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Police Officer Qualifications

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age at the time of application. The minimum age of a Police Officer with the Sacramento Police Department is 21 years. Police Recruits who are not yet 21 years old when they graduate the Police Academy will become a Community Service Officer until they meet the minimum requirements of Police Officer.

Applicants must have 60 semester units, or 90 quarter units, from an accredited college or university, to become a Police Officer with the Sacramento Police Department. Those who attend the Sacramento Police Academy will earn 26 semester units during their training, meaning they will only need 34 additional semester units. Police Recruits who do not have the necessary college units when they graduate the Police Academy will become a Community Service Officer until they meet the minimum requirements of Police Officer.

Education requirements are waived for applicants who have at least four (4) years of active duty service in the United States Armed Forces and received an honorable discharge.


The City of Sacramento requires that a police officer candidate be a United States citizen, or that a non-citizen be a permanent resident alien who, in accordance with requirements of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), is eligible and has applied for citizenship.

Non-citizen applicants are required to prove that USCIS accepted the application for citizenship upon acceptance to the SPD Backgrounds unit.

California State law requires that citizenship be granted within three years of the application for citizenship.

The Sacramento Police Department allows officers to display tattoos and branding that are not considered inappropriate, and are not displayed on the face, hands or neck. Additional detail on the body marking policy can be found in General Order 430.02.
There is no requirement for Sacramento Police Department employees to live within a certain distance of the city, however a $10,000 residency incentive is available for employees who purchase a house within city limits. Some specialty units and on-call assignments may require employees be able to respond to the city within certain time limits.
Criminal History
The Sacramento Police Department requires that all officers, and employees who have access to confidential records be free from felony convictions. Misdemeanor and infraction convictions are handle on a case-by-case basis. Convictions for crimes that indicate a lack of moral or ethical standing will be grounds for immediate disqualification. For additional information please consider this list of attributes expected of police officers.
Drug Use
Instances of drug use are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Depending upon the substance, circumstances, frequency, and amount of time elapsed since the last use, applicants may be considered for employment. As a general rule those interested in a career in law enforcement should avoid using prohibited substances, or stop use as early as possible.