psychological tests as well as an extensive background check and a polygraph. Once all of these tests have been taken and passed, candidates may be eligible for the LA Police Academy. The steps are as follows:

  1. Preliminary Background Application (PBA) and Job Preview Questionnaire (JPQ)
  2. Personal Qualifications Essay (PQE)
  3. Background investigation and polygraph exam
  4. Physical abilities test
  5. Department interview
  6. Medical evaluation and psychological evaluation
  7. Certification and appointment

For more information, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our homepage for the typical big city. If you are ready to apply, find specific application information at Los Angeles Application Process page.

Chief Charlie Beck is the current Los Angeles Police Chief. He has held that position since November of 2009. A California native, Chief Beck graduated from California State University at Long Beach with a Baccalaureate Degree in Occupational Studies-Vocational Arts.

Los Angeles Police Department Information

Los Angeles is one of the most ethnically diverse in the US. Its residents speak 224 languages and live in diverse communities. The LAPD works diligently to make sure that they’re connected to each and every community by offering a police force that collectively speaks 30 languages. Additionally, LA cops have access to interpreters 24 hours a day to communicate with citizens in additional languages.

The LAPD has over 250 types of job assignment and officers are eligible for assignments after two years of street patrol following successful completion of the training academy. The LAPD service area is comprised of 21 stations, known as “areas” or “divisions.” These stations are divided into four command areas known as bureaus. Additionally, the LAPD has an Office of Special Operations that includes the Detective Bureau, Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau.

Los Angeles Police Training Academy

The Los Angeles Police Training Academy has three facilities in LA; Elysian Park, Ahmanson Recruit Training Center and the Edward Davis Training Center. The training program in LA last for six months and includes rigorous physical training as well as tactical and strategic planning in a classroom. Categories of training normally include firearm training, academics, driving, human relations, law, various physical and endurance tests, tactics and specific LAPD training.

The LA Police Training Academy is available to eligible candidates free of charge and new officers are paid their full starting salary during training.

For more information on Los Angeles recruit hiring and the police academy training process, consult the information found at the LAPD recruitment website.

Los Angeles Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

The annual salary of a new recruit can vary depending on education and experience. Many new recruits with bachelor’s or master’s degrees will start out at a higher salary. However, with annual pay raises as well as multiple opportunities for promotion, the salary can increase rapidly over the years. Currently, the average pay of a Los Angeles Patrol Officer is $96,900.2 Over the last few years, the LAPD has been aggressively recruiting new officers. The city is looking to hire over 300 qualified police officers by June 2014.

For more information on current LAPD law enforcement positions, take a look at our state job board page for California.

More Information on the Los Angeles Police Department

The LAPD has a number of community projects that aim at reducing crime in the local neighborhoods. One of their most popular organizations, the Los Angeles Police Foundation organizes and funds a number of outreach programs anti-drunk driving initiatives, grief counseling, domestic violence prevention and various community issues.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Los-Angeles-Police-Department-LAPD-120962371256937/
Twitter: @LAPDHQ

LAPD Headquarters
100 W 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 486-1000

Additional Resources

1. Los Angeles Police Department: http://www.lapdonline.org/
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_31080.htm
3. Join the LAPD: https://www.joinlapd.com/

Photo credit: Wikipedia