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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

Hiring Process

The process to become a police officer is different from most other careers. There are several steps and it generally takes about six months to a year to complete due to the number of interested applicants and the in-depth background investigation that is required by state/federal law and city/bureau policy.

The Portland Police Bureau has partnered with the National Testing Network (NTN) to administer the entry level test to become a Portland Community Police Officer. The National Testing Network is new to the Portland Police Bureau and it is important for applicants to follow the instructions given throughout the process. If at any time during the process you have any questions it is imperative that you contact the Personnel Division at 503-823-0333 or the NTN Support Line at 866-563-3882.

Below is a description of the entire process.

Phase 1: Entry-Level test (Pass-Fail)

Phase 2: Oral Board Interview (Pass-Fail), Statement of Personal History, and Required Documents

Phase 2.5: California Psychological Inventory (CPI) and Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ)

Phase 3: Physical Abilities Test (ORPAT/PAT, Pass-Fail)

Phase 4: Background Investigation (Pass-Fail)

Phase 5: Psychological Evaluation (Pass-Fail)

Phase 6: Medical Evaluation (Pass Fail)

Pre-Application Preparation Workshops or Practice Physical Ability Tests

Online Application Process


PHASE 1 (Entry Level Test) Pass-Fail:

It is important to follow all of the directions.

•             Applicants are required to take the Frontline Written Exam with the National Testing Network (NTN). It is the applicant's responsibility to schedule the required exams with the NTN at

•             There are three (3) components to the FrontLine National examination: a video-based human relations test; a reading ability test; and a written language ability test. Testing takes approximately 2 1/2 hours. Upon receipt of test scores from NTN, the City of Portland will notify candidates of their pass/fail status on this test component.

•            The NTN website provides a description of the test components and directions for scheduling a test for the Portland Police Bureau. The website offers a practice test for purchase with sample items.

•             Once at the NTN website, applicants will need to create an account with NTN. If assistance is needed in registering, the NTN Support phone number is 866-563-3882 and support site is

•             There is a $49.00 fee associated with the testing. If this fee discourages the applicant from taking this test, a Scholarship to waive this fee is available for applicants to the Portland Police Bureau. This waiver is specific to Portland Police Bureau and your test results will only be valid for the Portland Police Bureau. The form can be found at

The price for an exam will increase for tests scheduled after January 1, 2016. Click here for a complete list of the new prices. 

•             You must elect to have your scores sent to the "Portland Police Bureau Community Police Officer" through NTN.



PHASE 2 Oral Board Interview (Pass-Fail) and Statement of Personal History (SPH)/Required Documents:

Applicants who successfully pass Phase 1 (entry-level test) of the testing process will be scheduled for an oral board interview. Based upon the expected number of applicants for each recruitment, the oral board interviews may be conducted in two (2) sessions over a two (2) month time frame.

• The oral board phase will evaluate the applicant's ability to meet the following psychological dimensions and training core competencies.        
                I. Social Competence/ Assertiveness & Persuasiveness / Leadership / Teamwork
                II. Conscientiousness / Dependability
                III. Decision Making & Judgment / Integrity & Ethics
                IV. Cultural Competencies

• The oral board will be comprised of a three (3) person board  The oral board will have both sworn and civilian panel members.

Applicants must bring their COMPLETED Statement of Personal History (SPH) and Required Documents to the Oral Board. Applicants who pass the Oral Board Interview will turn in their SPH and Required Documents at that time.

The SPH is your introduction to your background investigator and it will be the starting point for your background investigation. The thoroughness and accuracy of your SPH will impact how long your investigation takes to complete. We encourage people to start the SPH well ahead of the application date - generally, it can take months to complete an SPH and gather all of the required documents. Please read (and re-read) the instructions for filling out the SPH prior to completing the document or contacting us with questions. The link to the line-by-line specfic instructions is below.

If this is the first law enforcement job for which you have applied, we highly encourage applicants to attend a Statement of Personal History workshop to understand our expectations and to ask any questions on completion of this vitally important document. We are here to help and want to make sure you have all the tools you need to be successful in the process.

Statement of Personal History Documentation Instructions

Statement of Personal History

Required Documents List

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Phase 2.5: California Psychological Inventory (CPI) and Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ)

Applicants who pass the Oral Board will be invited to complete the CPI and PHQ at the end of the week. The CPI and PHQ are additional tools to assist with your background investigation.

