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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

Qualities of Successful Candidates

Applying for the Portland Police Bureau is a highly competitive process. 

In addition to reviewing the Minimum Requirements and Disqualifiers, please carefully review the below skills, abilities and character traits that are possessed by the most successful applicants. Some prospective candidates may decide to gain more experience before applying. Each applicant’s suitability will be judged against standards specified in State and Federal laws, and the Portland Police Bureau's ten basic job-related requirements called: 10 Job Dimensions.

We recommend that prospective candidates review the DOJ documents and the Portland Police Bureau's Use of Force Policy.


You must possess each of these skills, abilities and character traits. A very thorough investigation of your personal history will identify deficiencies in any area.   

Officer Ibarra at City Hall

Skills Possessed by the Most Successful Candidates 

We often find that otherwise qualified candidates are lacking experience in a crucial area of law enforcement - Interpersonal / Interracial / Public Relations Skills.  We are especially looking for the following qualities:

  • Proven ability to establish effective working relationships and rapport with people from various racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
  • Demonstrated skill in relating with the public in a fair, tactful and courteous manner, regardless of cultural differences.
  • Demonstrated skill in effectively dealing with persons in various emotional and mental states.

An applicant’s capacity in these areas is evaluated in part by the experiences documented by personal, professional and volunteer references; police and security contacts; and interactions with their background investigator.

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Do I have the necessary Interpersonal / Interracial / Public Relations skills? 

Before applying, ask yourself the following questions to help evaluate if you have the skill level and ability the Portland Police Bureau is seeking.

  • Have I demonstrated in my life an ongoing respect for and interest in cultures different from my own?
  • Do I have at least a basic understanding of how institutional racism impacts American society, including our criminal justice systems?
  • When speaking to friends and/or co-workers who are people of color, is racial discrimination or racism a part of positive conversation?
  • Have I done self-reflection to understand my own personal / implicit biases? Am I taking action to mitigate these biases?
  • When speaking with people from other backgrounds (racial, gender, religious, socio-economic, sexual orientation, etc.) am I able to gauge how my words and tone may negatively impact the interaction? Am I able to take corrective action?
  • Am I able to adjust my tone, words and actions to positively interact with people in various emotional states? Do I recognize this may influence the outcome of a situation?

Officer Ortiz at Shop With a CopBeginning a career as a Community Police Officer in Portland is both rewarding and exciting. However, if you cannot comfortably answer “Yes” to the above questions, we urge you to seek out a wider breadth of personal, educational, and/or professional experience before applying to the Portland Police Bureau. 

Applicants may not be advanced through the hiring process if they do not have demonstrated capacity to respectfully and honorably serve the needs of Portland's diverse communities.

We strive to create a policing agency that provides all Portland residents with high-quality service and an organizaiton that reflects the city's racial and gender diversity. Therefore, we actively encourage people of color and women to apply.

If you are considering policing as a career and have questions about work environment please contact our Recruitment Coordinator, Officer Tim Evans.


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How to become better prepared for a police career in a racially, ethnically and culturally diverse city

If you are unsure of your interpersonal skill level, here are some ideas to further develop your personal experience and intercultural understanding prior to applying to the Portland Police Bureau.


Participate in activities, organizations, and/or employment where you are able to collaborate with people of diverse backgrounds including - but not limited to - race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic, and mental health status.


Read books and articles, or watch videos about institutional racism, American history and our criminal justice systems. Below are some video tools used for bureau trainings:


  • "Race: The Power of an Illusion"is a video series produced by California Newsreel and aired on PBS that is often very enlightening to viewers about the social construction of race in American society. The Portland Police Bureau has an introductory training built around the viewing and discussion of this series which examines the myth of "genetic" race,  the roots of the race concept in North America, and how our social institutions "make" race by disproportionately channeling resources, power, status and wealth to white people. Race the Power of an Illusion is available at your local library.


  • "Slavery by Another Name" is an award-winning documentary that uses historical records and readings to document how American slavery continued for 80 years after Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. The film illuminates how  local, state, and federal criminal justice systems supported the insidious new forms of forced labor in the American South until World War II. For most American viewers this is entirely new history that offers a deeper understanding of how our social, political, and economic systems reinforced racial disparities through present times. Slavery by Another Name is available for free online viewing.


  • "Unnatural Causes"is the acclaimed documentary series broadcast by PBS and now used by thousands of organizations around the country to tackle the root causes of our alarming socio-economic and racial inequities in health. The four-hour series crisscrosses the nation uncovering startling new findings that suggest there is much more to our health than bad habits, health care, or unlucky genes. The social circumstances in which we are born, live, and work can actually get under our skin and disrupt our physiology as much as germs and viruses. Unnatural Causes is available at your local library.



Attend seminars, discussion, events and/or lectures on institutional racism, white privilege, and Portland's own racial and cultural histories to better understand how these issues affect policing and society in general. There are multiple opportunities in Portland to become a better educated citizen and servant of the community, a few ideas are below:

  • Assess your own biases by taking the online Harvard Implicit Association Test (click here) which presents a method to test the conscious-unconscious divergences. It is well-known that people don't always 'speak their minds', and don't always 'know their minds'. Understanding such divergences is important to scientific psychology.  In addition, the website contains various related information. The value of this information is greatest if you try at least one test first.


Equality Does not mean Equity

  • Portland's Office of Equity and Human Rights is responsible for providing educational and technical support to City staff and elected officials, leading to recognition and removal of systemic barriers to equitable distribution of resources, access and opportunity, starting with issues of race and disability. This office includes the City's Human Rights Commission and its ongoing subcommittee the Community and Police Relations Committee.


  • Attend Race Talks events hosted by Uniting to Understand Racismthe series is held at the Kennedy School McMenamins, 5736 NE 33rd Avenue, on the 2nd Tuesday of each month; and Race Talks II held at Jefferson High School, 5210 N. Kerby Avenue on the 1st Tuesday of each month.  Admission is free and open to the public, topics vary each month.


  • Visit the Oregon Historical Society, the steward of Oregon’s history that educates, informs, and engages the public through collecting, preserving, and interpreting the past . . . in other words, Oregon history matters.


  • Check out The Portland Plan (click here) adopted by City Council in 2012 to address equity issues in government services and living environments for Portland residents.

There are a hundreds of ways you can expand your personal experience if you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone.  Take the initiative. Search the Internet. Talk to people. Get involved.


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10 Basic Job Dimensions


    1. Communication skills

    2. Skill in assessing situations; recognizing when to take action and deciding on an appropriate course of action

    3. Skill in reading, comprehending, retaining, and applying written factual information

    4. Skill in analyzing situations quickly and objectively; recognizing actual and potential dangers; determining a proper course of  action

    5. Skill in observing and remembering detail

    6. Willingness to confront a variety of problems and situations

    7. Interpersonal / interracial / public relations skills

    8. Skill in operating a motor vehicle

    9. Dependability and sound work habits

    10. Characteristics necessary to maintain integrity, truthfulness and credibility


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