Philly PD Job Overview:

Learn Pay Scale & Starting Salary for PPD Cops, Job Openings, Requirements, Disqualification Factors, Hiring Process

Table of Contents

Top 3 Reasons to Pursue a Law Enforcement
Career at Philadelphia PD

10.5% Pay Hike

Philly PD Officers got a cumulative salary hike of 10.5% between July 2017 and July 2019, and $1,300.00 payment to each member to settlle electronic court notice case

Career Advancement

One of the benefits of working for a large agency like PPD is the many career advancement opportunities available like SWAT, Detectives, marine, FTO, K-9 handler, mounted patrol & more

sky-high overtime

The Philadelphia Police Department is the top driver for overtime in Philadelphia according to the local radio show KYW-NEWS. The city spent around $20M in overtime cost each year.

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Police Recruits

Minimum Qualifications

Note: PPD will require that you pass a comprehensive background check before becoming a police officer for their agency (no exception).

Join Special Units at Philly PD

  • *salary does not reflect overtime, career promotion, longevity, shift premium, education or other incentives, overtime,  etc.

Police Recruit

$ 1

Police Officer

$ 1

Max Salary

$ 1
PPD Max Pay

Rank & Career Promotion Chart

Police Officer
Staff Inspector
Deputy Commissioner
Chief Inspector

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Steps to become a Cop for PPD

About the Philadelphia Police Department

The PPD, or Philadelphia Police Department, is the fourth-biggest police force in the United States. It hosts 6,500 sworn employees and 800 civilians employees. The 1.5 million citizens in Philadelphia’s 140 square miles are under the protection of the PPD.

The PPD is divided into 21 districts and 6 divisions, with these divisions being housed by two ROC or Regional Operational Commands. Captains are in command of each district, while each division is commanded by Inspectors. ROCs are similarly commanded by Chief Inspectors.

Regarding Residency of Officers and Recruits

Should the new recruit for Police Officer Recruit be a non-resident of Philadelphia, the new recruit must establish their residency in the City of Philadelphia within a maximum of six months of being promoted to the rank of Police Officer. Appointed recruits are required to establish their residence in Philadelphia within 12 months of their appointment.

Required Minimum Education:

  • High School Diploma or Equivalent thereof

Age requirement:

  • Applicants must be a minimum of 22 years of age by the date of employment.
  • Physical Fitness Requirements and Testing

The fitness test must confirm that the police recruit applicant is within the 30th percentile of physical fitness performance. The percentile will be judged from their gender and age. In the test are a set of bench-press sit-ups, a 1.5-mile run, and a 300-meter run. Weights will be dependent on the bodyweight of the applicant, while the duration of the sit-ups test will be 1 minute.

You may watch a short video for more information about the Physical Fitness Pre-Exam. You may also read up on the updated physical fitness minimum requirements as standardized by the Municipal Police. The PPD also has helpful guidelines for how applicants may ready themselves for the fitness requirements.

These standards and test parameters may yet be changed. However, police recruits that were accepted in the Academy must be within the 50th percentile, based on gender and age.

Test for Reading Ability

Police Recruits or applicants thereof must be of at least the reading ability of the grade nine level, as standardized by the Nelson-Denny Reading Test. This criterion is required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Requirements of Certification

  • Required Written Examination
  • A driver’s license (still valid) must be obtained prior to appointment
  • Minimum of 22 years old by the date of employment
  • The applicant must undergo a psychological evaluation
  • The applicant must undergo and pass a drug screening and medical examination
  • The applicant must undergo and pass a thorough background investigation assisted by polygraph
  • The applicant must be ready for rotating shifts at any hours of the day, including night and holiday shifts, working in hazardous situations, and carrying firearms.
  • The applicant is required to be a citizen of the US by the date of appointment.
  • A non-resident must establish residency within at most one year of appointment

Employee benefits and salary

Philadelphia City and the PPD offer a very inclusive and competitive package of benefits and salary even for entry-level officers. The progress in the career of a Police Officer also progresses the benefits, salary, and opportunities of the officer. The following is a quick summary:

An Officer Recruit from the Academy can earn a yearly salary of up to $54,856. Post-graduation from the academy will render an increase in salary up to around $58,662. Further increases in salary, which are scheduled, may even add up to a total salary of $76,187 per year.

