How to Become a Police Officer in San Francisco

San Francisco is home to over 830,000 residents.1 San Francisco is the fourth-largest city in California and has a variety of amenities to offer. The city has historic icons, relaxing vineyards, and a host of sports teams. Over 5,000 cops protect and serve the San Francisco metropolitan area with an average annual salary of $101,040.2

Individuals wishing to become a part of the San Francisco Police Department will find information on the application, selection and training process below.

San Francisco Police Officer Requirements

Hopeful cops must have a high diploma or GED and be at least 21 years old by the time they are sworn in as members of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). Applicants must possess a valid driver’s license when submitting the application and must have a California license prior to being hired. In addition, candidates must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Have visual acuity of 20/30 (corrected) in each eye, 20/100 (uncorrected), and undergo vision testing for binocular vision*
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Have no domestic violence misdemeanors or misdemeanor in which the penalty prohibits the ownership or possession of a firearm

*There are no minimum vision standards if soft contact lenses are worn (for at least six months).

All applicants must take the FrontLine National law enforcement exam along with a physical ability test to ensure the potential law enforcement officer can handle the physical demands of the job. SFPD applicants must undergo a polygraph, psychological and medical examination.

For additional information about becoming a law enforcement officer in a big city, see 10 Steps to Becoming a Police Officer on our home page. If candidates meet the above qualifications, they can find more recruitment information at SFPD general information and qualifications.

Chief Greg Suhr was selected as Chief of Police in 2011. He has 33 years of experience with the SFPD. Chief Suhr was born and raised in San Francisco and believes his department is in existence to serve the people. Chief Suhr is the 42nd police chief for SFPD and is working to increase transparency between the police department and the public.

San Francisco Police Department Information

SFPD has 10 district stations across the city and employed over 300 officers in 2013.3 The department has five special operations: the municipal transportation agency, homeland security unit, tactical company, urban area security initiative, and the public utilities commission liaison.

San Francisco Police Training Academy

Basic training for all SFPC recruits occurs at the San Francisco Police Department Regional Training Facility, also known as the SFPD Academy. The Academy’s goal is to get officers mentally and physically ready for the demanding police work that lies ahead of them. The basic training academy course is a 664-hour course with training in 42 topics.4

San Francisco Police Salary and Jobs Outlook

Cops in San Francisco are compensated well; the average annual salary is $101,040.2 The San Francisco metropolitan area, which includes San Francisco, San Mateo, and Redwood City, employs 5,290 law enforcement officers.2 The number of police officers in California is projected to increase by 6.8% by 2022, resulting in over 2,500 openings per year.5 The actual number of cops San Francisco hires is tied to the city’s budget and the number of police who retire annually. The city would be a good place for an aspiring cop to start his or her career.

To view open listings in San Francisco, visit our jobs board page page.

More Information on the San Francisco Police Department and Crime

The SFPD stays involved with the community through the San Francisco PALs, the Police Activities League. This league provides activities for youth across the city that includes a conditioning program, the sandlot program, baseball, cheerleading, football, and judo. The Department also offers fishing and wilderness adventure youth programs. SFPD also works with San Francisco SAFE (Safety Awareness for Everyone) to help neighborhood and business watch groups, educate citizens about youth and older adult safety, and encourage community organizing.

SFPD offers the Community Police Academy, a 10-week course training citizens in community policing and offering ride-alongs, among other topics.

Contact Information

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SFPD
Twitter: @SFPD

San Francisco Police Department Headquarters
1245 3rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94158

Additional Resources

1. US Census Bureau, San Francisco, California: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/sanfranciscocitycalifornia/PST045217
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, San Francisco: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_41884.htm
3. San Francisco Police Department 2013 Annual Report: https://sanfranciscopolice.org/annual-reports
4. California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, Regular Basic Course: https://post.ca.gov/regular-basic-course
5. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm