Police Officer Trainee

Santa Monica, CA
City of Santa Monica

Salary: $86,532.00 – $106,824.00 Annually

Closing Date: 4/18/2024 5:30 PM Pacific

Job Summary

Join Santa Monica PD – We Hire for Character & Train for Skill

Are you ready to embark on an exciting journey towards a rewarding career in law enforcement? The Santa Monica Police Department is actively seeking passionate and dedicated individuals to join our team as Police Officer Trainees. We believe in hiring for character and training for skill. Join us, and you’ll not only be part of a community-focused force but also receive great pay and benefits.

This non-sworn classification participates in a formal academic and physical police training program and is expected to successfully complete the basic training courses as prescribed by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.). During the 22-weeks academy, the salary is $7,211 per month. Upon successful completion of the academy, the candidate will advance to the classification of Police Officer and will serve a one-year probationary period.

Police Officer – Annual Salary
Step 1: $109,392
Step 2: $114,792
Step 3: $121,548
Step 4: $128,292
Step 5: $135,048

Visit Santa Monica Police Department’s website for more
Information: https://www.santamonica.gov/process-explainers/how-to-become-a-police-officer

Representative Duties

Participates in a rigorous academic and physical training program mandated by P.O.S.T.

Participates in firearm training and defensive tactics.

Learns basic principles of patrol procedures and criminal investigation.

Drives a variety of police vehicles under various training conditions.

Accompanies sworn police officers on ride-alongs as an observer.

Analyzes recurring patrol and specialized problems/hazards in collaboration with supervisors, peers, and service clientele. Participates in developing long-term resolutions to law enforcement related problems and issues.

Responds to multiple calls, major traffic accidents, and other emergencies.

Completes reports in a timely manner.

Performs a variety of clerical support duties including, but not limited to, typing, filing, photocopying, and assisting the public on the telephone or in person.

Performs other duties, as assigned.



Knowledge of:

Grammar and composition
Effective customer service techniques

Ability to:

Follow written and oral instructions
Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing
Respond to inquiries from the public in a tactful manner
Be sensitive to issues impacting the quality of life of the residents, guests, and visitors to the City
Provide effective customer service
Establish and maintain effective and cooperative working relationships with City employees and the general public
Interact and communicate tactfully and effectively with culturally diverse populations

Skill in:

Reading, writing, and communicating at an appropriate level
Dealing with a variety of culturally sensitive issues


Minimum Qualifications:

Education: Graduation from high school or the equivalent.

Experience: Military experience and/or related public contact experience is desirable.

Licenses and Certificates:

Possession of a valid Class C driver license. Must be able to obtain a regular Basic California P.O.S.T. Certificate within 18 months from date of hire.

Other Requirements:

Police Officer Trainees must be 20 years and 6 months of age at time of appointment.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens who are eligible for and have applied for U.S. citizenship. Non-citizens must obtain citizenship within three (3) years from date of application.

Upon hire, police officers must be non-users of tobacco products.

Applicants for Police Officer Trainee must pass a background investigation and must not have been convicted of a misdemeanor involving domestic violence or a felony.

Effective May 27, 2021, all incoming Santa Monica Police Officer Trainees must maintain California residency and live within a 95-mile radius from the Santa Monica Police Department.

Supplemental Information

HOW TO APPLY: All applicants will be reviewed and only those candidates determined to be most qualified for the position on the basis of experience, training and education, as submitted, will be invited to participate further in the selection process. Resumes, CVs and cover letters are not reviewed as part of the application screening process.

Applicants selected to participate in the Police Department’s testing process will partake in the following:

  • Written Examination: to measure job-related knowledge and abilities. (Qualifying);
  • Performance Test: to evaluate ability to physically perform the duties of position (Qualifying);
  • Oral Interview: to evaluate training, experience, and personal qualifications. (100%);
  • Psychological Examination: Candidates will be evaluated for their suitability for employment as a Santa Monica Police Officer.

BACKGROUND INVESTIGATIONS: Candidates who have successfully completed all prior phases of the selection process will be subject to a thorough background investigation. The investigation is used to determine a candidate’s moral character and suitability for employment in law enforcement. The investigation shall include, but is not limited to, the following checks: criminal record, polygraph, driving history, credit history, military record, previous employer(s), and references.

Medical Examination: Prior to appointment, candidates must successfully complete a thorough medical examination, including a drug screen, to determine if they meet the City’s medical standards for the position of Police Officer.


