San Diego Police Job Overview:

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

Top 3 Reasons to Pursue a Law Enforcement
Career at San Diego PD

30% Pay Hike

San Diego PD Officers got a cumulative salary hike of at least 25.6% between July 2019 and January 2020, and veteran cops with more than 20 years of experience got a 30.6% raise.

Career Advancement

One of the benefits of working for a large agency like SDPD is the many career advancement opportunities available like SWAT, Detectives, Flight, FTO, Canine handler, mounted patrol & more

Perks & Incentives

San Diego PD is one of the few agencies that give you a bump in pay for being bilingual, offers tuition reimbursement if you want to pursue higher learning, Shift differential pay & much more.

What The Police Academy is Like at SDPD

Minimum Qualifications

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

  • Must be a US citizen or a permanent resident
  • Must be at least 20 yrs old to take the test
  • Must have a valid California Class C Driver's License
  • Must Have high school diploma or GED
  • Must possess English language proficiency
  • Must Successfully pass the background check
  • Must pass all stages of the hiring process
  • Must Pass the Typing Test
  • Illegal Drug Usage in the recent past
  • Lying during the selection process
  • dishonorable discharge from the military
  • Falsifying documents about your arrest history
  • Poor Driving Record
  • Failure to pass the drug screen
  • Domestic battery convictions
  • Any Felony Convictions & serious Misdemeanors

Types of police Units at SDPD

  • Mounted Patrol
  • Motorcycle Patrol
  • Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain
  • SWAT
  • Drug/Narcotic Unit
  • Flight Unit
  • Detectives
  • Canine/K9 Unit

How Much Money Do Cops Make At San Diego PD?

  • *salary does not reflect overtime, career promotion, longevity, shift premium, educational or bi-lingual incentives, bonuses, overtime,  etc.

Police Recruit

$ 1
$ 1 0

Police Officer I

$ 1
$ 1 0

Police Officer II

$ 1
$ 1 0

Police Officer III

$ 1
$ 1 0

Promotion Pay Scale

$3,742.40 BI-Weekly*
$4,131.20 BI-Weekly*
$5,240.00 BI-Weekly*
6,224.00 BI-Weekly*
  • *salary does not reflect overtime, longevity, shift premium, educational or bi-lingual incentives, bonuses, overtime,  etc.

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Steps to become a Cop for SDPD

Want to become a police officer for the San Diego Police Department? Do you even know what the hiring process looks like. If you don’t know what’s required of you before applying to SDPD, read this article through and through.

Truth is, the employment process to become a police officer for San Diego PD is a long and tedious one.  Sometimes taking as long as a year before you are hired.  Although the hiring process  can drag on, San Diego PD is a great agency to work for.

Not only will  SDPD provide top-notch training to fellow recruits before they hit the streets, they also offer great benefits,  a very competitive  salary range, and a superb retirement package.



Steps of The Hiring/Recruiting Process


There are several steps to the hiring process listed below. Click on the links to learn more about the various steps.

 Step 1:Written Exam
 Step 2:Physical Abilities Test and Pre-Investigative Questionnaire
View dates and time of Practice Physical Abilities Test
 Step 3:Background Process and “Personal History Statement” (Word  PDF). The Personal History Statement will not be completed until after the successful completion of the Physical Abilities Test.
 Step 4:Polygraph Examination
 Step 5:Hiring Interview
 Step 6:Psychological Evaluation
 Step 7:Medical Evaluation

Police Recruit Background Investigation/Interview

Background Investigation


The Police Department will conduct a thorough investigation of your background. You will be requested to authorize organizations and individuals who know you, to release and verify relevant information about you. The Background Investigator will contact prior employers, relatives, and references. 

Information provided during these contacts may result in other individuals being contacted. The investigator will check into your employment history, credit status, driving record, and other pertinent information. A criminal history check will also be made. 

Next, you will be scheduled for an in-depth background interview with the Police Department Investigator. During this appointment, you will be fingerprinted.

Polygraph Examination


As part of the background process, the Background Detective will schedule you for a polygraph examination. You will be tested in 15 different background areas called “Job Dimensions.” 

In addition, you will be asked to determine if you were honest with the background detective, truthful on your application, undetected criminal involvement, traffic history, illicit drug use, illegal gambling habits, and any other pertinent information discovered or revealed during the background investigation, including employment and military history.