The overtime of an officer is paid as well. The promotion of the officer will render a rise in their salaries as well. Holiday time and uniform allowance are not included in the salary. Policies officers receive payment biweekly.

Career Plan and Progress

Police Officers may apply to be Corporal of Detective given that they have offered their service of at least one year. Applicants must undergo a written examination, which will be a 2 to 3-hour multiple-choice exam. The seniority of the officer is considered in the scoring and evaluation.

Applying Police Officers will be required to submit an application request as soon as the testing dates are announced. Once submitted, study primers and further information will be given to the applicants. If an applicant is promoted, they shall gain a 10% raise in salary.

Corporal Responsibilities

Corporals of the PPD are in charge of leading the Operation Room of the Police District. They may also be placed in leadership of the Special Unit. Aside from this, Corporals must supervise and are held responsible for police equipment, incoming or outgoing messages, reports, as well as various administrative responsibilities.

Detective Responsibilities

Detective Responsibilities include crime investigation of instances such as burglaries, robberies, homicides, and assaults, and others. Detectives are also in charge of preparing police information needed throughout a crime investigation. These forms include search warrants, official electronic correspondences, investigation reports, and arrest reports.

Promotion from Officer up to Sergeant

Police Officers must serve a minimum of two years before they may apply to be promoted to Sergeant. Those applying for the rank of Sergeant must undergo a written examination, which will be a multiple-choice test and will have a duration of 2 to 3 hours. Seniority will also be considered within the scoring. Applying Police Officers will be required to submit an application request as soon as the testing dates are announced. Once submitted, study primers and further information will be given to the applicants. If an applicant is promoted, they shall receive a 14% raise in salary.

Sergeant Duties and Responsibilities

  • A Philadelphia Police Department Sergeant is in charge of the street operations, detective division operations, and the like within their police district.
  • A Sergeant may also be called to take charge of the operations room.

Advancement to Higher Ranks

Higher ranks such as Inspector, Captain, Lieutenant, or other ranks, may be sought by officers in the later years of their career within the Police Force. Ranks succeeding captain will merit different raises in salary and benefits.

***Important Announcement***
CHECK ACCURACY THROUGH PPD’s official webpage here as this information may have changed.

The process that a Police Officer Candidate must complete before they can become a Philadelphia Police Officers consists of nine steps. Candidates must successfully complete a written examination, an oral interview, a drug screening test, a polygraph (lie detector) examination, a psychological evaluation, a medical examination, a background investigation, a thirty-two week training program, and a one year on-the-job probationary period before becoming a police officer in the City of Philadelphia.

The written examination consists of two parts, a writing skills assessment and a 100-140 question multiple choice examination.

The writing skills assessment requires that candidates listen to a short audio tape. Candidates are encouraged to take notes while listening to the tape. The tape is only played once. After listening, candidates are required to compose a written summary of the contents of the tape that accurately answers the basic questions, who-what-where-when-why and how in an understandable and readable manner within fifteen minutes. No specialized knowledge of police work or law enforcement is required for this exam component. We are testing your ability to actively listen, to take pertinent notes, to comprehend, and to accurately recount what you have heard in written form. These skills are essential to police officers.

The multiple choice examination tests the candidate’s reading, vocabulary and comprehension ability. The examination consists of 90 to 95 multiple choice questions and lasts approximately three hours. Before the exam is administered, candidates are given a pre-examination study booklet that contains data that must be memorized to successfully complete the examination. Candidates have forty-five minutes to study and memorize the booklet in order to answer the exam questions derived from it. Approximately one-third of the examination is based on information included in the booklet. The ability to quickly assimilate information and accurately recall it is essential in police work and is one of the skills being assessed in this exam component.

Approximately one month following the administration of the written examination, candidates will be scheduled for their oral interview.

