To ensure the best candidates are selected for the SAPD, all applicants are taken through a detailed hiring process that includes:
- Submit an application
- Physical Ability Test
- Written examination
- Background investigation
- Assessment board interview
- Polygraph examination
- Psychological evaluation
- Medical / physical examination
- Appointment to cadet class by the Chief of Police
Complete an Application
Those interested in applying to the SAPD can download an application by clicking here. All applications must be printed out and returned to the SAPD for processing. Ensure you have read all instructions prior to completing the application.
Physical Ability Test
Current and prospective applicants should be aware that a new Physical Ability Test (PAT) has been implemented. Those currently in the process or applying will be notified by Applicant Processing personnel or at the time of application.
SAPD’s new Physical Ability Test (PAT) takes the form of a job simulation exercise based on the obstacle course at the SAPD Training Academy. The PAT is comprised of two parts. Part I is an obstacle course run which is timed (timed component). It will begin with applicants sitting inside a patrol car and encompasses the following activities:
- Vehicle Exit
- Vehicle Load
- Culvert Crawl
- Obstacle Jump and Duck
- Culvert Duck
- Obstacle Weave
- Wall Climb
- Stair Climb
- Dummy Drag
Applicants must complete Part I (timed component) in 4 minutes and 3 seconds (4:03).
Part II of the Physical Ability Test (PAT) is untimed (untimed component) and includes:
- Hand Gun Simulation
Candidates will dry fire using a training gun while keeping their arm steady inside a ring with a 7-inch diameter.
Both parts assess a candidate’s ability to sustain pursuit of a suspect while encountering common obstacles and tasks. For a detailed explanation of the PAT, click here and download this Candidate Preparation Guide. A video description of the course is available on youtube by clicking here.
The Physical Ability Test (PAT) continues to be a significant obstacle for many applicants. We encourage applicants to train in advance of the actual test and make sure that they can exceed the minimum requirements. Applicants should also understand that the physical requirements of the police academy will be much more demanding. The SAPD Academy trains police cadets on a variety of exercises, including push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, running, kettle bell exercises, air squats, lunges, wrestling and boxing. Police cadets are also expected to run an obstacle course numerous times during the academy. Preparing yourself physically for academy training will make your academy experience much more enjoyable. SAPD recruiters offer a free physical fitness readiness program three times a week to help applicants prepare for the police academy. For details on the physical fitness readiness program, click here.
A complete background investigation is conducted into the applicant’s general personal reputation, education, military history (if applicable), driving record, arrest record, drug usage, employment history, special qualifications and skills.
Applicants must be compliant with the suitability factors defined by the City of San Antonio Civil Service Commission. A complete listing of these factors can be downloaded by clicking here. These suitability factors cover the following topics:
- Personal history and character
- Employment history
- Military history
- Driving record
- Financial responsibility
- Criminal activity
- Drug use
Structured Oral Interview
A panel composed of three experienced San Antonio police officers assesses the applicant through a structured oral interview. Applicants are evaluated with regard to decision making, judgement and reasoning, problem analysis, problem solving, interpersonal skills, public relations skill, community service orientation, oral communication, planning and organizing, composure, conflict resolution, team orientation, decisiveness and thoroughness.
Polygraph examinations are conducted by a licensed polygraph examiner selected by the SAPD. The sole purpose of this examination is to verify the applicant’s truthfulness.
A licensed psychologist or psychiatrist selected by the SAPD must certify applicants. The evaluation will determine if the applicant’s psychological and emotional health is appropriate for the duties and functions of a police officer.
Medical / Physical Examination
Applicants must be certified by a licensed physician selected by the City of San Antonio. Applicants must be declared physically sound and free from defect, which may adversely affect the performance of the duties of a police officer.
Chief of Police Review and Appointment
Upon successful completion of the application process, the Chief of Police reviews each candidate’s file. Once approved, candidates are then appointed to an academy class with the title of police cadet.