Becoming a Police Officer in Bellevue, Washington

Bellevue was recently named the safest place to live in the Pacific Northwest, and it is no coincidence that the Bellevue police department has a long tradition of pride and excellence. As a police officer in Bellevue, you will work alongside 178 other commissioned officers that strive to maintain safety and security in this beautiful community.

In the Bellevue Police Department, jobs are varied for experienced officers with two or three years of service under their belts. Many become detectives, school resource officers, and crime analysis officers, among other roles.

Use this guide as a resource when learning how to become a police officer in Bellevue:

  1. Basic requirements
  2. Testing
  3. Oral board interview
  4. Background investigation
  5. Polygraph examination
  6. Health checks
  7. Training academy


Step 1. Basic Requirements

Meeting police officer requirements in Bellevue is the first step. The minimum qualifications for the job are:

  • U.S. citizen
  • At least 21 years old
  • High school diploma or GED
  • At least one of the following:
    • 60 semester or 90 quarter hours of higher education experience
    • Three years previous experience as a full-time police officer
    • Four years active military duty with an honorable discharge
    • 180 days of continuous activation by presidential order if you are in the military reserve
  • Have normal or correctable vision
  • Mostly clean driving, criminal, and illegal drug use record
  • No excessive debt
  • Automatic disqualification if you have willfully failed to pay income tax or child support

Step 2. Testing

The next step in becoming a police officer in Bellevue is the completion of three tests. The police department contracts this portion of the testing out to the National Testing Network. You can register online for these tests, which are:

  • Written Test: This is a basic test of your writing abilities, reading comprehension, and mathematic reasoning that should not take more than a few hours to complete.
    • 300-meter sprint in at least 71 seconds
    • 21 push-ups
    • 30 sit-ups in one minute
    • 1.5-mile run in 14 minutes and 31 seconds
  • Video Scenario Test: This test will give you a variety of recorded scenarios that you will watch and then provide a response for what you would do in such a situation.

The Bellevue police department’s hiring division will select the top-ranking candidates to continue with the application process at a scheduled oral board interview.

Step 3. Oral Board Interview

Next you will have your first interview with Bellevue police department officials. A panel will ask you questions about your qualifications that would make you an excellent Bellevue cop and you should make a point at demonstrating good communication and social skills.

Based on your oral board interview performance score you will be placed on a ranked civil service list. If you are one of the top candidates you will be chosen to continue with a background investigation.

Step 4. Background Investigation

You will need to provide a written background questionnaire for your pre-employment background investigation. This will cover information regarding any previous illegal or immoral activity you have ever been involved in. An investigator will also confirm you meet the minimum requirements for a job with the Bellevue police department, and this includes a check of your:

  • Education records
  • Criminal records
  • Military history, if applicable
  • Financial records and credit report
  • Driving history

If your background investigation confirms you have an upstanding moral character and no disqualifying findings have been made then you may receive a conditional offer of employment at this time, dependent on the successful completion of steps five and six.

Step 5. Polygraph Examination

Your polygraph examination will be administered by a professional who will question you on issues raised in your panel interview and background investigation. Your examiner may also ask you questions related to criminal activity previously undisclosed. The polygraph test is also a test of honesty and reliability in itself, and often times providing a false answer is worse than telling the full truth about the same subject.

Step 6. Health Checks

Your final duties before being cleared to begin the training academy are the health checks:

  • Medical Examination: A doctor will give you a detailed physical, hearing and vision screening, and drug test. You must pass all of these to continue with the application process.
  • Psychological Evaluation: A licensed psychologist will determine your ability to handle stress in the workplace, as well as assess your overall mental health and stability.

Step 7. Training Academy

As required by Washington State, you will have the opportunity to attend an 18-week new recruit police officer training academy. This will include another round of the same physical agility testing, but you will also receive instruction in all the key subjects necessary to turn you into a qualified Bellevue police officer. Areas of training include:

  • Firearms training
  • Interrogation strategies
  • Self-defense and lifetime fitness
  • Juvenile issues
  • Domestic violence and family matters
  • Criminal justice system
  • Defensive driving and driving maneuvers
  • Report writing
  • Patrol strategies

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