The Recruitment Process

If you are considering a career with the Arlington County Police Department, we encourage you to contact one of our recruiters to learn more about our agency and the hiring process. Ride-alongs are available to potential applicants at any point, before or during the hiring process.

Please note, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ride-alongs are currently suspended. Once safe to do so, ride-alongs will resume for interested candidates. 

Contact the Personnel and Recruitment Unit

Our comprehensive recruitment process is designed to identify candidates who best exemplify the core values of our Department. The hiring process consists of three main phases: the application and testing process, the interview process, and the background investigation process. The hiring process generally spans 2-5 months and applicants are hired on a rolling basis throughout the year.

The Application and Testing Phase

Upon deciding to pursue a career at ACPD, start the process by submitting your application online. Applicants who meet the Department’s hiring criteria will be eligible to schedule their Police Entrance Exam (Written Test) and Physical Agility Test (PAT).

The Police Entrance Exam and the Physical Agility Test (PAT) are generally taken on the same day. Please note, you must pass the written exam and the PAT in order to move forward in the hiring process. Following successful completion of the PAT and Police Entrance Exam, applicants are assigned a background investigator. If you do not pass either exam, you can re-test for the PAT in three months from the date of your first attempt, and the written exam in six months from the date of your first attempt. 

Written Test

The written exam consists of three basic components:

  • Cognitive Abilities
  • Personal Work-style (approaches to work)
  • Life Experiences (background information or biodata)

Learn more about the Police Entrance Exam 

Physical Agility Test (PAT)

Applicants are tested on:

  • Physical Strength
  • Endurance
  • Agility and Coordination
  • Accuracy of Observation

Learn more about the Physical Agility Test (PAT)

The Interview Phase

Applicants will be interviewed by a cross-section of ACPD officers based upon the individual’s personal history statement and background investigation. Applicants should be prepared to discuss the following topic areas: personal and work history; your interest in law enforcement and ACPD; personal strengths and weaknesses; personality/character traits; and various law enforcement scenarios.  Applicants must answer all questions completely, accurately and truthfully.

The Background Investigation Phase

The Background Investigation phase includes, but is not limited to:

  • Polygraph Examination
  • Psychological Evaluation
    • Consists of formal interview and testing with a psychologist
  • Medical Evaluation (Pass/Fail)
    • Consists of comprehensive physical evaluation, including a drug screening

Offer of Employment

Upon completion of the hiring process, you may receive your offer of probationary employment or be placed on an eligibility list for a period of six months. Winter and summer Academy sessions begin in January or July respectively, however, applicants may start working for the Department at any point prior their Academy start date. Recruits are paid their full salary plus benefits beginning on their date of hire.

More: Training Throughout Your Career at ACPD