Police Officer Categories

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

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

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.

POST Academy

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 & Standards

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:

  • Burglaries
  • Disturbances
  • Prowlers
  • Robberies
  • Suspected Homicides
  • Thefts
  • Vehicle Accidents
  • Other Criminal Incidents