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To view employment opportunities with the Irvine Police Department, visit City of Irvine Career Opportunities

Hiring process  Employment FAQs  Common Disqualifiers

Hiring Process

The eight steps below are designed to identify those best qualified for a law enforcement career with the Irvine Police Department:

STEP 1: Apply. Applications are accepted online and screened for minimum qualifications.

STEP 2: Candidates meeting the minimum qualifications will be invited to participate in a written examination. The most qualified applicants will be selected to continue to the next phase.

STEP 3: Oral interview. An interview board asks job-related questions designed to assess the applicant's knowledge and skills.

STEP 4: Pre-polygraph questionnaire and interview.

STEP 5: Physical agility test (PAT).  The PAT is administered to those who successfully pass the pre-polygraph step to determine the applicant’s ability to perform job-related tasks. Exercises that will be assessed include, 1.5 mile run, 165-pound body drag, 6-foot chain link fence, 6-foot solid wall, maximum push-ups in two (2) minutes, and maximum sit-ups in two (2) minutes.

STEP 6: Polygraph and background investigation.  A polygraph is used to confirm information on the pre-polygraph questionnaire, the application form, present and past use of narcotics or drugs and any previous job-related problems. The background investigator will contact employers, references, family members, neighbors, and others to assess the applicant's character. The background investigation normally takes between four and eight weeks to complete.

STEP 7: Ride-along. Applicants will be scheduled for a ride-along after they have submitted their background packet to help candidates learn more about Irvine’s policing philosophy. Laterals may schedule ride-alongs after successful completion of the oral interview.

STEP 8: Applicants who successfully complete the background step will be invited to an interview with the Chief of Police. Candidates who are successful in passing their Chief’s interview will receive a job offer contingent on passing the medical and psychological exams.

STEP 9: Medical and psychological exam. These exams are conducted to determine the applicant's fitness for duty.

After completion of these steps, the successful applicant can begin his or her career in law enforcement. Recruits are scheduled for the police academy at Golden West or the Orange County Sheriff's Academy. Academy graduates and laterals officers from other police agencies are assigned directly to Field Training Officers for their assignments in Patrol.

Employment FAQs

What qualities and characteristics does the Irvine Police Department look for in police officer candidates?

The Irvine Police Department's four core values are Integrity, Quality Service, Accountability and Respect.  The 10 basic traits the Irvine Police Department seeks in a candidate are consistent with our core values.  These traits are integrity; professionalism; good communications skills; good judgment/common sense; courage; self-motivation; knowledge of the job & justice system; discretionary decision making; enthusiasm; team-oriented.

What kinds of education and experience should I consider before applying to become a police officer with the City of Irvine?

  1. Education: Most of the progressive agencies in California place a high value on a college education. An AA is a good start. The choice of a major is not nearly as important as the college experience itself.
  2. Work experience: A track record as a dependable & reliable employee is just as important as education. The best predictor of future behavior is past performance. Positive job references from a reputable employer are extremely important. Any consistent employment is helpful, however jobs which emphasize public contact, interpersonal communications, dependability and responsibility are the most important.
  3. Law enforcement Exposure: Make an ongoing effort to learn about law enforcement. Most agencies have part-time positions. They may be cadets, community service officers, police aides, public safety aides, etc. All provide exposure to the law enforcement environment. Agencies also have volunteer programs that can provide similar exposure and may also lead to employment opportunities.
  4. Physical fitness: Start now on an ongoing physical fitness program, since you will need to be in good physical condition to successfully compete for employment and complete a police academy.
  5. Moral character: Realize that any poor choices you make, especially as an adult, could jeopardize a future law enforcement career. While perfection is not expected or required, drug use, theft, dishonesty and poor judgment end many careers before they get started.
  6. Balance: Above all, successful law enforcement applicants tend to be those who have balance in their lives. All of the above factors are important and development of one to the exclusion of the others will probably frustrate your career efforts.

What are the physical requirements of police officer candidates?

Weight must be in proportion to height; good physical condition as determined by an examining physician approved by the City of Irvine; vision must be 20/100 or better in each eye without correction, correctable to 20/20 in the better eye and not less than 20/30 in the lesser eye; and normal color vision.

What is a "Lateral Transfer"?

This classification is for experienced police officers who have graduated from a P.O.S.T. certified basic academy, completed a probation period of full-time sworn police experience and be in possession of a California P.O.S.T. Basic Certificate at the time of filing the employment application.

Do you accept police officer lateral transfers?

Yes. We accept applications for lateral transfer on an as-needed basis and we will screen and process applicants every few months as needed. There is some flexibility on the education, depending on your experience.

What is the process for an out of state lateral officer applicant?

Out of state applicants should complete a California Peace Officer Standards & Training (P.O.S.T.) Basic Certificate to be processed as a lateral applicant. Out of state applicants who do not have the P.O.S.T. Basic Certificate may be required to complete a California P.O.S.T. academy, regardless of whether they have attended a police academy in another state. In addition, the applicant is required to possess an AA/AS or 60 units.

What is P.O.S.T.?

The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) is responsible for regulating and certifying all law enforcement agencies in the state.

The Commission's goal is to concentrate its services on the three ingredients believed to be most critical to effective law enforcement:

Meeting the statewide need for consistent peace officer selection standards by developing and updating job-related selection standards.
Assuring that California peace officers have access to appropriate training to acquire the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors which are consistent with the requirements and expectations of professional competence associated with the job at each career and experience stage.
Fostering and facilitating healthy and productive organizational environments in which officers work by providing a system of leadership development programs and offering management counseling services.

