Lateral Entry Police Officer; Seattle Police Department

National Testing Network

The Seattle Police Department is currently hiring for the position of Lateral Entry Police Officer. This is an invite-only testing process. To be invited to test, first you must complete a department application here.  The Seattle Police Department is accepting applications from June 23, 2021 to September 10, 2021 for the fourth exam cycle (Cycle 4).

The City of Seattle is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity in its workforce.

Lateral Entry Police Officer candidates are experienced police officers who have worked for other municipal, county, or state agencies for at least 24 of the past 36 months (post academy experience) at the time of testing, with full police powers and duties.  An applicant MUST have experience as a patrol officer who has responded to 911 calls.  Experience gained solely as a Corrections Officer does not qualify an applicant for lateral entry status, even if the applicant has completed an equivalent basic law enforcement academy.  If you are currently a police officer but do not meet the experience requirements of a Lateral Police Officer, you may qualify to test as an Exceptional Entry candidate. Exceptional Entry candidates should apply as an Entry Level Police Officer and take the entry-level exam.

If you meet the minimum qualifications, you will receive an email notification from NTN inviting you to take the Frontline National Test and complete the PSSA parts 1 & 2 through NTN. Both the Frontline National Test and the PSSAs must be completed by the closing date of September 8, 2021.  Before you apply and test, please be sure that you are available to participate in the post-exam assessments advertised below.   The post-exam screening steps will be conducted in Seattle, Washington.   If you are unavailable to participate in any of the screening steps listed below, you will need to wait to participate in a subsequent exam cycle.  The City of Seattle is expected to conduct four (4) separate exam cycles in 2021.  This application process is for Exam Cycle Four (4) only.

Exam Step 1 – Video Exam and Online Job Survey (Please Note:  There are two options to complete the video exam.  Seattle will only accept one of the test result options listed below.)

  • Option 1:  Between June 23, 2021 – September 10, 2021, video exams will be conducted by the National Testing Network (NTN).  Applicants will be able to participate in the exam process in one of two ways: (1) from their own home computer with a virtual proctor, or (2) at an NTN center location convenient to them.  The City of Seattle will pay the fee for exam administration.
  • Test results earned at these exam administrations will be sent to Seattle and are not transferable to any other department.  All candidates will receive their scores upon conclusion of the testing process via e-mail from Seattle’s Fire & Police Exam Unit.  If you select Option 1 you forfeit the ability to transfer a current NTN exam score (see Option 2 below).
  • Option 2:  Applicants can transfer any current NTN Frontline score earned between March 10, 2021 and September 10, 2021.  Applicants who elect to transfer scores will be able to add Seattle as a department (at no cost) following NTN’s standard “department add” process. The City of Seattle will pay the fee for a score transfer.
  • Candidates who pass the NTN Frontline video exam will be scheduled by the Seattle Police Department’s Background Investigation Unit for the remainder of the scheduled pre-employment assessment screening.

Exam Step 2 – Oral Board Interview / Post-Exam Screening with the Seattle Police Department  (Applicants will need to come to Seattle to participate in this portion of applicant screening.)

  • Oral Board interviews:  October 9, 2021
    • Lateral entry candidates must pass their oral board to be placed on the eligible list.
  • Interview with Background Detective:  October 9-10, 2021 (candidates will be required to remain in the Seattle area until 4:00 p.m. on October 10, 2021).

Please note that the Seattle Police Department requires applicants to complete a separate Personal History Information (PHI) packet.  Candidates are required to bring their completed PHI packet to turn in at the administration of the Physical Agility Test.  Failure to turn in a completed and notarized PHI at the appointed time will result in an applicant’s disqualification from further participation in the pre-employment assessment steps associated with this exam cycle.  To access the Seattle Police Department’s PHI packet, please click here.

Salary Information for Police Officer: The range for starting monthly salary for a Lateral Entry Police Officer is between Step 3 and Step 5, depending on experience; step, longevity and cost of living pay increases per union contract.

  • $7,814/month – 24 – 41 months experience (Step 3)
  • $8,115/month – 42 – 53 months experience (Step 4)
  • $8,522/month – 54+ months experience (Step 5)

Department Overview: The mission of the Seattle Police Department is to prevent crime, enforce the law, and support quality public safety by delivering respectful, professional, and dependable police services.  The Seattle Police Department is seeking individuals who are committed to understanding and protecting the ethical, cultural, and ethnic values of the City of Seattle and its residents as Police Officers.  As first responders, Police Officers are vital to public safety and under regular supervision, perform basic police services in accordance with the mission, goals and objectives of the City of Seattle Police Department and in compliance with governing federal, state, and local laws. 

Vacancies: It is anticipated that approximately 50 -100 positions will be filled annually, depending on attrition and budget.

Benefit Information:

  • Yearly uniform allowance of $550.00
  • 10 Paid Holidays plus 16 Hours Personal Holiday
  • 12 Days paid vacation per year to start; accrual increases with longevity
  • 12 Days paid sick leave (can be used for spouse/domestic partner, child or parent – unlimited accrual)
  • Enrollment in Washington State LEOFF2 Retirement
  • Deferred Compensation Plan (Optional – City matches up to $4,380 per year)
  • Medical/Dental/Vision/Life Insurance


Job Requirements


Age : Must be 20.5 years of age at the time of test

US Citizen : Hold U.S. citizenship, OR have legal permanent residency in the U.S.

