Police Officer Hiring Process

Our process requires the successful completion of all of the steps outlined below. The candidate will then take part in an extensive training program and finally, a two (2) year on-the-job probationary period before becoming a permanent police officer in the City of Lancaster.

Please note, it may take up to one (1) year to fully complete the hiring process to become a police officer.

Initial Inquiry

Contact a recruiter to learn more about working with Lancaster City Bureau of Police. Your recruiter will give you more information, discuss your background and qualifications, and answer any questions you may have about the application process.

Complete an Online Application

Interested candidates will need to complete an online application for employment to begin the applicant screening process. This includes creating an online profile and submitting an electronic application. Contact your recruiter if you do not have the link to apply.

Physical Agility Test

Applicants must demonstrate a fitness level that would allow them to perform the essential job functions of a police officer. This physical agility test encompasses various job-specific physical activities arranged in an obstacle course format and executed continuously from start to end.


  1. Jump a distance of 3’ (feet)
  2. Climb over a 5’ (feet) high wall
  3. Crawl under an obstacle 24” (inches) high and 10’ (feet) in length
  4. Climb up and down an 8” (inches) step for 12 repetitions
  5. Crawl through a window opening (36” wide x 30” high x 3’ above the ground)
  6. Verbally identify the correct suspect
  7. Move a 150 lb dummy 5 yards
  8. Trigger pull exercise

*You will also be required to run/sprint (up to 25 yards) to reach each challenge.

Written Test

Prospective Lancaster City Police Officers are required to complete the Next Generation Entry-Level Law Enforcement Aptitude Test, a premier entry-level law enforcement examination with a score of 70% or better. The NGLE combines a straightforward cognitive ability measure with multiple situational judgment measures. Candidates will be provided with a study guide at no cost and will take the test at home.

Often the Lancaster City Bureau of Police partners with a community organization to offer free tutoring. Please contact a recruiter for additional details.

Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ) Application

Prior to beginning the background investigation, candidates who pass the physical and written testing and who have not been previously disqualified must complete an in-depth background questionnaire called the “PHQ.” Every aspect of the candidate’s previous history is to be recorded on this document. The form is available online and access is provided to candidates who pass both the physical agility and written test and who have not been previously disqualified from our hiring process. It is critical that this form is completed truthfully and in its entirety. Any falsehoods are grounds for immediate rejection.

Background Investigation

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

During the investigation stage, background investigators may contact individuals listed in the PHQ such as employers, family, friends, associates, neighbors, and non-listed references. In addition, investigators may review your work history and speak to coworkers, teachers, previous dating partners, and anyone else who can offer insights into your suitability for police work.

The purpose of this investigation is to gain a full understanding of your personal history. The investigation may be discontinued at any time should it be determined that candidates have demonstrated character traits that are inconsistent with the bureau’s mission statement, law enforcement profession, and established civil service regulations. Candidates will be eliminated if it is determined that they have not met the standards to be an officer with the Lancaster City Bureau of Police.

Candidates who have been eliminated from the hiring process have the right to appeal the disqualification according to the Rules and Regulations of the Civil Service Board.

Polygraph Examination

The required polygraph examination is administered by certified polygraphists and interrogation experts. The test consists of questions designed to verify the truthfulness of the police applicant and the information in the PHQ. No candidate who fails a polygraph will be appointed to the police department

Psychological Evaluation

Candidates are administered the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2 or MMPI2-RF) by the licensed psychologist and are required to have a psychological evaluation with a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania.

Medical Evaluation

The medical evaluation consists of a complete physical examination. Candidates will provide a medical history and complete an eye examination (corrected vision must be 20/20), color blindness test, and other examinations consistent with a thorough physical examination. The physical examination is given to all candidates as part of their pre-employment background screening. Candidates must pass this phase before proceeding to the next step in the selection process.

Drug-Screening Test

Police officer candidates will be required to take a drug-screening test. Random drug-screening is also performed on all active police officers throughout their careers.

Eligibility List

Candidates who successfully complete the physical testing, written testing, and background clearances will be added to the eligibility list. Candidates are ranked by their overall score, including any preference points.


Candidates are hired from the eligibility list. Hiring is conducted in accordance with the Civil Service Board Rules & Regulations.

Police Academy

If you have satisfactorily completed the process this far, you will be placed on an eligibility list. When vacancies exist candidates are sequentially hired from this list and enrolled in the next scheduled police academy.

All candidates will be required to pass MPOETC’s physical fitness assessment to gain admission to the Police Academy once hired by the Lancaster City Bureau of Police. Candidates must be able to perform each of the following exercises in accordance with the indicated standards:

  • 1 Minute Sit-up
  • 300 Meter Run
  • 1 Minute Push-up
  • 1.5 Mile Run

The requirements for each event are based on age and gender. We strongly encourage every applicant to practice the test in its entirety*.

Learn more about MPOETC’s Physical Fitness Assessment Standards →

*Before beginning any new exercise program, please consult with your physician or a medically trained professional.

How long does Police Academy training last?

The police academy training is a 24-week, full-time (919-hour) program that provides recruits with the initial skills and information necessary to begin his/her police career. The academy is not residentially based; you attend class during the day and go home afterward.

Will I be paid while I am enrolled in the Police Academy?

Yes! You become a paid employee of the Lancaster City Bureau of Police once you complete processing and will be paid at the current rate for Police Officer One.

New Officer Training Program

Candidates who successfully complete the police academy are assigned to the Patrol Division. They are coupled with a Field Training Officer for on the job training for at least three months. At the conclusion of the required field training, officers are released to work independently on their own.

Probationary Period

All police officers have a two (2) year probationary period.