Featured Topics

We are looking for men and women from all backgrounds who welcome a challenge, and who will uphold our mission statement, "To proudly protect and serve the public with respect and integrity." To those who accept this challenge, we offer great pay and benefits, ample opportunities for specialty assignments and advancement, outstanding training, and the privilege to serve the community of Palo Alto.  

Application Process

The Palo Alto Police Department is currently accepting applications for the position of Police Officer Trainee, Police Officer Lateral and Police Academy Graduate.  Click on this link to see positions that are available.  For questions, contact Agent Marco Estrada of the Personnel & Training Unit at 650-329-2181.


Lateral applicants will require successful completion of, or current enrollment in, a California P.O.S.T.-certified Basic Academy, or be currently employed as a full-time police officer as defined under Penal Code Section 830. A copy of your Basic Academy certificate or proof of current employment at the time of application is also required.

Selection Process

Our selection process is similar to that of most other agencies. Once you meet our minimum criteria as outlined in the "Requirements" section above, you must pass each step of the application process as listed below. Prior to applying with us, though, please check our Disqualification Policy.

Police Officer positions (Lateral, and Reserve):

  • Please first check our Disqualification Policy
  • P.O.S.T. reading comprehension exam for police officers
    • Applicants who have completed a P.O.S.T.-certified Basic Academy are exempt from this exam
  • P.O.S.T. physical agility test/WSTB 1.5-mile run in under 14 minutes 
  • Writing skills test
  • Oral interview with a panel of police employees
  • Oral interview with the Personnel & Training Lieutenant
  • Background investigation (includes polygraph and drug and alcohol screening)
  • Interview with Police Chief
  • Psychological exam and medical exam

Specialty Assignments Available

Civilian Positions:

  • Please first check our Disqualification Policy
  • Public Safety Dispatcher positions only: P.O.S.T. reading comprehension exam for dispatchers
  • Staff interview with a panel of police managers or supervisors
  • Background investigation (includes polygraph and drug and alcohol screening)
  • Interview with Division head and/or Police Chief
  • Public Safety Dispatcher positions only: psychological exam
  • Medical exam

Salary & Benefits

Police Officer positions:

  • Make $48.53 to $57.67 hourly as a Police Officer
  • 5% additional pay for each of the following: night differential pay, Field Training Officer pay (while training) and Bilingual Incentive pay
  • Rotating 4/11 work schedule while in patrol (4 days on, 4 days off; 11-hour shifts)
  • Optional on-duty workout, fully paid
  • 90% Retirement medical coverage! (90% for dependents!)
    • After 20 years with PERS agencies, last 5 with Palo Alto PD
  • Incentive pay at 5% for Intermediate POST certificate and 7.5% for Advanced POST certificate (depends on time in position, but obtained faster with bachelor's degree and/or master's degree)
  • Uniform and equipment fully paid, including dry cleaning
  • If you choose, ability to remain involved in your investigations from time of initial crime report to time of criminal filing and ultimate arrest of suspect
  • Full complement of specialty positions available

All non-management positions (sworn and non-sworn):

  • Deferred Compensation: two of the top-rated plans are available
  • Top-quality health care plan for you and your dependents, including: medical, dental, vision and basic life insurance. 90% paid by the City of Palo Alto.
  • Retirement system (PERS): The City pays 91% of your annual contribution:
    • Sworn positions - "2.7% at 55" retirement formula
    • Non-sworn positions - "2% at 60" retirement formula

Last Updated: Jul 14, 2017