Salem Police Department Hiring Process


The Salem Police Department’s hiring process for sworn officers is a competitive selection process. You must complete all ten steps to apply.

Link to multimedia presentation

View a short multimedia presentation that highlights the overall hiring process of the Salem Police Department.

Step 1: Application

Salem Police contracts with the National Testing Network (NTN) for the written and physical portion of the selection process. All applicants must complete an application with the City of Salem and then register and complete an application with NTN.

Step 2: Written test

Applicants will view a series of job-related videos and answer multiple choice questions based on each video. You must score at least 70 percent on the video portion of the test to get an interview.

You must also take a 12th-grade-level reading and writing test, which is scored for grammar, content, accuracy, and composition. Take a practice test.

Step 3: Physical fitness test

You must successfully complete a physical fitness test in order to become a police officer with the Salem Police Department. All applicants must pass the  Oregon Physical Ablities Test (ORPAT) before the closing date of the process.

Applicants must complete the ORPATin 6 minutes or less to pass the initial testing process. However, applicants must complete the ORPAT in 5 minutes 30 seconds or less in order to pass the Police Academy and maintain employment.

Watch a video demonstration of the Oregon Physical Abilities Test.


Step 4: In-person interview

Applicants will be asked job-specific questions in front of a panel of evaluators during a structured interview.

You must achieve a minimum overall cumulative score of 75 percent on your written test and in-person interview. Your overall score is a combination of your written test score and your in-person interview score. The written test counts for 40 percent and the interview counts for 60 percent of your cumulative score.

Step 5: Integrity interview and pre-offer, non-medical psychological testing

A trained investigator will ask questions relating to virtually every aspect of your life and use the information to assist in conducting a background investigation. Applicants will also be given a non-medical PHQ and CPI suitability assessment evaluation by a police psychologist.

Step 6: Conditional offer of employment

A conditional offer of employment is extended pending successful passing of a background investigation, physical examination, and psychological examination.

Step 7: Background investigation

The background investigation will thoroughly examine all aspects of your personal and professional life. All academic, professional, legal, military, and personal records are obtained, verified, and examined. This includes:

  • Credit history including tax records
  • Criminal history
  • Driving history
  • Military service   
  • Personal history and reference
  • Residence history
  • Social media footprint
  • Work history and references

Step 8: Physical examination

Medical exams will be performed by Kaiser Permanente Occupational Health. Candidates may self-schedule their exam at any Kaiser location in Oregon.

  • Drug screen
  • Eye exam
  • Hearing exam
  • Physical exam

Refer to OAR 259 for medical disqualifiers.

Step 9: Psychological examination

A psychological examination will be performed by a police psychologist.

Step 10: Final job offer

Only after steps 1 through 9 have been successfully completed may a final job offer be extended.

​Frequently asked questions

The short answer is: It depends.

Generally, the hiring process takes about four months. However, the process could be expedited or delayed depending on where you are on the hiring list. The lower on the list you are, the longer it will take to work down the list and get to you.

​Yes. As long as the scores are from a test completed no longer than one year ago, you can use National Testing Network (NTN) test scores received from testing with another police agency.

It is your responsibility to arrange with NTN to have the scores sent to the Salem Police Department and to verify that they are received. Your test scores won’t automatically appear in the Salem Police system.

​If you live within four hours of a testing center in Oregon, then you need to come to Oregon to take the ORPAT. (For example, you live in Vancouver, Washington.)

If you live further away (out of state), then you can submit an equivalent PAT score that meets your home state’s requirement. (For example, you live in Arizona and take the Arizona PAT.)

​If you are a lateral police officer applicant or a current military member stationed out of state, you will need to travel to Oregon at least once. All other aspects of testing can be done remotely, including a video conference interview.

If you are not a lateral candidate nor a military member, you will need to travel to the Salem Police Department for all aspects of the testing, which would be at least twice: once for the oral interview and a second time for the psychological and medical exams.

​The Salem Police Department highly values military service in any form, and military police experience is a great asset to have. However, the State of Oregon does not accept prior military police experience as certified law enforcement experience.

​Maybe. The State of Oregon runs Oregon’s one and only police academy, at which all police recruits must be trained. It is called DPSST, and it governs all the rules and regulations regarding certification. DPSST will not pre-certify anyone or any state.

After you are hired, all of your training and experience will be considered, and a decision as to whether or not you have to attend the basic police academy will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Some states do not have the same level of training as Oregon, and some states have better training. Some examples of states with equivalent or better training academy curriculums are Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington. If you are certified in one of these states, it is a possibility DPSST will recognize your prior training and experience toward certification in Oregon.

Some lateral applicants from states such as Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, and Tennessee have had to be recertified through Oregon by attending the full 16-week basic police academy.

​The DPSST Basic Police Academy is 16 weeks long (640 hours). Your pay is based on your tenure of service, and you receive your regular pay rate regardless of whether or not you are in training.

In addition to the 16-week basic academy, the Salem Police Department also has an 8-week, in-house academy called the Recruit Officer Training Course (ROTC). This course can be broken up into pre-academy and post-academy segments.

​The Salem Police Department provides every essential piece of equipment you will need to be a police officer. Recruits must purchase their own undergarments and socks, but uniforms, boots, hats, duty gear, weapons, etc. are all provided. Extra items such as a patrol bag, sunglasses, or knives are the responsibility of the recruit.

All sworn police officers must meet the minimum standards for employment set forth in Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 259-008-0010.

  • If you fail the written test or physical agility test you must wait 6 months.

  • If you fail the interview you must wait 9 months.

  • If you fail the psychological exam you must wait 2 years.

  • If you fail the background you must wait 3 years.

  • If you fail to show up for the interview and do not make the proper notifications you must wait 1 year.

Link to multimedia presentation

View a short multimedia presentation that highlights the overall hiring process of the Salem Police Department.

Contact us

Sgt Jeff WiedemannPolice Department
333 Division ST NE
Salem OR 97301
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