My Tustin

Sworn Positions

Employment Requirements for Police Officer

  • Age: Must be at least 21 years of age at the time of appointment.
  • Experience/Education: High school graduation or equivalent.
  • Citizenship: Must be a United States citizen or a permanent resident alien who is eligible for and has applied for United States citizenship. In accordance with California State law, citizenship status must be conferred within three (3) years of applying for citizenship.
  • Background/Character: Must be of good moral character with no convictions for felony or crimes of moral turpitude, and must undergo and pass an extensive background investigation.
  • License/Certificates: Must possess and maintain a valid California driver’s license and satisfactory driving record at time of appointment.
  • Communication: Fluent command of the English language in both oral and written form. Bilingual skills are desirable.
  • Physical Requirements: Must be physically capable of performing all tasks required of a Tustin Police Officer as determined by a physical agility test, medical examination and psychological evaluation. Normal hearing and color vision; vision 20/100 in each eye correctable to 20/20; weight proportional to height.


How Do I Apply to be a Tustin Police Officer

Potential Police Officers fall into four categories:

I. Police Recruit: (Entry Level)

The Police Recruit position is designed for Police Officer candidates with no previous experience as a sworn Police Officer, and with no previous police academy training. Once hired, Police Recruits will be assigned and sponsored to a local Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) approved police academy. Full-time police academies take approximately six months to complete. Upon successful completion of an academy, a recruit will be assigned as a Police Officer, and will begin the Department's field training program. The assignment as a Police Officer begins an eighteen-month probationary employment status.

II. Police Officer: (Lateral Entry)

The Tustin Police Department is continuously seeking experienced Police Officers. To be considered as a Lateral Entry candidate, you must currently be a sworn police officer with a law enforcement agency, either within or outside California. Candidates for Lateral Entry from outside California may be required to complete a brief, re-qualification course approved by California’s POST for further information on out-of-state requirements, please refer to POST website. The assignment of pay rate and benefits for Lateral Entry officers is flexible, and request for increases in starting level of pay and benefits will be considered. The appointment as a Tustin Police Officer begins an eighteen-month probationary employment status.

III. Police Officer: (Academy Graduate)

The Tustin Police Department is continuously seeking Police Officer applicants that have completed a POST approved police academy, or are currently enrolled in a POST approved academy. Once an academy graduate is hired, or a current enrollee successfully completes an academy, he/she will be appointed as a Tustin Police Officer. The appointment begins an eighteen-month probationary employment status.

IV. Police Reserve Officer: (Reserve I/II)

A Police Reserve Officer I is the most advanced classification, and Level II is the intermediate classification.  Police Reserve Officer Levels I and II are considered part-time positions, and employment is "at will."  Level I Officers may perform general law enforcement duties without immediate supervision; Level I Reserve Officers are non-designated and have peace officer authority only for the duration of their specific assignment (830(a) (1) PC). During their assignments Level I Reserve Police Officers have the same authority under California law as do full-time Police Officers. The City of Tustin allows Level I Reserve Police Officers to work solo in single officer patrol cars upon completion of all training requirements.

Level II Officers may perform general law enforcement duties under the immediate supervision of a full-time Police Officer and may perform some additional duties without supervision.

Reserve Police Officers with the City of Tustin are required to have successfully completed a basic POST academy prior to appointment and beginning of their training phase (for Level I Reserve Police Officers), or a POST
certified Level II Reserve Police Officer academy.

Training and standards for Reserve Police Officers are equivalent to those of full-time Police Officers. Reserve Police Officers are required to work a minimum of 16 hours per month. However, during the training phase of employment, Reserve Police Officers are encouraged to commit additional hours each month to ensure the successful completion of all phases of the field training program.

Dependent upon classification level, Reserve Officers patrol, either in a vehicle or on foot, assigned areas during assigned shifts and look for indicators of possible criminal activity or threats to life and property.  Reserve Officers answer calls for police service, and enforces city, county, and state laws. Reserve Police Officers may conduct traffic control and transport prisoners and evidence as assigned.  In addition, they may conduct both preliminary and follow-up investigations of disturbances, prowlers, burglaries, thefts, robberies, suspected homicides, vehicle accidents and other criminal incidents.