The interview usually takes place at the Municipal Services Building (MSB) in center city Philadelphia. During the interview, which lasts approximately forty-five minutes, a panel of three or four Philadelphia Police representatives will present candidates with four incident scenarios.

Applicants view a video tape with other applicants to acquaint themselves with how the interview process is structured. Following this review, one candidate at a time enteres the interview room for the oral interview. Applicants are greeted by the examiners who present the applicant with four different scenarios. Applicants are required to formulate a plan of action to effectively respond to each incident and to orally present that plan to the panel. At least two of the scenarios must be satisfactorily responded to before the candidate can proceed to the next phase in the selection process.

This phase of the process seeks to assess the candidate’s ability to quickly evaluate a situation, to identify possible courses of action, to select one, and to justify it’s implementation.

In addition to the scenario assessment, the panel may elect to inquire about the candidates motivation to become a Philadelphia Police Officer, their previous employment history, their goals and objectives, their life and professional experiences, and their general demeanor and aptitudes. This part of the interview is not unlike any job interview you may have experienced before. It’s purpose is to assess the prospect’s ability to think and articulate in a stressful situation, their deportment, level of professionalism and confidence, and their general experience and suitability for police work.

Sometime after the completion of the oral interview, candidates will receive their final score and their ranking on the eligibility list.

Prior to beginning the background investigation, candidates must complete an exhaustive background questionnaire called the “PDQ”. Every aspect of the candidates previous history is to be recorded on this document. Police background investigators provide this form to candidates at their first orientation session and explain how to properly complete it. Because it is so comprehensive, candidates are given the questionnaire and instructed to take it home, conduct the necessary research to complete it, and then to return it to the Internal Investigations Unit located at 22nd & Hunting Park Avenue. It is critical that this form be completed truthfully and in its entirety. Any falsehoods are grounds for immediate rejection.

The polygraph is used by the Philadelphia Police Department as an investigative tool to determine the accuracy of the submitted Personnel Data Questionnaire, to uncover undisclosed misdeeds, and to reveal false statements. It has proven very effective in these tasks. The polygraph examination takes approximately thirty minutes and is performed by a Philadelphia Police Officer. You must pass the polygraph examination to proceed to the next step in the selection process.

During this phase of the process, members of the Internal Investigations Unit initiate contact with individuals in your employment history, family, friends, associates and neighbors. In addition to contacting these principles, they may also speak to persons they identify as having known you.

Investigators will contact former employers and review your work history, they will speak to coworkers, teachers, and anyone else who can offer insights into your character and fitness for police work. Our efforts are designed to gain an understanding of the kind of person you are and to exclude candidates who have demonstrated character traits that are inconsistent with the highest values of the profession.

We seek candidates with the highest moral and ethical standards for our ranks. The background investigation must indicate that you have the necessary morality, honesty, trustworthiness and integrity to join our ranks. You must pass this phase to proceed to the next step in the selection process.

The medical evaluation consists primarily of a complete physical examination. You will have a medical history, EKG, eye examination (corrected vision must be 20/20), your breathing tested, you will be subject to color blindness tests, and other examinations consistent with a thorough physical examination. You will also have to submit to a drug screening test during this examination.

You will have your height and weight recorded and evaluated. Your weight must be proportionate to your height. Applicants who are overweight will be informed of the target weight they must attain before being eligible for appointment. Applicants who fail to meet the weight requirement will be examined again at a later date.

The physical examination is given to all candidates as part of their pre-employment screening requirement. Applicants must pass this phase before proceeding to the next step in the selection process.

The psychological evaluation is designed to do the obvious: Identify candidates that have aberrant psychological traits and reject them. The evaluation consists of a short, informal interview with a psychologist that lasts an average of thirty minutes. The examination is best characterized as a discussion. Depending on the psychologist, candidates may be asked to perform some rudimentary tests to aid the examiner in his analysis. You must pass this phase to proceed to the next step in the selection process.

If you’ve satisfactorily completed the process this far, you will be placed on an eligibility list. When vacancies exist and training classes are scheduled, candidates are sequentially drawn from this list and invited to attend the scheduled training class.

