10 Step Selection Process
The selection process for the State of Iowa requires successfully completing ALL of the 10 phases shown below, including attending and graduating from the 18-week Basic Training Academy. Failing any step will result in elimination from the process. Applicants are encouraged to produce the best test scores during each of the test phases so it allows the greatest opportunity for a Conditional Offer and Final Offer of Employment.
- 1. Minimum Qualification Screening:
Applicants are required to determine from the list of minimum hiring qualifications whether or not they believe they are suitable for hire as a peace officer with the State of Iowa. Computerized record files (driver license and criminal history) will be searched on each applicant before testing. All applicants meeting the minimum qualifications initial screening will be invited to complete the physical fitness assessment.
- 2. Physical Fitness Assessment:
The physical fitness assessment consists of sit-ups, push-ups, sit and reach (flexibility), and a 1.5 mile run. Time and repetitions vary depending on the age and sex of the applicant. Applicants must score a minimum of one (1) point in each of the four (4) exercises and a total of eight (8) points to pass. The maximum number of points is sixteen (16). Applicants passing the physical fitness assessment will advance to the written exam.
SIT AND REACH TEST
This is a measure of the flexibility of the lower back and upper leg area. It is an important area of performing police tasks involving range of motion and is important in minimizing lower back problems. The test involves stretching out to touch the toes or beyond with extended arms from a sitting position. The score is in inches reached on a yard stick fastened to an apparatus with 15 inches being at the toes and the one inch mark closest the body. Knees must be locked and the hands together as the applicant stretches down the measuring apparatus.
ONE MINUTE SIT UP TEST
This is a measure of the muscular endurance of the abdominal muscles. It is an important area of performing police tasks that may involve the use of force and is an important area for maintaining good posture and minimizing lower back problems. The score is in number of bent leg sit ups performed in one (1) minute. Hands must remain on or about the head. While in the up position, elbows should touch the knees or upper portion of the thigh. When in the down position, the back must come down so that shoulder blades touch the floor. Legs may be held for assistance.
ONE MINUTE PUSH UP TEST
This test requires applicants to push their own weight off the floor. This measures the amount of force the upper body can generate and is an important area of performing police tasks requiring upper body strength. The score is calculated by the number of push-ups performed in one minute. The chest must come down and touch a fist placed under the applicant's chest, and then the arms must go to full extension to complete the push up. Women will not be allowed to complete this test with their knees on the ground unless they are in excess of forty-nine (49) years of age.
1.5 MILE RUN
This is a timed run to measure the heart and vascular system's capability to transport oxygen. It is an important area of performing police tasks involving stamina and endurance and to minimize the risk of cardiovascular problems. The score is in minutes and seconds.
- 3. Written Exam (POST):
Each applicant must pass the National Police Officer Selection Test (POST). The POST is a timed aptitude test divided into four sections. The specific sections are: arithmetic, reading comprehension, grammar/spelling/punctuation, and incident report writing. Applicants must score at least 70% on each of the four sections of the test, and the overall average must be at least 75%. A POST study guide is available for review at all Iowa State Patrol district offices. In addition, preparatory materials and sample exams are available online at multiple websites. Applicants are strongly encouraged to study and take sample exams in preparation for the POST exam.
After successful completion of the physical fitness assessment and the written exam, applicants will receive a score to determine eligibility for advancement to the next test phase; the oral board interview. The total score is based upon the physical fitness assessment total points, average score from the POST exam, and veteran’s points if applicable. Applicants are required to have a minimum of 8 points on the physical fitness assessment and 75 points on the POST. exam. Applicants are required to have a minimum of 85 total points to advance to the oral board interview. There is no re-test option for the POST Exam.
Veteran’s points are awarded in accordance with Iowa law. For additional information about veteran’s points, please view FAQ #12.
Example: Applicant J. Smith
Physical Fitness Assessment = 8 points
Written Exam Average 75% = 75 points
Veteran's Points = 5 points
Total Points = 88 points
Applicant Smith advances to Oral Board Interview.
Example: Applicant J. Doe
Physical Fitness Assessment = 8 points
Written Exam Average 75% =75 points
Veteran's Points = 0 points
Total Points = 83 points
Applicant Doe does not advance to Oral Board Interview.
The Department of Public Safety’s Basic Training Academy is approved by the state of Iowa for G.I. Bill benefits under the on-the-job-training program. This benefit is extended to National Guard members and Reservists also. For additional information, please contact the Veterans Affairs Office at one of the following phone numbers: 800.838.4692 or 515.242.5331.
- 4. Oral Board Interview:
Each applicant advancing to the oral board interview phase will be interviewed and evaluated by three employees within the Department. The average of the combined scores becomes the applicant’s final oral board interview score. Professional business attire is encouraged (i.e. business suit, tie and dress shoes).
Conditional Offer of Employment: After careful review and consideration of applicant materials, test scores and oral board interviews, selected applicants are given a "Conditional Offer of Employment". These applicants are invited to continue in the selection process and complete the remaining test phases.
- 5. Polygraph Evaluation:
During the polygraph evaluation, information gathered from all applicant materials and oral board responses will be verified. Emphasis is placed on illegal drug use/abuse, detected and undetected criminal conduct, and misrepresentation of information given during the previous test phases.
- 6. Psychological Evaluation:
Applicants are required to complete the MMPI (Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory). The MMPI consists of 567 true/false questions. Applicants are scheduled to be interviewed by the Department’s psychologist and their MMPI is scored and evaluated. The psychologist will make a hiring recommendation based on the results of the MMPI and the interview.
- 7. Medical Examination:
A medical examination is scheduled to determine if the applicant is physically able to perform the duties of a law enforcement officer. A drug screening is conducted during the medical examination phase.
- 8. Background Investigation:
In the last phase of the process, a careful review of the applicant’s materials, test results, oral board interview, polygraph evaluation, psychological evaluation, and medical examination is conducted by the Divisions. The Divisions will select applicants to advance to the Background Investigation phase. During the Background Investigation, an applicant’s references, employers, schools, co-workers, and other sources are contacted and interviewed. Information obtained in the Background Investigation may be compared with information provided by the applicant. Any false or misleading information provided by the applicant may disqualify the applicant.
- 9. Final Offers:
At the conclusion of all phases of the selection process, final offers of employment may be extended to selected applicants. The Division Directors’ final recommendations, based on the applicant’s qualifications and merit as well as the availability of positions, are made to the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety who then makes the final decision. Any applicant not selected for hire is notified in writing at the conclusion of the selection process. All unsuccessful applicants are encouraged to reapply as long as they meet the minimum qualification standards.
- 10. Basic Training Academy:
The Basic Training Academy is conducted at the Camp Dodge military facility located in Johnston, Iowa and runs Monday through Friday.
Subjects studied during the Academy include such topics as laws of arrest, search and seizure, defensive tactics, arrest techniques, precision driving, firearms, emergency management services, criminal law, physical fitness and motor vehicle law.
At the Academy, training materials, meals, and lodging are furnished at no cost to the recruits during the week. The Academy runs from 8:00 a.m. Monday morning until approximately 5:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon. Recruits are required to stay on complex Monday through Friday but may go home on the weekends. Recruits receive a salary during Academy training.