Skip to page body Home About Us Community Crime Divisions Online Reporting Recruiting Reserves

Exam Process FAQ

Expand/Contract Questions and Answers

What are the qualifications for becoming a police officer?
We have a recruiting section on our website -, along with an interest form. Included on the site you will also find information regarding interview tips and qualifications.
Is there an out of state exam process available?
We do not currently have an out of state exam process.
How do I know if I should apply for Recruit Police Officer or Police Officer?
To be scheduled for the written examination, applicants must possess the education and/or experience requirements as listed on the job announcement. Lateral candidates out of California or candidates who have not completed a California POST-certified Police Academy should apply for the Recruit Police Officer position.
For additional questions on the examination process, whom should I contact?
City of Santa Clara
Human Resources Department
1500 Warburton Ave.
Santa Clara, CA 95050
(408) 615-2080
What happens if I do not pass one part of the testing process?
Candidates who do not receive a passing score on any of the test components must wait six months from their test date to apply again pursuant to the City of Santa Clara Civil Service Rules and Regulations.
How long does your selection process take?
The selection process may take from 3-6 months. However, the time frame may vary depending on test dates and availability of background investigators.
What does the background process consist of?

The background process includes:

  • background investigation;
  • pre-offer polygraph and psychological exams;
  • departmental oral interview with the Chief of Police;
  • post-offer polygraph and psychological exams; and
  • pre-employment medical exam.
I’m on the eligible list, why haven’t I been contacted?
Typically, the Police Department contacts candidates who obtain a final score of 85% or higher on the Recruit Police Officer eligible list and 90% or higher on the Police Officer eligible list to participate in the background process.
How long will I remain on the eligible list?
Candidates who pass the written exam and the oral board will be placed on the eligible list. Since the Police Officer and Recruit Police Officer positions are on a continuous basis, your name may be merged with other eligible candidates who have tested before you or will test after you.

Candidates remain on the eligible list for six months from the eligible list date, unless they fail to pass the physical ability exam or one of the components of the background process.
When is the Physical Ability exam and what does it consist of?
The Police Department conducts the physical ability exam during the background process. Candidates may practice at their own risk with the permanent fence structures located at Townsend Field, located at Monroe St. and Rip Miller Way, adjacent to Buchser Middle School, 1111 Bellomy Street, Santa Clara, CA.

The physical ability exam includes:
1) Six-foot chain link fence climb,
2) Six foot solid fence climb,
3) Dummy drag,
4) Ninety-nine yard obstacle course, and
5) 500-yard run (on the track).
What happens if I am unable to attend on the test date?
If you are unable to attend on your scheduled written test date, please contact the Human Resources Department at (408) 615-2080 prior to your test date to request to be scheduled for the next examination date.

If you are unable to attend on your scheduled oral board date, please contact the Human Resources Department immediately to determine if there is another available date and time for your oral interview or to be scheduled for the next testing cycle.

The Santa Clara Police Department does not have an “out of state” examination process.
What is an Oral Board?
The Oral Board is a panel interview conducted by two to three sworn officers from the Santa Clara Police Department. The Oral Board is designed to measure job-related skills and abilities such as decision-making and oral communication skills through a series of oral questions and a hypothetical situation.
How often does the Police Department hold tests?
The Police Department works with the Human Resources Department to schedule testing for Police Officer and Recruit Police Officer approximately every three to four months. The examination is posted on a continuous basis, which means that applications are accepted throughout the year. However, applicants who have applied by the cut-off date will be scheduled for the next written test, if they meet the minimum qualifications.