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    Hiring Process

    The process that a Police Officer Candidate must complete before they can become a Philadelphia Police Officer consists of multiple steps. Candidates must submit an application and then successfully complete a number of examinations and evaluations. The candidate will then take part in an extensive training program and finally, an 18 month on-the-job probationary period before becoming a permanent Police Officer in the City of Philadelphia.

    1. Employment Application

    Police Officer Recruit Applications are only available online during an open enrollment period at Click on "Open Competitive" under "Job Opportunities" and go to "Police Officer Recruit."

    2. Reading Examination

    Prospective Philadelphia Police Officers will be required to complete the Nelson-Denny Reading Test

    3. Physical Fitness & Agility Test

    Prospective Philadelphia Police Officers will be required to complete the Physical Fitness Test (see 'Requirements' for details). Before the test, applicants will be required to undergo a brief medical examination to insure they are healthy enough to perform the test.

    The physical fitness test confirms that prospective police recruits are performing physically (based on their age and gender) at the 30th percentile. The test includes the 300-meter run, bench press (percentage of body weight) sit-ups (within 1 minute) and the 1.5-mile run. Watch a brief video about the Police Recruit Physical Fitness Pre-Examination. Read the latest physical fitness requirements as mandated by the Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission. The Department has also prepared some basic guidelines on how to prepare for the physical fitness requirements.

    4. Drug-Screening Test

    Police Officer Candidates will be subjected to a drug-screening test. Random drug-screening is also performed on all active Philadelphia Police Officers throughout their career.

    5. Personal Data Questionnaire (PDQ) Interview

    Prior to beginning the background investigation, candidates must complete an exhaustive background questionnaire called the "PDQ". Every aspect of the candidates previous history is to be recorded on this document. Police background investigators provide this form to candidates at their first orientation session and explain how to properly complete it. Because it is so comprehensive, candidates are given the questionnaire and instructed to take it home, conduct the necessary research to complete it, and then to return it to the Internal Investigations Unit located at 22nd & Hunting Park Avenue. It is critical that this form be completed truthfully and in its entirety. Any falsehoods are grounds for immediate rejection.

    6. Background Investigation

    During this phase of the process, members of the Recruit Background Investigations Unit initiate contact with individuals in your employment history, family, friends, associates and neighbors. In addition to contacting these principles, they may also speak to persons they identify as having known you.

    Investigators will contact former employers and review your work history, they will speak to coworkers, teachers, and anyone else who can offer insights into your character and fitness for police work. Our efforts are designed to gain an understanding of the kind of person you are and to exclude candidates who have demonstrated character traits that are inconsistent with the highest values of the profession.

    We seek candidates with the highest moral and ethical standards for our agency. The background investigation must indicate that you have the necessary morality, honesty, trustworthiness and integrity to join our ranks. You must pass this phase to proceed to the next step in the selection process.

    7. Medical Evaluation

    The medical evaluation consists primarily of a complete physical examination. You will have a medical history, EKG, eye examination (corrected vision must be 20/20), your breathing tested, you will be subject to color blindness tests, and other examinations consistent with a thorough physical examination. You will also have to submit to a drug screening test during this examination.

    You will have your height and weight recorded and evaluated. Your weight must be proportionate to your height. Applicants who are overweight will be informed of the target weight they must attain before being eligible for appointment. Applicants who fail to meet the weight requirement will be examined again at a later date.

    The physical examination is given to all candidates as part of their pre-employment screening requirement. Applicants must pass this phase before proceeding to the next step in the selection process.

    8. Psychological Evaluation

    Candidates who pass the written examination are required to take the MMPI-2, which is a computer administered, true-false personality inventory. They are then required to have a one hour psychological evaluation with a State of Pennsylvania licensed psychologist.

    9. Polygraph Examination

    The polygraph examination is a part of the hiring process.
    This test is currently administrated by an outside agency that consists of internationally known certified polygraphists and interrogation experts. The test consists of questions designed to verify the truthfulness of the police applicant, and the information that he/she placed in their police data questionnaire (PDQ) books. This test is at least two hours long and is scheduled by members of the recruiting unit. No applicant will be appointed to the Police Department unless they take and pass the polygraph examination.

    10. Training Program

    If you've satisfactorily completed the process this far, you will be placed on an eligibility list. When vacancies exist and training classes are scheduled, candidates are sequentially drawn from this list and invited to attend the scheduled training class.

    If notified that you have been selected to attend the Police Academy, you will undergo thirty (30) weeks of intensive training designed to produce the best police officers in the country.

    11. On-The-Job Probation

    Candidates who successfully complete their training are promoted to Police Officer I. Upon graduation, officers are assigned to a patrol district. The date of promotion marks the beginning of a one-year probationary evaluation period. During this period, the conduct of probationary officers will be under close scrutiny. At the conclusion of that year of probation, officers are appointed as full-time employees of the Philadelphia Police Department.

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