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Employment - Frequently Asked Questions

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

There are 10 basic traits that the Irvine Police Department seeks in their police officer candidates:

1.    Integrity 
2.    Professionalism
3.    Good communications skills
4.    Good judgment/common sense
5.    Courage
6.    Self-motivation
7.    Knowledge of the job & justice system
8.    Discretionary decision making
9.    Enthusiasm
10.  Team oriented

These 10 traits expected in police officers are captured within the Department's four core values: 


What kinds of education & 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 involved in the hiring process for a police officer with the Irvine Police Department?  


How long is the training program for a new officer?

After a two-week orientation period, new officers are released to the Field Training Program. The field training program is a 4-phase program.

Phase I - 5 weeks

Phase II - 4 weeks

Phase III- 4 weeks

Phase IV- 2 weeks

Officers may move more quickly through the program or may be extended in the program based upon their performance.

What kinds of specialty assignments does the Irvine Police Department have?

The following are specialty assignments available at the Irvine Police Department:

    • Patrol Officer
    • Field Training Officer
    • School Resource Officer
    • D.A.R.E. Officer
    • K-9 Officer
    • Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)
    • SWAT Crisis Negotiator
    • Detective - General Investigations
    • Detective - Specialized Investigations
    • Motorcycle Traffic Officer
    • Area Traffic Officer
    • Business Community Officer
    • Police Training Coordinator

Do you have to be a United States citizen to become a police officer?

Yes. California State law, (California Government Code, sec. 1031) requires that peace officers be U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens who are eligible for citizenship. The Irvine Police Department will allow you to test for the position of police officer while your application is being processed for citizenship, however, you will not be given a job offer until your citizenship is granted.

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?

All out of state applicants will need to complete a California Peace Officer Standards & Training (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 http://www.post.ca.gov

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 Fullerton, Goldenwest & Rio Hondo. 

For more information on POST certificates, refer to the California POST website: http://www.post.ca.gov

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.

Do you have a tuition reimbursement program?

Yes. The City of Irvine offers a tuition reimbursement of $1,300.00 per year. A portion of that ($350) may be used toward professional development.

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.