Law Enforcement Careers in Washington

Police training for law enforcement jobs in Washington varies depending upon the law enforcement career one seeks in the state. Police officer jobs at the town and city level might require less training, while state police and trooper jobs require academy training.

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Law enforcement careers in Washington may be lucrative, with trooper cadets making a starting salary of $38,256 per year, and state troopers making a base pay from $46,704 to $62,484 annually depending upon the length of time one has worked in the position.

Police Officer Jobs in Washington

Police officers work in Washington’s cities and towns. Police officer jobs in Washington’s largest municipal areas may be found in:

  • Bellevue Police Department
  • Tacoma Police Department
  • Seattle Police Department
  • Spokane City Police Department

Police officer jobs in Washington’s municipalities may include:

  • Chief law enforcement officer
  • Town marshal
  • Police chief
  • Police officer

The FBI reports that in 2011, the number of larceny-thefts, robberies and motor vehicle thefts in Seattle decreased from 2010’s numbers. Decreases were seen in the number of murders in Tacoma from 2010 to 2011, the number of aggravated assaults in Spokane, and the number of robberies in Bellevue.

Deputy Sheriff Jobs in Washington

Washington’s 39 counties each have independently elected Sheriffs. However, Deputy Sheriff jobs in Washington are not elected offices, meaning that anyone who is qualified may apply for these positions. Each Sheriff’s office has different responsibilities, meaning that some counties may operate a jail from the sheriff’s department, while other may operate 911 emergency services from the sheriff’s office.

The largest Washington counties with sheriffs’ departments are:

  • Spokane County – Spokane – fourth most populated county in the state as of 2007
  • King County – Seattle – largest county in the state as of 2007
  • Pierce County – Tacoma – second most populated county in the state as of 2007

Deputy Sheriff jobs in Washington counties may include:

  • Deputy sheriff

Qualifications for Becoming a Police Officer or Deputy Sheriff in Washington

While every county and city in Washington State may have its own requirements to obtain a police officer or deputy sheriff job, the following general qualifications usually apply:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a valid state driver’s license
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be able to read and write English
  • Have no record of felony convictions
  • Willing to relocate within county/municipality as required
  • Pass physical, written, psychological and polygraph tests
  • Pass background investigation

State Trooper Jobs With the Highway Patrol in Washington

There are approximately 600 state troopers currently working in Washington State. State trooper jobs with the highway patrol in Washington are responsible for keeping the entire state safe – not only its highways. State trooper jobs in Washington may be located in:

  • District 1: Tacoma
  • District 2: Bellevue
  • District 3: Yakima
  • District 4: Spokane
  • District 5: Vancouver
  • District 6: Wenatchee
  • District 7: Marysville
  • District 8: Bremerton

State trooper jobs with the highway patrol in Washington may include:

  • State trooper
  • Communications officer
  • Trooper cadet

Violent crimes in Washington in 2011 decreased by five percent from 2010’s statistics, according to the 2011 Crime in Washington report.

Qualifications for Becoming a State Trooper in Washington

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Be 19.5 years of age or older when applying for job
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Pass medical, psychological, drug, background investigations and examinations
  • Pass physical fitness test
  • Have no felony convictions on record
  • Be willing to relocate to anywhere in the state as needed
  • Be willing to work long hours, rotating shifts, and weekends

General Hiring Practices for Law Enforcement Jobs in Washington

Under the rules of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, all new hires for Washington state trooper positions must complete at least 720 hours of basic training. Police agencies and county sheriff’s departments each have their own standards for training. Applicants to these law enforcement agencies are urged to contact the agency in question to learn its training requirements.

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