Frequently Asked Questions


Requirements, Application, Testing

What are the minimum requirements for police recruits?

For Police Trainee entry-level position for the Stockton Police Department, applicants must be at least 20 years old the day of the written test. Applicants must possess a high school diploma from a U.S. high school, or a G.E.D. In accordance with Government Code Section 1031, effective January 1, 2023, peace officers must be legally authorized to work in the United States under federal law. There are no specific citizenship requirements.

Do I need to be a citizen of the United States?

The Stockton Police Department requires that a Police Officer candidate be legally authorized to work in the United States under federal law. P.O.S.T. background requirements require applicants to have a minimum of 10 years residence in the United States.
*This link provides info on the acceptable documents to show authorization to work in the US.

Do I need to reside in Stockton?

You do not have to be a resident of the City of Stockton to apply for, or work as, a Stockton Police Department Officer.

Where do I obtain an application?

You can submit an application for a Police Trainee, Police Recruit, Academy Graduate or Lateral position by visiting the Open Job Opportunities page on the city web site. Click “Available Jobs”. Search for “Police”. Select the appropriate job you would like to apply for.

What type of written tests are accepted by the Stockton Police Department?

We accept the Post Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery (PELLETB) test or the National Testing Network (NTN) test.

What can I expect on the PELLETB test?

The test is primarily a language aptitude test. One must already possess proficient language skills to perform well on the test. The first two components of the PELLETB focus on language ability. The first component evaluates writing ability, and the component evaluates reading ability. The writing component of the test measures clarity, vocabulary, and spelling. The reading component measures reading comprehension.

What can I expect on the NTN test?

The test incorporates a human relations rest, focusing on using good judgment in enforcement, public relations, and teamwork. It was specifically designed for entry-level law enforcement. Candidates watch a video segment and then choose the best course of action in a multiple-choice format. Additionally, a report writing, and multiple-choice reading test will be incorporated. 

When and where do I take the written PELLETB test? How often is the written test given?

Stockton Police Department administers the test approximately once every 31 days. After you submit an application, it takes the City of Stockton, Human Resources Department approximately 2-3 days to process the application. Once the application is processed, you will be contacted via email with your scheduled date and time to take the Physical Abilities Test (PAT) and PELLETB test. The Stockton Police Department determines the location and the times of the written exam.

When do I find out if I was successful in passing the test?

The City of Stockton Human Resources Department will notify you of your PELLETB results within three weeks of you being administered the PELLETB or NTN exam.

How long does the hiring process take?

The process can take approximately three to four months. There are no alternatives to expedite this process.

Will the hiring process be shorter for applicants with previous law enforcement or military experience?

Generally no. Previous experience may help an applicant be more competitive in the process, but it will not shorten the process.


The Stockton Police Department Officers are entrusted with responsibility to keep our cities safe from crime and corruption. Therefore, a history of ethical and moral behavior is of the utmost importance. Your background will be looked at very closely. Candidates who have a history of unethical or immoral behavior will not be hired. You will be subjected to an intensive background evaluation, pursuant to the City of Stockton Public Safety Background Standards

What will disqualify an applicant during a background investigation?

Any felony convictions as a juvenile or an adult, and any misdemeanor domestic violence convictions will automatically disqualify an applicant. 

What if my juvenile records are sealed?

Even if a juvenile record has been sealed, any felony convictions are still disqualifying. Applicants must list all arrests and/or convictions.

What if I have past drug use, traffic citations or arrest records?

Recent use of specific illicit drugs, several hazardous traffic violations, or any serious criminal offenses will be concerns when evaluating your viability. Applicants are expected to be 100% honest in these areas. All offenses will be evaluated by the Background Investigations Unit.

If I have a background investigation done with another agency, or have a top-secret clearance in the military, will Stockton Police Department still do a background check?

Yes. The SPD Backgrounds Unit will conduct their own thorough background investigation on every applicant who submits a personal history packet.

Are there any age, height, or weight requirements?

There are no age restrictions, or height/weight requirements. Every applicant who is processed will be required to pass a Physical Abilities Test which includes the following: 

  • 30 squats with two-minutes   
  • 15 push-ups within 90 seconds   
  • Plank for one-minute 
  • 500-yard (1 lap) within 2 minutes 45 seconds.

Benefits, Salary, Retirement

What is the salary range for new Officers?

Starting salary for Police Trainee’s starts at $5,863.46 a month while in the academy and will reach the top step of $8,884 after their sixth year. This salary does not include incentives. Pay scales for ranks above patrol officer are higher depending on rank achieved. These figures are subject to change due to new contract negotiations.

What medical benefits are available?

The City of Stockton offers Health Benefits – Medical, Dental, Vision. The city will pay employee’s contribution.

Will I be paid more money if I have a four-year degree?

Not initially, however, your degree will assist you with obtaining your intermediate and advance certificates earlier than officers who do not possess a degree. 


Does the Stockton Police Department assist with Academy fees?

The Stockton Police Department fully funds the academy for anyone hired as a Police Officer Trainee.

How long is the Police Academy training program?

The police academy is a six-month course. Our agency utilizes several academies; most of which are scheduled during day hours. However, times are subject to change based on training needs.

What kind of workouts can I expect?

At the start of the academy, recruits will be required to run at least three-five miles several times a week and circuit training twice a week or more depending on the academy.

What happens when I graduate from the academy?

Upon graduation, Police Officer Trainees will be sworn in as an officer by Chief S. McFadden. Recruits are promoted to Police Officers and will be scheduled for an additional twoweek introductory program. This will be followed by our six-month training program with a different Field Training Officer each month. Once training is complete, new officers will be assigned to one of six area commands. The location and work schedule will be determined according to the needs of the Department.

Will I be paid while attending the academy?

Stockton Police Department Trainees will be paid while attending the academy and are considered City of Stockton Employees.

Lateral Program, Out of State

I'm an officer from out of state. Can I apply as a lateral officer?

Yes. However, California P.O.S.T. requires out-of-state lateral officers to obtain a California P.O.S.T. Certificate. Officers who do not have a California P.O.S.T. Certificate will be required to obtain the necessary certificate. Please visit the California P.O.S.T website at additional information on P.O.S.T certification.

Is there a faster process for out of state applicants?

No, background investigations may be completed in as little as two months and can take up to four months.

How do I apply as an out of state applicant?

The hiring process is the same for all applicants. The process will consist of a written and physical ability test, completing a preliminary investigative questionnaire and submitting a personal history statement packet. Once you have successfully completed the listed steps and are deemed to be a viable candidate, you will be contacted and instructed to complete a series of interviews, a voice stress analyzer, psychological evaluation, and medical screening.

On the Job, Assignment, Promotion

How long will it be before I can work a specialized assignment?

After completion of an 18-month probationary period, officers are eligible to apply for other specialized assignments. Examples of these assignments include: SWAT, Canine Handler, Detective, and Motor Officer, etc.

If you have additional questions about Stockton Police Department Recruiting, email