The Commission on P.O.S.T. is a state agency which was formally established in 1959. It consists of 14 members, 13 of whom are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, for three-year overlapping terms. Commissioners are selected to provide a balanced group of city and county administrators, law enforcement professionals, educators, and public members. The State Attorney General is a Commissioner by law.

The POST Advisory Committee is the Commission's "sounding board" and provides input on many of the Commission's complex issues. The Advisory Committee represents the major associations and organizations within California's law enforcement community. Educators and public members also serve on the Committee.

The POST Commission establishes minimum selection and training standards, provides counseling on improving management practices, and provides financial assistance to agencies to support the training of their peace officers, dispatchers and para-professional employees. Other major responsibilities include:

Administering a professional certificate program for peace officers, reserves and dispatchers;
Incorporating instructional technology in training;
Conducting feasibility studies regarding peace officer status; and implementing statutory mandates as required.

For more information about P.O.S.T. visit their web page at

What is a P.O.S.T. Certificate?

The POST Basic Certificate is the first of several levels of professional peace officer certificates issued by the state. The POST Basic Certificate is required within 18 months of being appointed as a peace officer.

You can obtain a California Basic POST Certificate in two ways:

  • Seek employment with an agency that sponsors recruits through a POST basic police academy.
  • Sponsor yourself through one of the POST basic police academies which accepts independent recruits.
  • These basic police academies are operated by several community colleges throughout the state, including Goldenwest & Rio Hondo.

For more information on POST certificates, refer to the California POST website:

During the testing process, do you receive additional points for being in the military service?

No. However, military service, education, training and/or work experience will be included in your background file for review by the administration during the selection process.

How long is the training period for an entry level police recruit?

As an entry-level officer, you will need to complete the Basic Academy, which may range from 664 hours to 980 hours depending upon which academy is attended. After completion of the academy, you must successfully complete a 16-week training program provided by the Irvine Police Department.

Will I be paid while I attend the academy?

Yes. While attending the police academy you will receive the regular salary for a police recruit.

Do you have to live at the academy?

No. The general hours of the academy are 0700-1600 with weekends and holidays off.

How do I apply if I have already completed the P.O.S.T. Basic academy?

We accept applications from academy graduates on an as-needed basis. The requirements do include graduating in the top 35% of your class within the past 12 months and either an AA/AS or 60 units.

Do you have to live in Irvine?

No. You do not need to be a resident of the City of Irvine, but you do need to be a resident of the State of California.

What kind of work schedule do the patrol officers have?

Patrol officers have the option of choosing to work four 10-hour days or three 12-hour days. Those assigned to the 4/10 work Monday-Thursday. Those assigned to the 3/12 work Friday-Sunday.

Common Disqualifiers

Below is a list of the most common areas that may disqualify an applicant for a Police Officer position with the Irvine Police Department. If you have a question regarding any of these areas, please contact the Office of Professional Development Lieutenant at 949-724-7143.

Substance Abuse

Will Disqualify:

  • Use of marijuana, hashish, or cocaine within the last 12 months.
  • Use of cocaine more than 5 times within the last 3 years.
  • Use of LSD or heroin at anytime.
  • Sale of marijuana, drugs, or narcotics at any time.
  • Abuse of pharmaceutical drugs as an adult (18 years+).

May Disqualify:

  • Knowingly remaining in place where narcotics were used.
  • Experimentation with barbiturates, amphetamines, or hallucinogens, other than LSD.
  • Use of non-prescription steroids within the last 12 months.

Criminal Offenses

Will Disqualify:

  • Felony conviction.
  • On probation or parole.

May Disqualify:

  • Adult conviction for a property related offense.
  • Theft from any employer as an adult in excess of $100.00 (property or cash).
  • Sex act for which criminal prosecution would have resulted had the incident been reported.

Traffic Related

Will Disqualify:

  • Unable to obtain a valid California drivers license.
  • Unable to obtain motor vehicle insurance.

May Disqualify:

  • DUI conviction within the past 3 years.
  • More than 1 DUI conviction, including reckless driving with alcohol.
  • Conviction of 4 or more moving violations.
  • Revocation/suspension of drivers license within the past 3 years.
  • At fault in 3 traffic accidents within the last 5 years.

Polygraph Exam

Will Disqualify:

  • Continued responses indicating deception on questions asked.
  • Attempts to defeat the machine (i.e., holding breath, hyperventilating, or taking drugs/alcohol before testing).

May Disqualify:

  • Withholding information from polygraph examiner.
  • Admissions to conduct unacceptable.


Will Disqualify:

  • Failure to meet the standards as determined by the department psychologist (written and oral interview).


Will Disqualify:
Physically incapable of safely performing job duties pursuant to ADA regulations.


Will Disqualify:

  • Falsification and/or omission of any data on personal history statement.
  • Untruthfulness to the background investigator.

May Disqualify:

  • Inability to communicate with a variety of types of people as is expected of a police officer.
  • Unfavorable work history (discipline, firing, attendance problems, etc.).
  • Signs of immaturity from background investigator. 

NOTE: This list is not all inclusive and other information or facts revealed in the detailed background investigation may also be sufficient to disqualify an applicant.