Selection Process for Police Officers

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 Peace Officer Standards and Training (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 (PDF).

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 Forms. The applicant will be fingerprinted, and if it appears that the background standards have been met, the candidate will undergo an extensive background investigation.

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
  • Educational
  • Financial
  • Military Records
  • Police


Investigators will interview:

  • Co-Workers
  • Employers
  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Supervisors
  • Those with whom the applicant lives currently or in the past


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

  • Application Information
  • Criminal Behavior
  • Driving Record
  • Economic Status
  • Gambling Habits
  • Personal Associates
  • Previous Employment
  • Substance Use

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.