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Police Officer Employment and Testing

Police officer

Police officers work with people in a wide variety of circumstances, many of which are stressful. Therefore, maturity, good judgment, self-confidence and a desire to assist the public are necessary.

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Respect, integrity, innovation, and compassion.

The Bellingham Police Department employs over 100 commissioned officers. New hires begin as entry level police officers and are assigned to the Patrol Division. Status in any other Civil Service System is not transferrable to Bellingham. Experienced law enforcement officers may start at a higher step within the pay range.

The City of Bellingham is a classified Civil Service System using ranked eligibility lists developed from test scores to select final candidates for hire. The exam consists of a scored written test and a pass/fail physical fitness test. Additional procedures include background investigation, polygraph exam, drug screening, medical and psychological exams and department interview.

Upon completion of a eighteen month probationary period which includes the Basic Law Enforcement Academy, an officer may work toward qualification in one of several specialized areas, including Investigations, Traffic, Crime Prevention, K-9 and SWAT Team.


Educational requirements are 90 quarter/60 semester hours of college course work. The minimum qualifications include U.S. citizenship, valid Washington State Driver’s License, at least 21 years of age, and standards of physical condition including, but not limited to, physical fitness and vision 20/100 uncorrected each eye (corrected to 20/20).

Recruitment Process

The City of Bellingham partners with National Testing Network, Inc (NTN) to provide full testing services for the position of Police Officer. The next recruitment for City of Bellingham will be September 2, 2014 through October 3, 2014. Additional information will be posted on our website at that time. Candidates interested in applying can sign up to receive email notification when opportunities are posted.  Job Alerts

For more information, to fill out an application and schedule to test, go to National Testing Network, select Law Enforcement and sign up for the Bellingham Police Department (available during the recruitment period).

What to expect at the National Testing Network website:

The current beginning salary for an entry level Police Officer is $5,005 per month; the full salary range is $5,005 - $6,438 (up to $6,824 for a Master Patrol Officer) per month. An extensive benefit package is provided, including medical, dental, vision and prescription drug coverage for employee, spouse and dependents. Guild membership is required within 30 days of hire. The state- wide Washington Law Enforcement and Firefighters Pension Plan (LEOFF) provides retirement benefits.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.  Persons with disabilities needing assistance in the application/examination process should contact Human Resources

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