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Qualifications and disqualifiers

Find out what qualifications and skills you need to become a law enforcement officer in King County, and learn about automatic disqualifiers.

Basic qualifications

Whether you are a lateral or entry level applicant, you must meet all basic qualifications to qualify for a deputy sheriff position:

  • You need to be a lawful permanent resident or citizen of the United States at the time of application.
  • You must have the ability to read, speak, and write the English language fluently.
  • You must be at least 20 years of age at the time of application and age 21 on the date of hire.
  • You must have a Washington State driver's license or be able to obtain one by the date of hire.
  • You must have a high school degree or GED.
  • You must meet King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) medical standards, as determined by a medical exam following an offer of employment.
  • You must be able to pass the background investigation. (We have provided a short self-screening background questionnaire that will help us determine whether you meet some basic background qualifications. This is attached to Deputy Sheriff job application and must be filled out as a part of the application package.)

Additional qualifications for lateral applicants

If you are a lateral applicant with previous experience, you must meet basic qualifications as well as the following: 

  • Experience as a full-time commissioned police officer with at least 12 months of active patrol after completion of all academy training.
    • Time training on active patrol (PTO/FTO or similar) will count towards the 12 months of active patrol requirement.
  • Successful completion of probation as a commissioned officer with a city, county, or state police, or sheriff's department.
  • Federal Law Enforcement experience may qualify, pending a review from the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center (CJTC). Please reach out to Marc Alvarado, Civil Service HR Analyst, at for next steps in the process.
  • Less than a 2-year break in service from a former police officer position.
  • Academy training that meets or exceeds the Washington State CJTC's standards (720 hours).
  • Out-of-state applicants will be required to complete an 80-hour equivalency academy.
  • Verification that you do not meet any of the Sheriff’s Office automatic disqualifying behaviors.

Basic skills

These are the basic skills you'll need to be a law enforcement officer:

  • Ability to speak clearly and listen well to others
  • Ability to write a report with grammatically correct English
  • Ability to comprehend laws and procedures of law enforcement
  • Ability to accurately recall learning in the workplace
  • Ability to accurately remember what you've witnessed during incidents
  • Ability to follow maps and find your way around
  • Excellent physical fitness
  • Basic computer skills

Academy training

Before you can become a deputy, you must complete 720 hours of basic law enforcement academy (BLEA) training at the Washington State Criminal Justice Center Training Commission (WSCJTC) within 6 months of hire. King County Sheriff's Office must sponsor you to attend. There are no self-sponsorships.

WSCJTC is located in Burien, WA near SeaTac Airport. Classes generally run Monday-Friday business hours, with some evening and weekend sessions.  Please note that dorm rooms are not available for KCSO hires.

All academy recruits must be able to actively and fully participate in:

  • Defensive drills
  • Any other required physical activity under WAC 139-05-230

The 720-hour Basic Academy curriculum is designed to provide recruit officers with the basic knowledge and skills necessary for safe, proper, and effective law enforcement service.

Instructional blocks include: 

  • Criminal Law and Procedures
  • Traffic Enforcement
  • Cultural Awareness
  • Communication Skills
  • Emergency Vehicle Operations Course
  • Firearms
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Patrol Procedures
  • Criminal Investigation
  • Defensive Tactics


The King County Sheriff's Office may disqualify any candidate whose background includes the following:


  • Convicted of any felony drug crime as an adult
  • Any use of heroin or methamphetamines
  • Any possession or use of GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) or any other “date rape” drug (includes, but not limited to Ketamine or Rohypnol). This includes giving it to others.
  • Any use of illegal drugs within 3 years of application (other than juvenile or one-time experimentation). Illegal drugs include but are not limited to: cocaine, ecstasy, molly, MDMA (club drugs), spice, mushrooms, or Khat, or illegal use of prescription drugs (including steroids).
  • Illegal use of 4 or more different controlled substances as an adult within the past 10 years
  • Any instance of manufacturing or cultivating illegal drugs for the purpose of sale or distribution
  • Use of any illegal drugs while employed in a criminal justice capacity
  • Obtaining a prescription under false pretenses
  • Any instance of illegally using a drug after applying to any Law Enforcement agency
  • Marijuana use will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis; however, to increase the likelihood of continuing in the hiring and background process, an applicant should not have used marijuana in the last 12 months. 

Criminal activity

  • Any adult felony convictions
  • Any adult misdemeanor conviction for crimes involving theft, violence, or crimes of dishonesty (including, but not limited to, perjury, forgery, impersonation, bribery, witness intimidation/tampering, or tampering with evidence)
  • All other misdemeanor convictions as an adult within the last 3 years
  • Any conviction for a sex-related crime, including crimes involving a minor or individual with a disability, including pornography
  • Any instance of required registration as a sex offender, regardless of conviction status
  • Any other crime conviction of which disqualifies the candidate from the legal right to possess a firearm under state or federal law
  • Any conviction for animal cruelty as defined by RCW 16.52.205
  • Any conviction for a violation of a court No-Contact, Protection, or Harassment Order
  • Any candidate currently named as a Respondent in any No-Contact, Protection, or Harassment DV Order


  • Conviction of Driving/Physical Control Under the Influence within the last 3 years
  • Conviction of Driving/Physical Control Under the Influence more than once will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis
  • As an adult, conviction of Attempting to Elude, or Hit and Run
  • As an adult, conviction of Reckless or Negligent Driving 1st degree in the last three (3) years
  • Driving While License Suspended/Revoked, convictions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis

Domestic violence

  • Any conviction for any crime classified as a Domestic Violence offense


  • A dishonorable discharge

If you fall under one of these categories or believe you could, you can call us at 206-263-6896 before submitting your application.