Lateral / Academy Graduate

A Lateral applicant is someone with police/peace officer experience within the State of California.

An Academy Graduate is someone who has successfully completed a California P.O.S.T. Basic Academy within the last twelve (12) months. All Academy Graduates will be required to attend the San Jose Police Academy.

The San Jose Police Department does not accept out-of-state lateral police officer transfers or federal law enforcement transfers who have completed the California P.O.S.T. Basic Course Waiver. All law enforcement officers wishing to transfer from out-of-state or from a federal law enforcement agency must apply as police recruit applicant and attend the San Jose Police Academy. Note: Physical agility and PELLETB/NTN testing is not required for Lateral / Academy Graduate applicants.


If you meet the following qualifications, move on to step #1.

  • Currently employed as a California Police/Peace Officer with a California Basic P.O.S.T. certificate and have completed a patrol field training program...
  • Possess a California P.O.S.T. Academy graduation certificate within the past twelve (12) months
  • Must be 21 years-old and not older than age 70
  • Must possess a valid California driver's license
  • Must possess a U.S. high school diploma or General Education Development (GED), waived if you have a college degree from an accredited college within the U.S.
  • Must have completed at least 60 semester college credits or 90 quarter college credits from an accredited college or university.  Credits in-progress from another police academy are not accepted.
  • Must be a citizen of the United States or permanent resident alien who has applied for citizenship
  •  Must have at least 20/40 corrected vision
  • Cannot have any felony, domestic violence or misdemeanor assault convictions; cannot  currently be on parole or probation.

STEP #1  APPLICATION  If you meet the qualifications above, Apply Here using the Police Lateral / Academy Graduate Application.


The Personal History Questionnaire  consists of approximately 180 questions, which allow an applicant to self-report behavior(s) determined to be related directly to job suitability.  PHQ results are valid for one year.


This is a panel interview.  Candidates will be asked five to eight questions, not necessarily police-related.  Pass Point is 70% or higher.  (Results are valid for three years).  Candidates who successfully complete all portions of the testing process will be placed on a list of eligible candidates for the Background Investigation process. 


Eligible candidates will complete a Personal History Statement (PHS) packet. Background investigators will then be assigned to assist candidates through the process.  Upon successful completion and review of the background investigation, the hiring board will make their employment selections.  Those selected will receive a conditional offer of employment, contingent upon successfully passing a medical and psychological exam.


The San Jose Police Academy provides classroom curriculum, physical training and San Jose Police-specific policies and procedure instruction.  The length of time for the in-house Academy depends upon the number of recruits and can last up to four weeks.  Once the in-house Academy is completed, lateral recruits will begin their field training.


The Field Training Officer (FTO) program is the “street” training for officers just graduating from the Academy. This is a period where newly graduated Police Officers will take what they learned in the Academy and apply it to the street. For Lateral Police Officers, this is a period of preparation, training transition and integration into the San Jose Police Department. Officers in the FTO program will be assigned to an experienced San Jose Field Training Officer; daily evaluations are given to document progress through this training period. Click here, to read more about the FTO training structure.

Those who successfully complete the Field Training Program are assigned to the Patrol Division as a solo beat officer. All officers in their first three years of service as a San Jose Police Officer must be assigned to the Patrol Division. After the three-year period, an officer is eligible to test for a specialized assignment or take the promotional exam for the rank of sergeant.

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providing excellent service, in a positive and timely manner, and in the full view of the public. Read more about the City Code of Ethics.