Police Officer Recruit & Lateral FAQ


Preparation and Minimum Qualifications for a Police Officer Recruit & Lateral

Police Officer Recruit and Lateral Testing

Pay & Benefits

The City of Tempe & Tempe PD

How do I become a police officer and what are the minimum qualifications? The first step is completing the online application during an application window. You should click here to view Arizona POST and Tempe PD minimum qualifications. You should also visit the Arizona POST website and read all of section R13-4-105 - Minimum Qualifications for Appointment. Back to Top

What can I do to prepare myself for the test and a career as a police officer? You must maintain high moral character and physical fitness. Applicants can work to improve their education in a variety of ways to include higher education, mastering a foreign language or attending technical schools. There are no preferred degree programs or job history. Diverse education, military and work backgrounds are welcome. Back to Top

How does the recruit testing process work? Click here for information about the testing process. Back to Top

How long does the recruit testing process take? Applicants invited to test will complete a physical agility test and written exam in the same day. The most qualified applicants who successfully complete those phases will be invited to continue in the process, which could take as little as a couple months or several months to complete. Back to Top 

When is the next police recruit testing process? Tempe PD conducts several testing processes each year. Refer to the Police Officer Recruit & Lateral Testing link for more information. Back to Top 

If I have tested before so do I need to complete the entire process again? Applicants who are no longer on the eligibility list and are eligible to reapply must complete all phases of the testing process, even if you have participated in the past. Back to Top

Can I do a ride-along during the testing process? Tempe PD does not have a ride-along program for applicants. Applicants who progress in the testing process will be scheduled for a ride-along by a background detective. Back to Top

How many police officers will be hired during the next testing process? The number of applicants hired is determined by a variety of factors including the number of police officer vacancies. This number varies from year to year based on attrition within our organization but we usually hire approximately 25 officers each year. Back to Top

What if I don’t have my AzPOST background questionnaire notarized or all the required paperwork when I arrive at the test? Applicants arriving for the test are required to have a completed and notarized AzPOST background questionnaire and certain documents including copies of a high school diploma, transcripts or GED equivalent; a birth certificate, naturalization documentation or a United States passport; and a valid state or federal government-issued driver license or identification card. These are required and those who do not have these items will not be able to test. Back to Top

Can out-of-state applicants participate in the recruit testing process? Out-of-state applicants participate in the same test as in-state applicants and are required to be in Tempe on their scheduled test date. The department will make efforts to limit travel for out-of-state applicants who progress further in the process. Back to Top

I am in the testing process, why have I not heard from the police department? Once an applicant has successfully completed the physical agility test and written exam he or she is placed on an eligibility list for one year from the date of submitting the initial online human resources application. If an applicant moves forward in the process, he or she will be notified. An applicant's eligibility expires one year from the date of submitting the initial online human resources application. Back to Top

What police academy does Tempe PD use?  Tempe police officer recruits attend the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy (ALEA) in Phoenix.  Recruits fulfill several rigorous training requirements - to include attending ALEA - before working on their own in the community. Click here to watch some of the training completed at ALEA. Back to Top

What is the pay and benefits for a Tempe Police Officer? Police officer starting pay is $56,742 yearly. The city offers employees a comprehensive benefits package. The benefits provided to Tempe police officers include:

  • Base officer pay of $56,742 - $76,694
  • 11 - 21.5 yearly paid vacation days (10 hour day)
  • 9.5 yearly paid sick days (10 hour day)
  • 11 yearly paid holidays
  • Shift differential pay
  • Bilingual pay of 3%
  • Special assignment pay of 3% - 7%
  • Longevity pay after five years of employment
  • Yearly uniform reimbursement
  • Ballistic vest reimbursement
  • Health, dental, life & vision insurance plans
  • Supplemental life insurance
  • Industrial insurance
  • Long-term disability insurance
  • Flexible spending accounts (health & dependent care)
  • Employee training & development opportunities
  • $5000 yearly tuition reimbursement
  • Public Safety Personnel Retirement System 
  • Deferred compensation plans (401k & 457)
  • Employee wellness programs
  • Employee assistance program
  • Auto & home insurance discounts
  • Deductible reimbursement yearly after three years of employment

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What is the pay and seniority for lateral police officers? Lateral police officers are compensated at a pay rate and receive certain benefits that take into account previous years of sworn police service. A decision related to pay and benefits is made prior to the applicant signing a conditional offer of employment with the department. Lateral officers do not receive seniority for time worked at another police agency. Back to Top