SALARY RANGE: Composed of 5 steps—Step 1 through Step 5. Each step represents an increase of approximately 5% per year during the first five years of service.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: Choice of 12 CalPERS medical plans. City pays 89% of medical insurance premium for employee and eligible dependents. Employee contributes 11% toward premium and admin fees.

CASH-IN-LIEU: Employees who elect to waive medical coverage due to spouse’s medical coverage are entitled to a payment equal to the cost of the current employee only premium rate under the PORAC plan per month. Payment is provided bi-weekly.

DENTAL INSURANCE: An HMO and PPO plan are available. Premiums fully paid by the city for employee and eligible dependents.

VISION INSURANCE: One plan available. Premiums fully paid by the city for employee and eligible dependents.

FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT: Employees may elect to contribute pre-tax dollars towards a Flexible Spending Account to pay for qualifying health and dependent care.

EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: Premiums fully paid by the city for employee and household members.

CalPERS RETIREMENT: Retirement formula and employee contributions are based on appointment date and membership status with CalPERS. City employees are vested after 5 years and do not participate in Social Security. Employees pay a 1.45% contribution towards Medicare.

SUPPLEMENTAL RETIREMENT PLAN: 457(b) plan is available for voluntary participation.

PREMIUM REIMBURSEMENT PLAN: The City makes a monthly contribution of $142 into a retiree trust to allow eligible separated employees to reimburse healthcare premiums. Employees contribute $257 monthly.

VACATION: 60 hours following the completion of the first six months of continuous service. Thereafter, up to and including five completed years of continuous service, 10 hours for each completed calendar month of service.

  • Accrued vacation leave can be cashed out based on years of service on two occasions each calendar year.

SICK LEAVE: One sick leave day per month (96 hours per year).

  • Sick leave accrued but not used can be cashed out at the end of the fiscal year based on the formula outlined in the POA MOU.

SICK LEAVE BONUS: Employees (except probationary Police Officers) receive a $250 bonus if sick leave usage in a contract year is less than the average sick leave usage for all employees covered in the POA MOU (except probationary Police Officers).

HOLIDAYS: 14 holidays per year. Since employees are required to work holidays, each employee shall be paid additional compensation equal to 10 hours at employee’s regular rate, paid on a quarterly basis each fiscal year.


  • City pays 6% of the applicable base salary after attainment of an Intermediate Certificate from the State Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) or attainment of an AA or AS degree, or the equivalent in terms of numbers of units and courses taken, in a field that is relevant to the profession of a sworn law enforcement officer from an accredited college or university.
  • City pays 12.8% of the applicable base salary after attainment of an Advanced Certificate from POST or attainment of a Bachelor’s degree in a field that is relevant to the profession of a sworn law enforcement officer from an accredited college or university.

WELLNESS HOUR: Employees are entitled to one wellness period (60 minutes) during their regularly scheduled work week.

TUITION REIMBURSEMENT: Full-time employees who have passed probation will be reimbursed for the cost of tuition and study materials for career improvement or job enhancement courses that meet the policy guidelines.

  • The maximum amount shall not exceed $2500 per fiscal year.

UNIFORM ALLOWANCE: Employees shall receive a bi-weekly uniform maintenance allowance of $46.15.

BILINGUAL SKILL PAY: Qualified employees who meet all criteria shall receive a bilingual skill pay of $100 per month. An employee who qualifies for bilingual pay because of Spanish language skills shall receive an additional $50 per month, for a total of $150 per month.

LONGIVITY PAY: Each employee shall receive additional monthly compensation at rates based on years of continuous service.

Diversity & Inclusion Statement

The City of Santa Monica is a progressive, inclusive and culturally-rich community. As leaders in public service, we strive to be an employer of choice by attracting and retaining a highly-talented workforce where people of diverse races, religions, cultures and lifestyles thrive. Our goal is to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where our staff are empowered to perform at their highest level and where their differences make a positive impact.

The City is an equal opportunity employer and strives to build balanced teams from all walks of life without regard to race, color ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, ancestry, disability, genetic information, veteran status, or any other status protected under federal, state and/or local law. We aim to create a workplace that celebrates and embraces the diversity of our employees. Join us!

Special assistance with the application and examination process is available, upon request, for persons with disabilities. Call (310) 458-8245, TDD (310) 458-8696 (Hearing Impaired Only).

Please note the request for reasonable accommodations must be made to Human Resources at least three work days prior to the examination.