Appointing Authority Interview


Viable candidates will be scheduled for an appointing authority interview with the San Diego Police Department. 

Your qualifications, communication skills, and many other job related factors would be evaluated relating to your suitability and fitness to begin a police career with the San Diego Police Department.

Personal History Statement


A “Personal History Statement” is required as part of the background investigation. The form may be downloaded or a hardcopy will be provided the day of the Physical Abilities Test. 

The Personal History Statement will not be completed until after the successful completion of the Physical Abilities Test.

Requirements & Qualifications

You must meet the following requirements on the date you apply, unless otherwise indicated.
GENERAL:  United States citizen or permanent resident alien who is eligible and has applied for United States citizenship PRIOR to application for employment.
AGE:  21 years at time of hire.
EXPERIENCE:  Two years of full-time paid experience as a sworn peace officer with a city police, county sheriff, state or federal law enforcement agency performing correction duties, patrol functions, or traffic enforcement.  

Experience must include service with a law enforcement agency within the last one year.  Time served in a training capacity as a recruit/trainee as part of a Police Academy does NOT qualify for the experience requirement.
EDUCATION:  Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 30 semester or 45 quarter college units at time of application.  You must also meet ONE of the following options: 
1.   Graduation from a high school located within the United States or a United States territory.
2.   Passage of the California High School Proficiency Examination or G.E.D. (General Education Development) with scores that meet the California standard established by the American Council on Education.
3.   Possession of a two or four year degree from an accredited college or university. (Accreditation must be from an institutional accrediting body which has been recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation.)
· Applicants who lack the required college units may substitute additional qualifying experience for some or all of the education lacked, according to the following formula: 2.5 semester units or 3.75 quarter units = 1 month of experience.

· Candidates screened by the Police Department must present proof of education when they submit their Background Investigation Questionnaire.
POST CERTIFICATE:  You must meet ONE of the following options:
1.   Graduation from a California P.O.S.T. approved Police Academy with a Basic Peace Officers Course Certificate.
2.   Possession of a California Basic P.O.S.T. Certificate.
3.   Completion of the California P.O.S.T. Basic Course Waiver Evaluation
· Qualified out-of-state applicants who lack the required California P.O.S.T. Certificate may apply.  If hired, attendance at PAID Police Academy will be required to satisfy California state certification requirements.  This certification is necessary to work as a Police Officer for the City of San Diego.

TYPING CERTIFICATE:  An ORIGINAL typing certificate indicating the ability to type at a corrected speed of 30 words per minute on a typewriter or computer keyboard must be submitted during the Police Department’s Background Investigation Process.   

The certificate must be issued under International Typing Contest Rules and specify the net and gross speed, the number of errors and that the test was five minutes or longer.  

Certificates specifying more than five errors will not be accepted.  Individuals who are serving or have served in City of San Diego job classifications which meet or exceed the minimum typing requirements need not submit a typing certificate.  Internet typing tests will not be accepted.
LICENSE: A valid California Class C Driver License is required at time of hire.


San Diego PD Police Recruit Physical Abilities Test (PAT)


For this test, candidates will be required to run a 500 yard obstacle course which measures a wide range of physical abilities that are necessary in police work. 

This course, which simulates a suspect chase, will require you to dodge low hanging objects; climb ladders and stairs; run through a series of pylons; jump, step and/or climb over a 3 foot, 4 foot, and 6 foot fence; and partially lift and drag a 155 pound “simulated victim.” 

You will be provided a vest which weighs approximately 3 pounds and must be worn while performing this test. Shorts or loose fitting clothes that do not restrict arm and leg movements are suggested as appropriate clothing. Footwear should be some type of comfortable athletic shoe with a gripping rubber sole.

SDPD Average Salary, Pay Scale, Pay Chart, Pay Range

Class Title:Police Officer I
Class Code:1692

$31.77 Hourly
$2,541.60 Biweekly

Class Title:Police Officer II
Class Code:1693
Salary:$40.48 Hourly
$3,238.40 Biweekly
Class Title:Police Officer III
Class Code:1695
Salary:$46.78 Hourly
$$3,742.40 Biweekly

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