Recruitment FAQs

How do I sign up for a ride-along with a patrol officer or a sit-along in Dispatch?
The forms to participate are kept at the front counter of the Police Department. A form may be picked up and completed during normal business hours of 0800 – 1700 hours, Monday through Friday. A criminal history check is completed on all applicants.

Where do I find more information about legal requirements to become a peace officer or dispatcher?
You may go to the Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Web site at:

What is POST?
The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) is responsible for regulating and certifying all law enforcement agencies in the state.

The Commission's goal is to concentrate its services on the three ingredients believed to be most critical to effective law enforcement:

  • Meeting the statewide need for consistent peace officer selection standards by developing and updating job-related selection standards.
  • Assuring that California peace officers have access to appropriate training to acquire the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviors which are consistent with the requirements and expectations of professional competence associated with the job at each career and experience stage.
  • Fostering and facilitating healthy and productive organizational environments in which officers work by providing a system of leadership development programs and offering management counseling services.

The Commission on POST is a state agency that was formally established in 1959. It consists of 14 members, 13 of whom are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, for three-year overlapping terms. Commissioners are selected to provide a balanced group of city and county administrators, law enforcement professionals, educators, and public members. The State Attorney General is a Commissioner by law.

The POST Advisory Committee is the Commission's "sounding board" and provides input on many of the Commission's complex issues. The Advisory Committee represents the major associations and organizations within California's law enforcement community. Educators and public members also serve on the Committee.

The POST Commission establishes minimum selection and training standards, provides counseling on improving management practices, and provides financial assistance to agencies to support the training of their peace officers, dispatchers and paraprofessional employees. Other major responsibilities include:

  • administering a professional certificate program for peace officers, reserves and dispatchers;
  • incorporating instructional technology in training;
  • conducting feasibility studies regarding peace officer status; and implementing statutory mandates as required.


For more information about POST visit:

Is there anything that could automatically disqualify me from the hiring process?

Examples of applicants subject to automatic disqualification include:

  • Any person who has been convicted of a felony.
  • Any person who has been convicted of any offense in any other jurisdiction that would have been a felony if committed in California.
  • Any person who, after January 1, 2004, has been convicted of a crime based upon a verdict, or finding of guilt of a felony by the Trier of fact, or upon the entry of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a felony. This paragraph shall apply regardless of whether, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 17 of the Penal Code, the court declares the offense to be a misdemeanor or the offense becomes a misdemeanor by operation of law.
  • Any person who has been charged with a felony and adjudged by a superior court to be mentally incompetent.
  • Any person who has been found not guilty by reason of insanity of any felony.
  • Any person who has been determined to be a mentally disordered sex offender.
  • Any person adjudged addicted or in danger of becoming addicted to narcotics, convicted, and committed to a state institution.
  • Any person who has been convicted of a domestic violence offense or associated crime that legally prohibits them from owning, carrying, or possessing a firearm for ten years.


What qualities and characteristics does the Oceanside Police Department look for in applicants for positions as police officer, dispatcher or other positions within the Police Department?

The Police Department follows POST guidelines of the ten job dimensions:

  • Integrity
  • Impulse Control/Attention to Safety
  • Risk-taking Behavior/Substance Abuse
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Confronting and Overcoming Problems, Obstacles & Adversity
  • Conscientiousness
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Decision-making and Judgment
  • Learning Ability
  • Communications Skills


I have applied for a position at the Police Department. What should I wear to interviews, appointments and testing?
Unless notified otherwise, business attire is strongly recommended throughout the hiring process. Jeans, sandals, T-shirts and similar attire are not appropriate for an employment process setting.

I am applying for a position other than police officer, what can I expect in my hiring process?
All Oceanside Police Department applicants, regardless of position, will go through a thorough background investigation. Successful completion of the background process is required for all Police Department positions.

The background process for all Police Department positions will include:

  • Submission of a Personal History Statement (PHS) A copy of this may be found on the POST Web site as mentioned above.
  • Authorization to run a credit check
  • Authorization to release information for employers, landlords, and references
  • Pre-background Interview to review your PHS and determine your suitability to continue in the process
  • Polygraph examination
  • Pre-placement testing
  • Livescan (fingerprints) and complete criminal history check
  • Photograph
  • Background Investigation
  • Hiring Authority Interview
  • Job Offer
  • Medical Examination
  • Drug Screening
  • Psychological Examination
  • Meeting with Psychologist
  • New Recruit Orientation
  • Police academy
  • Graduation
  • Swearing in
  • Field Training
  • Pass Probation


What kinds of education and experience should I consider before applying to become a police officer with the City of Oceanside?

  • Education: While a high school diploma or GED certificate is the minimum educational requirement, we place a high value on those who have completed or are working on completion of their college education.
  • Work Experience: “The best predictor of future behavior is past performance.” A person who has demonstrated their ability to be a dependable and reliable employee is just as important as education. Positive job references from a reputable employer are extremely important. Any consistent employment is helpful; however, jobs that emphasize public contact, interpersonal communications, dependability and responsibility are the most important. Internships and volunteering in the community is judged in the same category as work experience and also demonstrates commitment to the community.
  • Make an ongoing effort to learn about law enforcement. Many agencies have part-time positions to increase that exposure and may lead to paid, full-time positions, including Police Cadet, Community Service Officers, Volunteers, Interns, etc.
  • Physical Fitness: Begin an ongoing physical fitness program. You will need to be in good physical condition to successfully compete for employment and complete a police academy. This should be made a part of your daily routine throughout your life.
  • Moral character: Poor choices, particularly as an adult, may jeopardize a future law enforcement career. While perfection is not expected or required, drug use, theft, dishonesty and poor judgment end many careers before they get started.
  • Balance: Above all, successful law enforcement applicants tend to be those who have balance in their lives. Maintaining that balance once you are hired and complete the academy and probation will be the key to your ongoing success in law enforcement. More information in this area may be learned by reading “Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement” by Kevin Gilmartin, Ph.D.

Do you have to be a United States citizen to become a police officer?
Yes. California State law, (California Government Code, sec. 1031) requires that peace officers be U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens who are eligible for citizenship. The Oceanside Police Department requires an applicant to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident alien who has applied for U.S. citizenship before being hired as a police officer.

What is a "Lateral Transfer"?
This classification is for experienced police officers who have graduated from a POST-certified basic academy, completed a probation period of full-time sworn police experience and be in possession of a California POST Basic Certificate at the time of filing the employment application.

Do you accept police officer lateral transfers?
Yes. We accept applications for lateral transfer on a continuous basis.

What is the process for an out-of-state lateral officer applicant?
The requirements do include a California POST Basic Certificate, satisfactory completion of probation and either an AA/AS or 60 units. All out-of-state applicants will need to complete the California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Re-qualification Course prior to testing as a lateral police officer applicant. Please refer to the POST Web page for more details on the re-qualification course at

What is a POST Certificate?
The POST Basic Certificate is the first of several levels of professional peace officer certificates issued by the state. The POST Basic Certificate is required within 18 months of being appointed as a peace officer.

You can obtain a California Basic POST Certificate in two ways:

  • Seek employment with an agency that sponsors recruits through a POST basic police academy.
  • Sponsor yourself through one of the POST basic police academies that accepts independent recruits. Those who successfully complete this program are considered “Academy Graduates” for purposes of employment and test in the same manner as “Lateral Officers”.

These basic police academies are operated by several community colleges throughout the state, including Miramar College and Palomar College.

If you are a lateral applicant from out of state, or you were not hired within three years of completing the basic academy, you may take the POST re-qualification course that is three weeks in length.