High School Grad/GED : Yes

Valid WASHINGTON State Driver’s License : Yes

Ability to Read/Speak English : Yes

Desired Qualifications :

  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to effectively interact with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Ability to accurately type at least 35 wpm is highly desirable
  • Seattle residence is not required for application or appointment


Minimum Employment Standards : The Seattle Police Department has additional minimum employment standards for all applicants to the position of Police Officer. Applicants must meet all eligibility standards by the date of participation in the exam process. The following standards apply to all candidates for Police Officer:

Drug Use. Prior to the exam date:

  • Have not used Marijuana within twelve (12) months prior to taking civil service exam, and
  • Have not used cocaine or crack within the previous five (5) years, and
  • Have not used club drugs, such as, but not limited to: Ketamine, GHB, Rohypnol, or MDMA (ecstasy) within the previous three (3) years, and
  • Have not used any Hallucinogens, LSD, Mushrooms, or Psylocybin within the previous five (5) years, and
  • Have not used PCP, Angel Dust, Wet or Phencyclidine within the previous five (5) years, and
  • Have not used Opium, Morphine, or Heroin within the previous five (5) years, and
  • Have not used Methamphetamine, Crank, Crystal, Ice, Speed, Glass, or Amphetamine within the previous five (5) years, and
  • Have not inhaled aerosols, sometimes referred to as Huffing (paint) or Whippits (Nitrous Oxide) or used Khat within the previous five (5) years, and
  • Have not used any illegal drug(s) while employed in a criminal justice and/or law enforcement capacity, and
  • Have not manufactured or cultivated illegal drug(s) for the purpose of the sales/marketing of the drug(s).

Please note that use of illegal drugs and the illegal use of prescription drugs, referred to in this standard, means the use of one or more drugs, the possession or distribution of which is unlawful under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.
Offers of employment are conditioned upon a pre-employment drug screening to confirm abstinence from illegal drug use.

Traffic Record
A candidate’s driving record will be thoroughly assessed and may be a factor for disqualification. Examples of infractions/traffic crimes that may be disqualifying:

  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Reckless Driving, or Hit & Run Driving.
  • Suspension of your driver’s license within five (5) years of the exam date
  • Three (3) or more moving violations (speeding, negligent driving, etc.) within five (5) years of the exam date will be carefully reviewed.
  • Two (2) or more accidents within five (5) years of the exam date, wherein candidate was judged to be at fault and/or charged with a moving violation.

Criminal History
A candidate’s criminal history, including all arrests, prosecutions, deferred prosecutions, “Alford” pleas, and non-conviction information will be thoroughly assessed and may be grounds for disqualification. The following will be disqualifying:

  • Any adult felony conviction.
  • Any misdemeanor or felony conviction while employed in a criminal justice and/or law enforcement capacity.
  • Any domestic violence conviction.

Employment Record
A candidate’s employment history, including any terminations, or leaving an employer in lieu of termination, will be thoroughly assessed and may be grounds for disqualification.

Financial Record
A candidate’s credit history, including excessive credit card debt or unresolved accounts in collection will be thoroughly assessed and may be grounds for disqualification. The following will be disqualifying:

  • Failure to pay income tax or child support.

Professional Appearance
All applicants are expected to maintain a professional appearance at all times. SPD has the sole discretion in determining what is considered professional, as it relates to the position of Police Officer. Any and all tattoos, branding (intentional burning of the skin to create a design), voluntary disfigurement (marring or spoiling of the appearance or shape of a body part), or scarification (intentional cutting of the skin to create a design) shall be carefully reviewed by SPD on a case-by-case basis.
Job offers are contingent on review of credit, criminal and driving history as well as verification of information provided by the applicant as part of the application process. Medical, psychological, and polygraph examinations are administered after a conditional offer of employment is made.


Examination Process : Candidates who pass all portions of the exam will be placed on an eligible list according to their final examination grade (including veteran’s preference points, or language preference points, if applicable). The role of the Seattle Department of Human Resources is to establish an eligible list and, upon request by the Seattle Police Department, to certify the names of candidates on the eligible list. The Police Department will directly contact those individuals who will proceed to the next step in the pre-employment process.

Notes :
1. Candidates must pass each part of the examination process to be placed on the eligible list.
2. All candidates will be required to present government-issued identification showing a photograph at each phase of the examination process (e.g. driver’s license, military identification, etc.).
3. After appointment to a regular Police Officer position, the employee must serve a one-year probationary period during which the employee must demonstrate the ability to perform the work assigned to the position.
4. Applicants must make prompt notification of a change of address to the Seattle Department of Human Resources in writing through the online application system.
5. Candidates who qualify for veteran’s preference points will (after passing the video exam) be required to submit documentation (e.g., a copy of their long-form DD214 showing their honorable discharge) to support their claim for veteran’s preference points. Candidates must pass all portions of the civil service exam process before veteran’s preference points can be added to their scores.
6. Candidates who are bilingual and who pass the Physical Agility Test administered by the Seattle Police Department, may request to be tested for proficiency in another language. Candidates who successfully pass the language proficiency test will have language preference points added to their exam score.
7. The Seattle Police Department is seeking to add to its diverse team of hardworking, committed individuals with a passion for public service, and who are deeply aligned with our City’s values of social justice. The City of Seattle is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Applicants are considered for positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, gender identity, political ideology, or any other basis prohibited by federal, state, and local laws.