How to Become a Police Officer in Portland

Portland has become a trendy city for the young and hip in recent years, but in reality this thriving city has something for everyone. From the art and music scene of the city to the rugged outdoor adventures waiting just beyond, this area is an exciting place to live. With a population of 619,360, Portland has a sizable police force and a regular need for new, qualified officers.

For those wishing to become part of the law enforcement team in Portland, the application, selection, and training process is detailed below.

Portland Police Officer Requirements

The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) is always looking for the right men and women to join the force. At a minimum, candidates must be 21 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. New recruits must also have either been certified as an officer in another state, accrued 60 credit hours of college coursework, have served two years of active military duty, or have worked for two years in law enforcement for another agency. Although not strict requirements, the PPB looks for candidates with good communication skills, experience working in a multicultural setting, demonstration of good moral character, and a proven ability to help people in different mental and emotional states.

To begin the process of being considered for the PPB, new recruits take a written test and are interviewed and share a personal history document. Those who pass the first two hurdles will then take a physical abilities test, undergo a background investigation and be medically and psychologically evaluated. Each step must be passed before the candidate can move on to the next step. Those making it through the application process will most likely be offered a position within the Bureau and will move on to basic training.

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 now, find specific application information on the Portland Police Bureau recruiting site.

PPB Chief of Police Larry O’Dea has been with the Bureau since 1986 and has been serving as the Chief since January 2, 2015. O’Dea previously served as the Assistant Chief of Operations for the Bureau as well as in other administrative positions. He earned degrees in social work and criminal justice from Portland State University and Portland Community College. O’Dea has won several awards during his career in law enforcement, including a Medal of Honor and two Medals of Valor.

Portland Police Bureau Information

The Portland Police Bureau is a diverse force dedicated to the protection of residents, the reduction of crime, and commitment to the community. In addition to the patrol officers, the department consists of several specialty units to better serve the population of the city. These include a behavioral health unit, bike theft task force, a canine unit, a family services division, a human trafficking task force, and more.

Portland Police Training Academy

New recruits to the PPB must attend basic training at the Oregon Public Safety Academy. The training course lasts for 16 weeks and is followed by two months of field training 12 weeks of additional work at Portland’s Advanced Academy. New officers begin earning a paycheck while in basic training and advanced training and remain on probation for the first 18 months on the job.

Portland Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

Entry level cops in Portland begin with an annual salary of $48,318, which quickly rises to $58,988 after six months and $62,628 after one year.1 The PPB salary is very competitive but is also balanced by the city’s cost of living, which is 25.7% higher than the national average.2 The average annual salary for police officers in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro statistical area is $66,110.3

Law enforcement jobs in Oregon are expected to grow in the coming years. Between now and 2022 these positions are expected to increase by 8.5% with an average of 180 new jobs opening up each year.4

How to Learn More About the Department and Crime in Portland

The Portland Police Bureau is dedicated to working with the community and has several opportunities for residents to get involved and learn more about the Bureau. Anyone able to spare five to six hours can join officers on a ride-along. Young men and women can get involved in the Cadet Program for hands-on training and mentorship. Residents can also contact the PPB for information on starting and leading a neighborhood watch program.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/portlandpolice?_rdr=p
Twitter: @PortlandPolice

Portland Police Bureau
111 SW 2nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97204

Additional Resources

1. Oregon Fraternal Order of Police: http://www.oregonfop.com/
2. Fraternal Order of Police, Willamette Valley: http://www.foporegonlodge7.com/
3. Portland Police Association: http://www.ppavigil.org/

1. Portland Police Bureau: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/
2. Sperling’s Best Places: Portland, Oregon: https://www.bestplaces.net/city/oregon/portland
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_38900.htm#33-0000
4. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm