How to apply?

Entry level applicants begin Step 1 of the hiring process by applying to take the written and PAT exam with Public Safety Testing

Lateral entry applicants please apply directly to our Human Resources Department. Lateral applicants take an in-house written exam and do not have to take a PAT exam. Out of state applicants may take the exam remotely online.

Oral Board

Entry-Level As vacancies arise, entry-level applicants will be contacted to partake in an oral board interview. An oral board panel consists of several officers, a supervisor and a members of the Tukwila community. Applicants who pass the oral board phase of testing are placed on the Civil Service Eligibility list which allows them to proceed to the next stages of testing (based on staffing needs). The Civil Service Eligibility list is good for 12-months from the date of placement on the list.

Lateral Entry Upon completion of the in-house written exam, lateral applicants are invited to participate in the Chief’s Interview phase of the hiring process. The interview panel consists of the Chief and Deputy Chief (or Commander) and a member of the Tukwila community.

Background Investigation

All applicants undergo a thorough background investigation including a polygraph. No exemptions to the background or polygraph requirement are made for current or prior law enforcement officers or military members.

Psychological Exam

Applicants undergo a written psychological examination along with an interview with a psychologist.

Medical Examination

A medical examination is performed on all applicants to assess physical suitability for duty.

Chief's Interview

Applicants will complete a final interview with the Chief of Police. The Chief of Police ultimately has makes the final decision related to hiring status and extending final offers to those who successfully complete the hiring process.

  • Submit application directly to HR.
  • Prescreen Phone Interview
  • In-house written exam (Administered virtually for out of state applicants)
  • Chief’s Interview (Via Zoom or Microsoft Teams for out of state applicants)
  • Background Interview
  • Background Investigation
  • Polygraph
  • Psychological Exam
  • Medical Exam
Basic Requirements

Age : 21

US Citizen : Yes, or lawful permanent resident status

High School Grad/GED : Yes

Valid WASHINGTON State Driver’s License : Yes

Ability to Read/Speak English : Yes


Vision : Applicant must have normal color vision. Applicant must have vision correctable to 20/20 in the better eye and 20/30 in the lesser eye. Applicants wearing eyeglasses or hard contacts must have uncorrected vision no worse than 20/200 in each eye. Applicants wearing soft contacts must be able to:

  • Provide verifiable documentation that soft contacts have been worn regularly for at least one (1) year prior to application
  • Meets minimum vision acuity standards with soft contact lenses, and
  • There are no indications of corneal damage, or conditions of the eye which might require discontinuation of soft contact use
Drug Use

Drug Use:

  • As an adult, convicted of any felony drug crime;
  • Have used marijuana or mushrooms within the last 12 months;
  • Used hallucinogens (including GHB and ecstasy; excludes mushrooms), cocaine, methamphetamine, or opiates within the last 10 years;
  • Usage of any other illegal drug, including steroids and prescription abuse, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis;
  • Have illegally used 4 or more different controlled substances, including marijuana, in the last 10 years;
  • Have at any time manufactured, transported or cultivated illegal drugs (including marijuana) for the purpose of sale or distribution;
  • Have used any illegal drugs while employed in a criminal justice capacity;
  • Have ever obtained or used a prescription drug under false pretenses;
  • Have ever, at any time, injected amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, barbiturates, or valium;
  • Have ever illegally used a drug after submitting an application to any Law Enforcement Agency;
  • Have ever sold or distributed illegal drugs, including marijuana;
  • Any more than two drug convictions for any of the narcotics listed above.
Driving Record

Traffic Record:

  • Any criminal traffic conviction within the past 5 years. Violation examples include, but are not limited to: driving under the influence (DUI), reckless driving, negligent driving, or hit and run driving;
  • Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license (for any traffic violation) within five years of the date of the employment application;
  • Any more than two criminal convictions for traffic related offenses.
Military Record

Must have been discharged from the Military under honorable conditions. Any discharge other than honorable will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Veteran’s Preference Points : City of Tukwila follows the guidance given by the State of Washington regarding applying veteran’s points.

Automatic Disqualifiers

Automatic Disqualification barring employment in the City of Tukwila PD :

  • Any adult felony conviction on current criminal record at time of application;
  • Any juvenile felony conviction within the past five years;
  • Conviction of any crime of violence, including domestic violence;
  • Commission of any sexual offense within the past 10 years;
  • Any conviction for a sex related crime;
  • Ever having to register as a sex offender, regardless of conviction status;
  • Any conviction for solicitation of prostitution;
  • Any conviction of a felony crime at any time while employed in any capacity with Law Enforcement Agency (including volunteer, intern, Explorer, and reserve positions);
  • Any theft of property or money within the last five years;
  • Any misdemeanor convictions for crimes not specifically stated above will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Have at any time manufactured, transported or cultivated illegal drugs (including marijuana) for the purpose of sale or distribution;
  • Have used any illegal drugs while employed in a criminal justice capacity;
  • Have ever obtained or used a prescription drug under false pretenses;
  • Have ever, at any time, injected amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, barbiturates, or valium;
  • Have ever illegally used a drug after submitting an application to any Law Enforcement Agency;
  • Have ever sold or distributed illegal drugs, including marijuana (If not legally registered to sell marijuana);
Potential Disqualifiers

Any applicant who maintains an on-going relationship with individuals who are criminals and/or who are reputed to be involved in recent or current criminal activity;

  • An applicant’s criminal record, including all arrests, prosecutions, deferred prosecutions, “Alford” pleases, and non-conviction information will be thoroughly assessed and may be grounds for disqualification;
  • Commission of any crime (non-conviction).



After the written exam and physical agility test (PAT) comes the oral board. For most, the oral board is where you will make your first impression with members of the department. This is quite possibly the most critical stage in the hiring process as it will determine whether or not you are a suitable candidate to remain in the hiring process. It is at this stage of the hiring process where we see most applicants eliminated from the process. Proper preparation can make all the difference in whether or not you pass or fail this portion of the hiring process.



  1. RESEARCH – The oral board panel consists of two veteran officers and a sergeant who know the city and department inside and out. Like with any job interview, it is imperative that you are knowledgeable about the employer and the job you are applying for. With the advent of the internet and smartphones, there is the world of information right at your fingertips. Study to set yourself up for success. How many sworn officers are there? Who is the current Chief of Police? Who is the Mayor? How many square miles is the jurisdiction? What is community policing? What is the departments mission statement? What are some problems facing not just the city, but the region that officers may encounter on a daily basis? What is the population of the city? Not knowing basic information about the department, the city and or the community reflects a lack of preparation on your part.


  1. BE EARLY – The age-old saying is “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” Showing up late to your scheduled interview time reflects poorly on you and immediately leads to questions as to whether or not you would show up late to work and if this is a normal behavior for you. Check traffic patterns/travel times at your assigned oral board time for several days in advance to gauge how long it should take you to travel to the test site. Give yourself enough time to arrive 15-20 minutes early. Traffic in and of itself can be stressful. Showing up early and giving yourself 15-20 minutes to relax and mentally prepare for your interview without distraction can make the difference between being flustered and stressed or calm, collected and ready to go. Get plenty of sleep the night before your scheduled interview to ensure that you are rested and ready to go on time.


  1. APPEARANCE – Be sure that you are presenting a professional image to the oral board panel members. Again, this is your first opportunity to give the department the best first impression of yourself that you can. As police officers, we are constantly in the public eye and in most cities, the police department is oftentimes the most visible department of the local government to the public eye. It is recommended that men should arrive wearing a conservative suit, shirt and tie that is appropriate. Women are also recommended to wear suitable business attire. Clothing and footwear should be clean and presentable. Avoid wearing pins or other adornments on your suit. Minimize any jewelry worn and avoid wearing strong cologne or perfume.


  1. PROPER INTRODUCTIONS – When you enter the oral board, shake the panel members hands and introduce yourself to the panel members. Know the proper titles and insignia when addressing oral board members directly. “Officer”, “Sergeant”, “Commander” etc. Sergeants will have a three-bar chevron on their sleeves just underneath the department patch or have a metal three-bar chevron pin affixed to their collar lapels. Commanders will have a single gold-star pin affixed to their collar lapel.


  1. MAKE EYE CONTACT – When each member of the panel asks you a question, be sure to make eye contact with them and the other panel members while you are addressing them. In law enforcement, eye contact conveys confidence and respect. Eye contact and confident body language show that you are capable of interacting with others in a confident and professional manner.


  1. SOUND CONFIDENT – Properly preparing for the interview by studying the department, city and job description helps to alleviate some of the nervousness and stress which can help to minimize the appearance of nervousness. Everyone will be nervous and that is completely natural. Practice at home to prepare for the interview. Practice introducing yourself in the mirror or to a friend. Record a video of yourself answer practice questions and watch it afterward to catch things you might not have noticed while speaking. When speaking, speak clearly and with purpose. If you get sidetracked or forget what you were saying, pause for a moment to collect your thoughts and start again. Speak in a professional manner at all times. Speaking to panel members in a laid-back casual manner as if you are in a casual setting with friends is not appropriate.


  1. AVOID DISTRACTIONS – Avoid saying “um”, “ok”, “like” etc. repeatedly. Nervousness often increases the use of verbal cues like these. Again, being nervous is perfectly natural. It’s how you manage that nervousness that can make the difference in showing that you are confident and prepared. Avoid tapping your feet, twiddling your fingers, playing with rings or other distractions as these convey a lack of confidence and nervousness.


  1. LISTEN – Listen to the questions that are being asked and answer all parts of the question thoroughly. If you do not understand the question or need clarification, ask the panel members to do so. Do this sparingly as repeated requests to do so put off the image that you are not paying attention and or are too nervous to focus.


  1. BE HONEST – This is quite possibly the most important part of the oral board. Prior to you entering the interview room, the panel members will have already reviewed your application, your personal history questionnaire (PHQ) and any other information that was submitted during the application process. If the answers you give to questions asked by the panel conflict with the information you provided in your application or PHQ, you may be disqualified from the process. A lot of the questions asked during the application process are repeated throughout the hiring process and are verified during the background investigation by background detectives. Integrity and honestly are of the utmost importance in law enforcement. Providing intentionally misleading information or omitting information during the application process, the oral board or during other portions of the hiring process can result in your removal from the hiring process and potentially impact your chances of being hired in law enforcement. Embellishing your employment history, military service record or other facts about yourself can also lead to questions of integrity. Be honest, consistent and straight forward in your answers to all interview questions.


  1. FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS – Follow instructions during all phases of the hiring process. Do not bring resumes, cover letters, business cards or other printed material to the interview unless directed to do so prior to the interview.







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