The Selection Process for Police Officer

Application Submittal

Complete and submit a City of Tustin employment application

Application Review

Your application will be reviewed to ensure that you meet the minimum requirements for the position.

Written Examination (Required of entry-level recruits only)

A California POST examination will be offered to qualifying candidates. This test is designed to measure skills associated with reading, writing, vocabulary, spelling, and reading comprehension. Prior knowledge of law enforcement is NOT required to pass the examination. Please allow up to three hours to complete the examination. For testing preparation visit POST - Entry-Level Test Battery FAQs. 
If you are a Police Officer, an academy graduate from a POST accredited academy, or currently enrolled in a POST
accredited academy, you will not have to take the written examination. Lateral candidates from other states must obtain a waiver or other certification approval from POST in order to waive the written exam requirement.

Physical Agility Test

The physical agility test is the same for all lateral, entry-level, and academy trained applicants. The criteria for the physical agility test are as follows:

Body Drag

This test simulates dragging someone who is physically incapacitated. The test requires that applicants lift and drag a life-like dummy that is lying face up on the floor. The dummy weighs 165 pounds and must be dragged 32 feet. After lifting the dummy, the applicant will tell the proctor they are ready and the time stops when the dummy’s feet cross the finish line.

Obstacle Course

This test stimulates a short-distance foot pursuit, such as a pursuit that may occur in the parking lot of an office complex. The test requires applicants to make frequent changes in directions, jumping over curb like obstacles and a 34 inch high obstacle that must be vaulted while running as fast as possible.

Chain Link Fence & Solid Fence

This will test the applicant’s ability to climb over a six foot fence. Applicants are to run five yards up to the fence, scale the fence, and continue to run for another 25 yards to the finish line. Applicants may use any method they wish to get over the fences, however, they may not use the side supports in any manner.

500 Yard Run

This test simulates a long distance foot pursuit and requires that applicants run 500 yards (one lap plus 60 yards). Each event is timed. Those times are then calculated with a numbered score. All five scores will be added up and the applicant must have a minimum score of 384 points, please see the Recruit Norms Graph.

Oral Interview

Applicants who pass the written examination and the physical agility test may be invited to participate in an oral interview. This interview will last approximately 30 minutes, and will be used to evaluate the applicant's communication, interpersonal, and decision-making skills.

Eligibility List

Applicants who are successful in the oral interview will be placed on an eligibility list for up to one year. Applicants may be selected from the eligibility list and invited to participate in the background process.

Background Process

Tustin Police Officers are entrusted with the responsibility of preserving public safety for residents and visitors of Tustin. Applicants will be asked to complete a pre-polygraph questionnaire, and an extensive background investigation packet, including a Personal History Statement form which can be accessed from POST  - Background/Hiring. The applicant will be fingerprinted, and if it appears that the background standards have been met, the candidate will undergo an extensive background investigation.

The community of Tustin has a right to expect, and demand honesty, integrity, dependability, and truthfulness from the men and women who are to serve as police employees. The background investigation will include checks of employment, police, financial, educational, and military records.  Investigators will interview family members, those with whom the applicant lives currently or in the past, co-workers, employers, supervisors, friends, and neighbors. The investigation takes approximately two months to complete.

Polygraph Exam

As part of the background investigation, applicants will also participate in a polygraph examination (lie detector). The examiner will determine the truthfulness of the responses to questions involving the application information, personal associates, previous employment, substance use, economic status, driving record, gambling habits, and criminal behavior. Before the test, the procedure will be completely explained and the applicant will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Medical Examination

A physician hired by the City will perform a thorough medical examination. The purpose of this examination is to make sure the applicant meets the POST standards.  For additional information on the physical requirements for police officer visit POST -  Police Officer Selection Requirements Regulations

Psychological Examination

The applicant will complete a written psychological test which consists of a personality test and a life questionnaire. The results are evaluated by a psychologist hired by the City. The psychologist will interview each applicant and evaluate the written tests.

Following Successful Completion of the Selection Process

Once a candidate is hired, he/she is sent to a police academy (Police Recruits) and/or directly into a Field Training Program (Lateral Entry or Academy Graduate). For recruit applicants, a police academy usually takes six months to complete.