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Lateral Entry Applicants

A Lateral Entry Applicant is someone currently employed as a police/peace officer in the State of California.

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 a police recruit applicant and attend the San Jose Police Academy.  More information about applying as a Police Recruit


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
  • 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. More information about College Credits
  • Must have completed 60 semester college credits or 90 quarter college credits from a U.S. accredited college or university. Police academy credits are also accepted. The education requirement will be waived for the following:
    • Laterals from any California agency within Major Cities Chief and Major County Sheriffs with four (4) years active police experience
    • Military Veterans with an honorable discharge and four (4) years of service in the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard
  • Must be a citizen of the U.S. or permanent resident alien who has applied for citizenship
  • Must have at least 20/40 corrected vision
  • No felony, domestic violence or misdemeanor assault convictions; cannot currently be on probation or parole
  • No financial accounts currently in "collections."

STEP #1  SUBMIT APPLICATION  Apply Here   (If you meet the qualifications listed above)


  • This is an informal interview conducted by a Recruiting Sergeant.  Candidates who pass the oral interview 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 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.  More about the Background Investigation Process


  • The San Jose Police Academy provides classroom curriculum, physical training and instruction on San Jose Police-specific policies and procedures.  The length of time for the in-house academy depends upon the number of lateral recruits and can last up to four weeks.  Once the in-house academy is completed, lateral recruits will begin the Field Training Officer (FTO) program.  More information about the San Jose Police Academy


  • The Field Training Officer (FTO) program provides “street” training for officers just graduating from the academy. Lateral officers are assigned to experienced SJPD Field Training Officers while attending the FTO program.  Daily evaluations are given to document progress through this training period. Read more about the FTO training structure and history.
  • Those who successfully complete the FTO 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.

Questions?  Email a SJPD Recruiter: 

SJPD shoulder patch

The City of San José is committed to open and honest government and strives to consistently meet the community's expectations by
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.