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Phase 3 - Physical Ability Test (PAT) or Oregon Physical Ability Test (ORPAT) - Pass/Fail

Applicants who pass Phase 1 and 2 of the testing process must also successfully complete a Portland Police Bureau Physical Ability Test (PAT) or an Oregon Physical Ability Test (OR-PAT) before the completion of the Background Investigation. The Portland Police Bureau will be conducting ongoing Physical Ability Tests (PAT) free of charge. A video demonstrating the PAT, and the test dates, times, and locations will be updated and posted on the Preparatory Workshops page . PAT and OR-PAT scores are good for one (1) year from the test date.

Applicants must complete either the Portland Police Bureau PAT (administered free of charge by the Portland Police Bureau), or the Oregon Physical Ability Test (OR-PAT) with the National Testing Network (NTN). The ORPAT can be scheduled with the There is an $85.00 fee assessed with the National Testing Network OR-PAT.

During the PAT or ORPAT, applicants will be tested on:

  • Physical strength
  • Endurance
  • Agility and coordination

We invite any and all applicants to attend a Police Bureau Physical Ability Test (PAT) ahead of your actual test time. These are offered monthly and the results will have absolutely no bearing on your application process as we do not maintain scores unless you choose to use this as your official PAT result.

We will give scheduling preference to applicants who are coming from out of town or are currently in background.

Your PAT/ORPAT times have no impact on your overall score. This is strictly a pass-fail component and individual times are not recorded.

VIDEO - PAT Demonstration

Physical Abilities Test Guide

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Phase 4  (14-18 weeks from the date the background is assigned to an investigator)

Backgrounds may take weeks or months to be assigned to a background investigator, depending on the size of the candidate pool and the investigators' caseloads.

The Portland Police Bureau will conduct a thorough investigation of your background. Portland Community Police Officers are entrusted with the responsibility to keep our city safe and maintaining community trust. This community trust is vital to the Portland Police Bureau. During the Background process, an investigator will contact the applicant’s current and prior employers, relatives, and personal references. The investigator will check into your employment history, credit status, driving record, criminal history, police contacts and other pertinent information necessary to conduct a thorough investigation. You must possess high standards of honesty and integrity.

Falsifying, misrepresenting, or omitting information on any document during the selection process may cause an applicant to be eliminated.

It is important to be completely honest with your background investigator. Police Officers are held to a high standard of integrity and must be credible witnesses. Negative spots in your background will not necessarily result in failing your background; however, deliberate misrepresenation will most likely result in permanent disqualification and you will be ineligible to re-apply at any time.

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Phases 5-6: Psychological Evaluation and Medical Exam

Phase 5 (Psychological Exam) and Phase 6 (Medical Exam/drug screen) - after receiving a conditional offer of hire, candidates are invited to complete the final 2 phases as positions open. The psych eval and medical are usually completed within one week (2 days in the case of out-of-town applicants who travel to Portland). When we are actively hiring, we generally schedule hire groups every other month, sometimes monthly.

The Psychological Evaluation consists of a formal interview and testing with a psychologist who has reviewed your background investigation report along with the California Psychological Inventory and Personal History Questionnaire that you took after the oral board interview.

The Medical Exam consists of a comprehensive physical examination, including a drug screen. Please visit the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards & Testing (DPPST) website for information on their medical requirements.

DPSST Medical Examination & Essential Tasks for Police Officers

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Preparatory Workshops and Practice PATs

We encourage potential applicants to attend one of our informational workshops and/or a practice Physical Abilities Test in order to better prepare themselves. These events are usually scheduled prior to actual testing dates.  For more event details and descriptions visit Preparatory Workshop.

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How to Apply Online

The City of Portland only accepts online applications during an Open Enrollment period. 


Please fill out the Recruiter Contact form and/or check our homepage and Facebook page for recruitment updates.


Prior to applying applicants will need to create a Career Seeker Account with (also accessible at The account will only need basic contact information because work history and education will be included in your Statement of Personal History.

During an Open Recruitment applicants will go to and select the "Community Police Officer" job link.  Applicants will use their Career Seeker Account login/password to complete the application and supplemental yes/no questions. Once you receive an auto-reply confirmation we have received your application to take the written test. 

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