The Police Hiring Process
Do you have a particular
police department in mind?
Let’s say you’re considering a police
career with the Baltimore Police
Department.  You Google, Baltimore
Police Department application process,
and the first return is:
Hiring Process

Civil Service Test
Preliminary Interview
Background Investigation
Polygraph Examination
Psychological Examination
Physical Examination


Minimum Qualifications

Must be a U.S. citizen
Posess a valid driver’s full license
Must be 20 years of age and 9 months
upon beginning the academy
Must have a high school diploma or GED
Must be able to pass an extensive
background check
Some police department websites offer
more information than others.  Large
police departments are generally in a
cycle of continual recruitment; whereas,
small police departments experience a
significantly lower rate of turnover.  The
small police department may only direct
you to submit a generalized application
that covers all local government
employment.  If and when a police
position opens, your application will be on

Let’s break down the main components
of the hiring process:

Civil Service Test – In my opinion, the
civil service test is not that difficult.  If
you have an average IQ, and you
received a reasonably good high school
education, this part of the hiring process
should be a mere formality.

However, I'm sure you've heard the
phrase "famous last words."

There is never any substitute for

Preliminary Interview – This is really
important.  You must be totally honest
with the interviewers.  You must not lie
or obfuscate when answering any
questions put to you.  Remember, you’ll
still have a background investigation to
get through.

Background Investigation - Here’s a
list of background check subjects listed
on the Baltimore County Police
Department’s website:
Polygraph Examination – Some people
really freak out on this one.  As long as
you haven’t withheld important
information during your interview, you
shouldn’t have any problems with the
polygraph examination.  You might like to
read about my experience with the
polygraph.  Believe me; it’s all about the
polygraph examiner.

Psychological Examination – No police
department wants to hire an individual
with serious psychological problems.  
Again, as long as you’re a reasonably well
adjusted person, you won’t have a

Physical Examination – You’ll undergo a
physical examination by a physician
designated by the police department.  
You should know going in if you have a
medical history which might disqualify you
from police employment.
This is a very clean and concise page with
all the important information to include:
Police Hiring
Employment history
Criminal record and arrest history
Driving record
Credit history
Military history
Personal references
Residential history
Polygraph examination
Psychological examination
17 self-help articles to aid you
in the police hiring process
Educational history
Employment history
Compliance with laws and regulations
Recent illegal substance use
Interpersonal and familial interactions
Financial difficulties
Self-perceived strengths and
Reasons for wanting to work in a
public safety position
Professional goals
Psychologically relevant medical

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"Some police department websites
offer more information than others.  
Large police departments are
generally in a cycle of continual
recruitment; whereas, small police
departments experience a
significantly lower rate of turnover."
~ Barry M. Baker
Becoming a Police Officer
An Insider's Guide to a Career
in Law Enforcement
Copyright © 2021  Barry M. Baker  
Search the WEB
Baltimore County, MD
Police Department
Let's use, as an example, the
Baltimore County Police
Department's pages listed below
to provide comprehensive
descriptions of application and
testing procedures.
"Some confusion about polygraph test
accuracy arises because they are used for
different purposes, and for each context
somewhat different theory and research
is applicable. Thus, for example,
no research assesses the type of test
and procedure used to screen
individuals for jobs and security
The Truth About Lie Detectors (aka
Polygraph Tests)
Most psychologists agree that there is little
evidence that polygraph tests can accurately
detect lies.
The Dreaded Lie Detector
Get a detailed knowledge
of things to come.
- Applicant’s Biographical Data
- Physical Description of Applicant
- Relationship Status of Applicant
- Information of Former Spouse / Partner (if
- Children and Dependents of Applicant
- Family of Applicant
- Current and Former Addresses
- Education
- Colleges / Universities Attended
- Foreign Language Skills
- Applicant’s Financial Status
- Applicant’s Motor Vehicle/License
- Traffic Record
- Applicant’s Military Service
- Applicant’s Employment History
- Applicant’s Criminal History
- Applicant’s Drug Experimentation History
- Gambling Related Activities
- Social Communications
- Alcohol Related Activities
- Character References
- Personal Friend References
- Neighbor References
- Current Roommates – Landlords
- Police – Public Safety – Private Security
- Police – Public Safety Employment
- Special Skills/Training/Certifications
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Police Department
Police Applicant Questionnaire
You'll be required to provide personal
information so that police investigators can
complete a comprehensive and accurate
background investigation to assess your
suitability for employment.