Step 1 - Online Application and Personal Qualifications Essay (PQE) written test

Online Application

All applicants must complete the Online Application. You must complete BOTH sections, which will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. You MUST submit the Online Application and print a copy to bring with you to the written test.

Personal Qualifications Essay (PQE)

The Personal Qualifications Essay (PQE) consists of essay questions related to judgment and decision making and behavioral flexibility. Your written communication skills will also be evaluated. The passing score for the PQE portion is 70% or higher, and your score is valid for 18 months. If you fail, you may retake the PQE after three months.

For a list of test locations, dates and times, click on our Testing Calendar

NOTE: You MUST present a valid State or Federal issued photo identification card when appearing for the test. Any candidate who does not have a valid State or Federal issued photo identification card WILL NOT be allowed to take the test.

What to think about before taking the PQE
There are no right or wrong answers to the questions. You will be asked to elicit the information needed to evaluate your qualifications for each of the factors listed above. Each candidate's response will be unique to that candidate, based on his or her life experiences. Prior to your PQE, you may want to spend some time reviewing the many events and incidents that make up your personal history and that have helped make you who you are today. Which of these many experiences have prepared you for the position of Police Officer?

Plain talk about this test part:
Read the essay questions and make sure that you answer the questions that are asked. Reread your answers and look for careless errors. You will be taking this test with paper and pencil. You won't be able to rely on spell-check. It's not enough that you know how to write or have created excellent written papers in the past - you have to demonstrate your skill on the day of the test.

Candidates are not successful in the PQE for numerous reasons, including the following:

  • Using poor examples that fail to showcase their abilities
  • Failure to provide enough details that would make the essays clear and easier to understand
  • Failure to stay on topic (i.e. rambling, too much detail, or irrelevant information)
  • Failure to provide all information asked for in the essay questions (i.e. did not completely answer the questions)
  • Lacks adequate written communication skills (i.e. English usage, grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.)
  • Failure to write legibly

 If you feel that you may need improvement in your written communication skills, we encourage you to take steps to improve in this area. You may want to consider taking a college course in business English and/or essay writing.

Tips for the test day

  • Read the question carefully and answer the question as it is asked.

  • When you write your essays, consider a thoughtful answer to the question before you begin writing.

  • Think about problems you have confronted in the past and how you approached them. Why did you do what you did? Would you do it again?

  • Officers must be able to assume different responsibilities at appropriate times and as circumstances change, often during a single work shift or even during a single event. Plan to talk about your past behavior and how it has prepared you to adapt to this behavioral flexibility.

  • Save time to review your essays and correct any careless grammatical or spelling errors you can find. It's not enough to know proper grammar and how to spell - you have to demonstrate your knowledge on test day. Don't be overconfident - check your work.