Entry Level Process

Entry Level

The City of Mount Vernon has contracted with Public Safety Testing to conduct the written and physical portion of the examination, minimum requirements for the position of police officer are:

  • United States Citizen
  • High School Diploma or GED
  • 90 quarter or 60 semester hours from an accredited institution (no waivers / substitutes are allowed)
  • 21 years old at time of examination
  • Valid Washington State Driver's License
  • No domestic violence history or convictions
  • No felony convictions


If the minimum requirements are met, interested applicants should go to the Public Safety Testing website or telephone toll-free (800) 866-HIRE-911 for testing dates and times. Tests will be offered monthly at various locations around the state. Tests are not conducted online.

Applicants must apply online for this agency and will access information about the testing procedure. Scores for applicants that pass both the written and physical agility examinations will be sent to the Civil Service Examiner for further processing. This may include inviting candidates to an oral board interview.

Oral Board Interview

The Oral Board Panel is made up of four Mount Vernon officers. The administrative services lieutenant facilitates the Oral Board Interview. By asking both warm-up and scenario-based questions the panel evaluates a candidate's potential to do the job based on his/her presentation communication skills, judgment, and problem-solving ability.

Eligibility List

The Civil Service Commission creates an eligibility list based on the results of the written exam and oral board interview. The chief of police and administrative services lieutenant review the eligibility list and, based on the scores, determine the number of applicants who will be scheduled for a polygraph examination.

Polygraph Examination

The polygraph examination is done at the Mount Vernon Police Department. The use of the polygraph will determine that the candidates' character and integrity are above reproach. Applicants must pass the polygraph exam to continue in the hiring process.

Background Investigation

A thorough background investigation is conducted on each eligible candidate. Contacts include relatives, neighbors, references, and current and past employers. Credit checks, criminal history reports, school transcripts, and copies of driving records are requested. The background investigation is a critical part of the hiring process, and assists in determining which applicants meet the high standards required for employment with the Mount Vernon Police Department.

Conditional Offer of Employment

Per Civil Service Rule VIII.C.1. (d)… "The ten names highest on the applicable eligibility list who remain qualified following the review of the above-referenced examination results shall be placed on a certified eligibility list. The commission shall certify ten names for any one vacancy, and if more than one vacancy is to be filled, the name of one additional eligible for each additional vacancy shall be certified."

One or more of the top three applicant(s) are invited in individually for an administrative interview with the chief of police and three Lieutenants. Upon completion of the interview, the command staff evaluates the applicant and, if the applicant meets all requirements, he/she is given a conditional offer of employment. The applicant is then scheduled for a psychological examination and a medical examination. If both exams are passed the applicant is placed in a pool of eligible candidates for hire.

Psychological Testing & Evaluation

The department contracts for this service. A psychologist administers a series of written tests, which evaluates the applicant's personality traits (aggressiveness, flexibility, independence, maturity, etc.). The psychologist then provides the chief of police with a written evaluation and recommendation.

Medical Examination

The applicant is then scheduled for a medical examination and drug screening to confirm he/she meets the essential functions for the job.


The applicant is sworn in by the mayor of the City of Mount Vernon. Family members and department employees are invited to attend the short ceremony.

Within a few weeks of being hired, the officer is sent to the Basic Law Enforcement Academy at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center in Seattle for approximately 18 weeks. When the officer returns, he/she is assigned an experienced field training officer (FTO). The field training period is 12 to 14 weeks in length. After successfully passing FTO training, the officer is assigned to the Patrol Division.

Residency Requirement

The collective bargaining agreement requires that the Mount Vernon police officers live within a forty-five minute travel time from the police campus at time of completing probation.