The Selection Process

Application Submittal
Complete a City of La Palma online 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 P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards and Training) examination will be offered to qualifying candidates. This test is designed to measure skills associated with reading, writing, vocabulary, spelling, and reading comprehension. An Applicant Preparation Guide for P.O.S.T. Entry-Level Test Battery is available for review at their website.

If you are a Police Officer, an academy graduate from a P.O.S.T. accredited academy, or currently enrolled in a P.O.S.T. accredited academy, you will not have to take the written examination. Lateral candidates from other states must obtain a wavier or other certification approval from P.O.S.T.

Oral Interview
If you pass on the written examination, you will be invited to participate in an oral interview. This interview will last approximately 30 minutes, and will be used to evaluate your communication, interpersonal, and decision-making skills. The oral board panel will also expect you to have researched the city of La Palma and the La Palma Police Department.

Eligibility List
If you are successful in the oral interview, you will be placed on an eligibility list for up to one year. Applicants will be selected from the eligibility list and invited to start the background process.

Background Investigation

La Palma Police Officers are entrusted with the responsibility of preserving public safety for residents and visitors of La Palma. The La Palma Police Department has a long history of professionalism, integrity, and customer care. Therefore, your background will be looked at very closely.

You will be asked to complete a pre-polygraph questionnaire, and an extensive background investigation packet, including a Personal History Statement. You will also be fingerprinted. If it appears you meet the cities’ background standards, we will start an extensive investigation into your background.

The background investigation will include checks of your employment, police, financial, educational, and military records. We will interview your family members, those with whom you live currently or in the past, your co-workers, employers, supervisors, friends, and neighbors.

The areas listed below are several examples of areas that will be reviewed during your background process:

  • Moral character and reputation
  • Past behavior and the choices you have made that support your moral character and reputation
  • A history of lawful behavior and conduct
  • Past behavior must demonstrate a history free of violence, physical altercations, or other abusive treatment and behavior towards others
  • Past decision-making relating to drugs and alcohol usage
  • Employment and/or military background must show a history of responsible behavior and work ethic
  • Financial and driving records will be examined to determine level of responsibility, decision making, and appropriate behavior. (Applicants must have a valid California Driver’s License at the time of the appointment)

As part of your background investigation, you will also participate in a polygraph examination. This background investigation can take one to three months to complete.

Physical Fitness Testing

For a complete list of job functions which include physical qualifications, please refer to the specific job for which you are applying. The physical fitness test for police officers and recruits consists of the physical tests listed below.

  • 1 ½ mile run
  • Sit ups (60 seconds)
  • Push ups (60 seconds)
  • Flexibility stretch
  • Scaling a six-foot wall

Keep in mind we do score the results based on age and gender. A score of 70% is considered a successful result.

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 P.O.S.T. standards. You can visit the P.O.S.T. website for further information on the physical requirements for a police officer.

Psychological Evaluation
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, s/he 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 at least 22 weeks to complete The La Palma Police Department’s Field Training Program is 19 or more weeks of training working directly with an experienced Field Training Officer.

Personal History Criteria
As part of the selection process, applicants who are invited to start the background portion will be asked to complete a Personal History Statement.
Personal History Criteria