About Recruit & Lateral Testing


The testing process evaluates all areas of an applicant's life to find the best police officer recruit and lateral candidates. The major phases of the testing process are outlined below.

Application Process: The process begins by completing an online human resources application. Those who successfully complete the application become part of a candidate pool for up to one year. Applicants in the candidate pool have the opportunity to attend one of several tests over the course of the year. Recruit and lateral applicants complete the same application. More test instructions are provided to those in the candidate pool prior to each test. Back to Top  

Physical Agility Test: Applicants who are invited to test first complete a physical agility test. The test has three components:

  • 1½ mile run in no more than 14:00 minutes
  • 21 or more pushups without stopping with no time limit
  • 29 or more sit-ups in no more than 1:00 minute

An applicant must successfully pass all three components to move forward in the process. Applicants should bring water and wear athletic clothing and shoes during the test. Back to Top

Click here to watch a video demonstrating required pushup and sit-up technique. Back to Top 

Written Examination: The written exam is taken after the successful completion of the physical agility test by applicants who are not Arizona POST certified on the date of the test.  Arizona POST certified officers do not complete the written exam.

The exam includes reading comprehension, grammar, spelling, problem solving, memory and other questions. The exam takes approximately two hours to complete and is scored upon completion. Applicants who attain a score of 70% or higher are placed on an eligibility list. Arizona POST certified lateral applicants who are not required to complete the written exam are also placed on the eligibility list. Back to Top

Panel Interview: The most eligible applicants will be contacted and scheduled for additional test phases, including a panel interview. It may take several weeks or months for a candidate to be invited to continue in the process.

Applicants may find the panel interview to be different from other interviews. Applicants will have time to prepare answers to a number of questions.  Once the interview begins, panel members will not ask follow-up or clarifying questions and it will be the responsibility of the applicant to answer questions completely. Panel members do not know anything about the applicant so only the information provided by the applicant can be can be evaluated by the interview board. The applicant will also be evaluated through a scenario during the panel interview. Back to Top

Background Interview: During the background interview, a detective will speak with the applicant extensively and the department will conduct a thorough review of an applicant’s life and history. Back to Top 

Polygraph Examination: Applicants may be scheduled for a polygraph examination after the background interview.  Only the most qualified candidates will be invited to a polygraph examination. Back to Top

Command Staff Interview: Applicants may be invited to interview with members of the department's command staff as they progress through the hiring process.

Psychological Evaluation: Upon completion of previous phases, applicants are evaluated and the best are selected to move forward. Should an applicant move forward, he or she will be provided a conditional offer of employment and scheduled for a psychological evaluation. The purpose of this is to ensure there are no psychological issues that would prevent an applicant from having a successful career as a police officer. Back to Top

Medical Examination: Applicants who successfully complete the psychological evaluation will be scheduled for a medical examination. Once an applicant has successfully completed the medical examination, he or she will be required to retake and successfully complete the physical agility test.  Applicants who complete these phases will be scheduled to attend the police academy. Back to Top

*Out-of-State Applicants: Out-of-state applicants need to be in Tempe on the scheduled dates for the physical agility test and written exam.  The department will attempt to accommodate out-of-state applicants by minimizing travel during test phases.  Back to Top