If notified that you have been selected to attend the Police College Campus, you will undergo forty (40) weeks of intensive training designed to produce the best police officers in the country.

Candidates who successfully complete their training are promoted to Police Officer I and assigned to a patrol district. The next few months of their service is a probationary evaluation period where their conduct and performance is under close scrutiny. At the conclusion of one year service from the time they started training, they are appointed as permanent employees as Philadelphia Police Officers.

Philly PD Police Academy Curriculum*

  1. w Enforcement Orientation
    1. Foundations of the Legal System
    2. The Role of Police in the Criminal Justice System
    3. Functions of the Criminal Justice System
    4. Legal Systems
    5. Anti-Social Behavior
    6. Professional Relations
    7. Ethic and Values
  2. Professional Development
    1. Physical Conditioning
    2. Emotional Health
    3. Human Relations Skills
    4. Application of Force
    5. Firearm Safety and Weapon Care
    6. Criminal and Civil Liability
  3. Law
    1. Authority and Jurisdiction
    2. Criminal Law
    3. Criminal Procedure
    4. Evidence
    5. Juvenile Justice
    6. Mental Health Act
    7. Civil Law
    8. Use of Force
    9. Controlled Substance Act
    10. Liquor Law
    11. Domestic Violence – Spouse and Child Abuse
    12. Victims’ Assistance Act
  4. Motor Vehicle Code
    1. Introduction to Highway Safety
    2. Vehicle Code Terminology
    3. Vehicle Terminology
    4. Title, Registration and Vehicle Terminology
    5. Drivers Licensing
    6. Vehicle Regulation
    7. Rules Governing Movement of Vehicle and Actions of People
    8. Serious Offenses
  5. Patrol Procedures and Operation
    1. History and Importance of Police Patrol
    2. Pre-patrol and Routine Patrol Procedures
    3. Patrol Activities and Incidents
    4. Monitoring Vehicular and Pedestrian Traffic
    5. Driving Under the Influence – Enforcement
  6. Investigations
    1. Investigation Overview
    2. Preliminary Investigation
    3. Securing the Crime Scene
    4. Investigative Interviewing
    5. Processing Evidence
    6. In-Depth Investigation
    7. Area Searches
    8. Accident Investigation
    9. Surveillance
  1. Communications
    1. Communication Overview
    2. One to One Communication
    3. Delivering Correspondence and Emergency Notifications
    4. Written Communications
    5. Public Speaking
    6. Testifying in Court
  2. Handling Violent and Dangerous People
    1.  Behavior Management and Crisis Intervention
    2. Dispute Intervention
    3. Handling the Mentally Ill
    4. Suicide, Barricaded Persons and Hostage Situations
    5. Role Playing
  3. Custody
    1. Review of Legal Authority and Constitutional Principles
    2. Mechanics of Arrest and Search
    3. Transportation of those in Custody
    4. Booking and Lock-Up
    5. Juvenile Custody
    6. Custody of the Mentally Ill or Disturbed Persons
    7. Special Problems
  4. First Aid and CPR
    1. American Heart Association CPR
    2. American Red Cross First Aid
  5. Firearms
    1. Introduction to Firearms
    2. Shooting Fundamentals
    3. Range Behavior
    4. Range Work for Basic Patrol
    5. Classroom for Practical Pistol
    6. Range Work for Practical Pistol
    7. Qualification
    8. Introduction to the Police Shotgun
    9. Range Exercises for the Shotgun
    10. Night Fire Familiarization
    11. Judgment and Tactical Skills
  6. Operation of Patrol Vehicles
    1. Traffic Safety and Defensive Driving
    2. Vehicle Operation and Control
    3. Techniques of Vehicle Control
  7. City Hours
    1. City Hours are classes, over and above what the state requires for certification.  Theses classes allow for additional time to be spent on Material covered during the state required time.  Additionally, these classes also cover material that is unique to the Philadelphia Police Department.

*Training academy curriculum may have changed so check with a PPD recruiter

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