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Application and Testing

First, complete your application at Public Safety Testing (PST) and schedule a date to take the written exam.  Please see below for the requirements for entry and lateral applicants.  Tests are reported to and validated by Civil Service weekly.  


You must pass all portions of the testing, but a score of 75% or higher on the video segment and 70% or higher on the reading segment in order to move further in the process.  Oral Boards are currently only being offered to those who pass all portions. (This minimum score is subject to change)  The scores are not averaged.  The video scenarios score plays a partial role in your ranking as you will see below. 


Lateral applicants must pass the reading and report writing sections.  Their video score does not factor in to the final score.  The report writing exam is reported to us as PASS/FAIL. 

Veterans' preference points are not factored in until you pass the oral board phase. You claim these points when you initially sign-up for the PST tests.  You should bring your DD214 to the Oral Board.


Oral Board

When we receive your test results from PST, you will be contacted by the King County Civil Service to be scheduled for an oral board interview.  The oral board interview is part of the Civil Service testing process and is conducted by a three-person panel consisting of King County Sheriff’s Office deputies, detectives, and/or sergeants.  A member of King County Civil Service is present in the interview as a proctor.  The panel will evaluate you on the following criteria:  communication skills, background, community involvement, experience, integrity, motivation, interpersonal skills, and problem solving.

Civil Service Eligibility List


Rank is based on 20% of the video portion of the written test, plus 80% Oral Board scores.  Only then are veterans preference, second language fluency or Peace Corps service points applied.  Qualified candidates will be merged onto the existing entry-level eligibility list.


Rank is based solely on your Oral Board scores.  Lastly, veterans preference, second language fluency or Peace Corps service points are applied to determine your final rank.  Qualified candidates are merged into the existing lateral-entry eligibility list. 

Both these lists determine the order in which background investigations are conducted.  Separate lists are maintained for entry-level and lateral entry candidates.

Mentoring Program

After successfully completing the oral board interview (and if your ranking is high enough on the Civil Service Eligibility List--usually the top 20% of the list), you will have the option to participate in the Mentoring Program. This is completely voluntary on your part.  Mentors are experienced deputies, detectives, or sergeants who also have volunteered to be your contact person within the department. They can provide assistance, guidance, and perspective during the hiring, academy, and training processes. Your mentor is paired with you and remains your mentor until you complete the field training (PTO) phase. Your mentor also will take you on a ride-along anywhere in the county and can facilitate future rides. It is an invaluable asset to receive advice, information, and encouragement from an objective department member who wants to see you succeed.  Your mentor is not an evaluator.

Background Investigation

Our thorough background investigation includes a look at your criminal history record, employment history, personal references, driving history, credit history and an evaluation of psychological suitability.  KCSO detectives will conduct the investigation.  Personal references and current and previous employers will also be contacted.  For lateral applicants, due to the accelerated nature of the hiring process, candidates must be aware that current employers will be contacted by our Background Detectives very soon following the receipt of your oral board interview. 

Final Interview, Psychological/Medical Exams & Polygraph

Once you pass the background process, you will have a final interview with the a chief or captain on our department. Upon successful completion of that interview, you will get the call you’ve been waiting for – a job offer contingent on passing a basic medical exam that confirms your fitness for duty, plus a psychological exam and interview with the Department psychologist.  A polygraph then confirms the truthfulness of your application.


For lateral entry applicants, the entire process from KCSO being notified of your PST score to final offer of employment can take six to twelve weeks (possibly longer, depending upon hiring needs).  The background investigation will begin immediately upon KCSO being notified of your successful oral board interview.  Please see the Lateral Entry page (linked here) for more information.

For entry level applicants, the entire process can take anywhere from three to 10 months depending on several factors.  These include your rank on the Civil Service Eligibility List, availability for interviews, length of background investigation, and available vacancies among others.

Questions? Let us help.