Employment with the Olympia Police Department

Collage of officers in neighborhoods and Crisis response unit downtown

Careers with the Olympia Police Department

OPD is an innovative, full service law enforcement agency whose mission is to proactively address crime and reduce victimization, while safe guarding the constitutional rights of all people. On a daily basis, that purpose engages our employees in complex, challenging tasks that are constantly changing.

For that reason, we seek both commissioned and civilian employees who have a solid educational background and a strong work ethic, plus exceptional maturity, flexibility, self-control, common sense, sensitivity and talent at interpersonal communication and problem solving.


The City of Olympia hires entry-level police officers in accordance with City of Olympia Civil Service Rules. The actual selection process involves a number of steps that help ensure that those who are selected to become Olympia Police officers have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to promote the mission of the Department.

Candidates who pass the rigorous selection process and are appointed as Recruit Police Officers serve an intensive 18 month training and probationary period. The first phase of that process is completing the Washington Basic Law Enforcement Academy. The final phase of training is on-the-job training with Olympia's team of experienced Police Training Officers. Appointees who successfully complete the probationary period are licensed by the State as peace officers and become full-fledged Olympia Police Officers.

The City maintains a 28-bed City Jail for the housing of misdemeanor offenders. The hiring process for entry-level corrections officers is very similar to that for police officers. Recruit Corrections Officers attend the Washington Corrections Academy prior to assuming a regular assignment in the City Jail. Corrections officers, like police officers, go through a field training and probationary period. The probationary period for Corrections Officers is six months.

The Department offers professional opportunities in clerical services, police records, warrant and civil order processing, technology support, crime scene investigation and property management, crime analysis, volunteer management and management analysis. Olympia participates in the TCOMM regional 9-1-1 dispatch center (Thurston County Communications) and does not have communications positions in-house. Clerical, records and warrant/civil order positions require successful completion of qualifying tests. Other civilian positions require special professional preparation and/or formal education prerequisites. Civilian employees also serve a six month training and probationary period.

Salaries and benefits

The Olympia Police Department offers salaries that are competitive with other western Washington police agencies and an outstanding benefit package.

How to apply

The City of Olympia uses Public Safety Testing (PST) as the initial step for hiring entry-level police officers. Persons interested in applying for police officer positions should visit the PST website to begin the process.

Applicant and process information

To become a police officer with the City of Olympia you must:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Lawful Permanent Resident with authorization to work in the U.S.
  • Be at least 21 years of age at the time of hire
  • Have a valid Washington State Drivers' License at the time of hire
  • Pass a polygraph examination, physical agility test and criminal and personal background investigation prior to hire
  • Pass both psychological and medical examinations as a condition of employment
  • Qualify to possess a firearm in accordance with Federal and State regulations (also a condition of continuing employment)
  • Not have a history of domestic violence

The Olympia Police Department seeks to recruit and maintain a diverse and well-rounded group of professional employees. To that end, female and minority applicants are welcomed, as are applicants with foreign language proficiency (the City offers incentive pay for language skills). In terms of pre-professional preparation, having a college degree in hand (in any relevant discipline) is strongly encouraged, but it is not currently required for employment consideration. Keep in mind, though, that college degrees are required to qualify for most promotional opportunities in the Department (see OPD General Order 33.6). Computer literacy and keyboarding skills are also essential pre-professional preparation for a police career with the Olympia Police Department.

Veteran's preference is granted to any candidate, who, at the time he or she seeks the benefits of RCW 41.04.005, 41.04.010, 41.16.220, 41.20.050, 41.40.170, 73.04.110, or 73.08.080 has received an honorable discharge or received a discharge for physical reasons with an honorable record from any branch of the armed forces of the United States for serving during any period of war (or who has received the armed forces expeditionary medal, or marine corps and navy expeditionary medal, for opposed action on foreign soil).

To receive Veterans Preference point's candidates must present a valid DD-214 Form. The DD-214 Form should be attached to your application. Candidates advancing to the interview phase of the selection process should be sure to inform the City's Human Resources Department of eligibility for Veterans Preference points.

The Olympia Civil Service Commission maintains an employment eligibility list from which candidates are drawn when vacancies occur.

Appointments are made from among the candidates on the employment eligibility list. The Department may consider a number of candidates equal to the number of position openings plus four (one position opening = five candidates for consideration; 2 vacancies = six candidates for consideration, etc.).

Candidates who are appointed as Recruit Police Officers are required to attend and successfully graduate from the Washington Basic Law Enforcement Academy before engaging in any peace officer duties for the City of Olympia. The Academy is located in Burien, Washington and consists of 770 hours of intensive training (19.25 weeks). During this period, candidates are paid at Step A of the Recruit Police Officer salary range. On satisfactory completion of Academy training, Recruit Police Officers advance to Step B of the Recruit Police Officer salary range. Recruit Police Officers advance to Step A of the Police Officer salary range in 18 months after satisfactory completion of a probationary period.

All new officers, on completion of the Academy, participate in the OPD Police Training Officer (PTO) program. This program is an in-service mentoring and training program that is designed to complete the pre-professional preparation of new police officers. Successful completion of the PTO program is required to move from probationary to regular status.

The Olympia Police Department does not actively recruit experienced police officers. However, exceptionally qualified experienced officers meeting the following criteria are welcome to apply for lateral entry:

  • The applicant's prior law enforcement experience must be full-time, paid experience as a fully commissioned, general service peace officer
  • The applicant must be certified as a police officer in Washington State or have completed a basic law enforcement training program in another state that is recognized by the Washington Criminal Justice Training Commission as equivalent to the training provided by the Washington Basic Law Enforcement Academy
  • The applicant must have completed probation and have a minimum of one full year of full-time, paid experience with his/her previous agency
  • The applicant's work history must demonstrate exemplary behavior and performance

Lateral applicants with prior experience in - and a strong commitment to - applying the principles of community/problem-oriented policing are strongly preferred.

The selection process for experienced police officers is the same as for entry-level officers. Lateral applicants from out of State who are appointed to Police Officer positions are required to successfully complete the Washington Basic Law Enforcement Equivalency Academy within one year of appointment as a condition of continued employment.

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