Police Officer Hiring Process

Candidates must first create an online profile and submit an electronic application. 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 24 month on-the-job probationary period before becoming a permanent police officer in the City of Lancaster.

Step 1. Employment Application

During Open Enrollment Period:  Police officer candidates can apply online here.

Outside Open Enrollment Period:  Candidates can submit their information to be placed on a contact list. A recruiter will contact you and provide you with additional information about the next steps.

Step 2. Physical Agility Test

Prospective Lancaster City police officers will be required to complete a physical agility test.

Applicants for the position of police officer must demonstrate a fitness level that would allow them to perform the essential job functions of a police officer. Applicants must perform each of the following exercises per the indicated standards. If an applicant fails one event, they fail the entire test and will not advance to the written test.

This test battery uses the National Law Enforcement Test Battery, which has proven validity and safety. This battery of events is known as the Cooper Test and is used in several hundred law enforcement agencies nationwide.  The requirements for each event are based on age and gender. Click on the link below for more details.

Learn more about Basic Police Officer Training →

Step 3. 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.

Note: It can take several months to be called for an interview. This is normal and not a reason for concern.

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

Step 4. Oral Interview

Police officer candidates are required to submit to an oral interview with members of the Lancaster City Bureau of Police and Lancaster City Human Resources.

Step 5. Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ) Application

Prior to beginning the background investigation, candidates who pass the physical agility, written test, and oral board interview 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.

Step 6. 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.

Civil Service Board Appeal Form and Additional Information:

Step 7. 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 will be appointed to the police department unless they take and pass the polygraph examination.

Step 8. 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.

Step 9. 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.

Step 10. 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.

Step 11. New Officer Training Program

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. 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.

Physical Testing