There are several steps and skills requirements to becoming recognized as a SPPD officer candidate, and every competency must be met for consideration. The State of Minnesota set some of the highest standards for becoming a Peace Officer in the U.S; all SPPD officer candidates must meet these requirements. However, as a large, complex jurisdiction, we require our officer candidates to meet additional criteria to ensure they are prepared to perform the demands of the job. SPPD has one of the best-qualified departments in the region.

Steps to becoming a SPPD Police Officer

Step 1: State Certification

The steps to becoming a peace officer in Minnesota are defined by the Minnesota Board of Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST). You must complete POST recognized, post-secondary educational training in law enforcement. Upon completion of the education, you become eligible to sit for the Peace Officer Licensing Exam or the Reciprocity Licensing Examination. To learn more, visit the POST website.

Step 2: Application

If you have passed your POST licensing exam, you are now eligible to apply for consideration as a SPPD officer. This application will include basic screening to ensure you meet core requirements including being at least 21 years of age,  a U.S. citizen, holding a valid driver’s license, and no criminal or felony convictions.

Step 3: Screening for SPPD’s Competencies

To become a licensed officer, candidates must prove they meet the peace officer selection standards (established by POST Board rule). SPPD standards for hire exceed the post selection standards, and candidates must undergo an initial interview and competencies evaluation that addresses the following:

  • Exam: All police officer applicants must undergo a written examination conducted by the City of Saint Paul's Human Resources office.
  • Psychological assessment: Not everyone is cut out to be a police officer. The job can at times require you to work under intense pressure, and maintain composer while enduring verbal or physical abuse. We evaluate potential candidates for personality traits that indicate potential success. Examples include natural ability to tolerate stress, honesty, integrity, and your motivations to choose law enforcement as a career. 
  • Backgrounds: Each candidate receives an extensive background investigation reviewing employment history, criminal history, and review of character through friends and family.  

Step 4:  Acceptance into SPPD’s Academy

The most competitive candidates from the screening process are selected for conditional hire. You will join the SPPD family as a ‘recruit’ and must successfully complete our academy. As a recruit, you will receive pay and benefits as you train for up to 40 hours weekly. The training builds upon POST certification requirements, adding education in the laws and city ordinances specific to the City of Saint Paul, advanced defensive tactics training, and additional physical training. Your skills and competencies continue to be assessed as you participate in the academy. All recruits who complete the academy become eligible for review as an officer and must pass a final written, oral and physical exam. Areas of of competencies include:

  • Physical: Serving as a police officer is a physically demanding job. You must pass variety of fitness tests that addresses body composition, flexibility, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, anaerobic power, and explosive power. Not an athlete? Don’t worry, you can prepare for the exam. Physical Requirement information is here.
  • Defensive Tactics: You will be evaluated for your skills and knowledge in the field of law enforcement. Examples include de-escalation techniques, basic knowledge of criminal law, and demonstration of physical skills required to apprehend a suspect.
  • Firearms: To ensure public safety, you must demonstrate accuracy and advanced skill in handling of a fire arm under a variety of conditions.
  • Driving: You must demonstrate advanced skills in the management of a patrol car through obstacle safety course and additional competencies.

Step 5:  Licensure as an Officer

Upon successful completion of the academy and passing of the exam, you enter into a field training program, which lasts approximately 4 months. After successful completion in field training, you become a proud member of the Saint Paul Police Department and will be recognized as a licensed peace officer serving in Minnesota in a one year probationary status.   

Last Edited: May 18, 2018