Police Departments Police Test Study Guide

Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department | From Application to Police Academy.

Jun 12th, 2020
los angeles county sheriffs department

Who are LASD?

LASD – or Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department – is one of the largest police departments throughout the United States. To date, there are well over 20,000 employees – all of whom are committed to the department’s motto: “A Tradition of Service” to the 10 million people who reside within its remit.

Shortly, we will review some of the must-know details about how to become a deputy officer in LASD – including what subjects are covered on the police test and how you need to be prepared. First, though, let’s take a few seconds to learn more about the department.

Let’s start with its history.

Brief History of LASD

As well as being one of the largest departments in the United States, LASD is also one of the oldest – having been formed as early as 1850. Of course, then it wasn’t known as LASD. It was called the Los Angeles Rangers before going on to become known as the Los Angeles City Guards.

Unfortunately, neither police force was very good at what they did – the forces becoming corrupted by a myriad of vices such as gambling and violence. With time, though, LASD became more structured and disciplined, with a standardized training program to produce the very best deputies to oversee the manifold duties of the department.

Today, the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department is recognized – second to NYPD – as one of the more elite forces within the country. In part, that’s why competition for places within the LASD academy remains high, and it’s why you – as a prospective officer within the force – need to be prepared; very prepared.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements often vary from time to time. However, the standard entry requirements for a deputy sheriff trainee position at the department are as follows:

  • Age: 19 and a half years at the time of application filing, and who must be at least 20 years old at the time of hire.
  • Citizenship: Applicants must be US citizens or a permanent resident alien who is eligible for citizenship and has since applied for it.
  • Education: US high school graduation or academic equivalents, such as having passed the GED, TASC, HiSET, and CHSPE. California Government Code Section 1031(e) sets out validated and certified high schools in the region.
  • License: Class C or above driver’s license. At the time of filing, the driver’s license must not have expired. Candidates applying out-of-state must acquire a California class C license prior to hire. It’s worth noting that if your driver’s license shows three violations within the past 12-months, you will not be accepted.
  • Physical requirements: good general health and fitness standard and who does not have underlying health conditions that may impact the performance of your daily policing duties. Candidates are expected to demonstrate high vision standards too – such as 70/20, correctable to 20/30 in both eyes. Candidates must not have color vision damage either. The only exception is mild color hue impairment.

There will also be auditory standards too – to ensure you have appropriate hearing quality for the duties you are expected to undertake.

How to Join LASD

To pass the Los Angeles County Sheriffs department test and advance to the academy, candidates must demonstrate core knowledge of the following subject areas:

  • Police vocabulary
  • Spelling and grammar
  • Logical reasoning – both inductive and deductive
  • Interpretation of data
  • Written skills
  • Reading comprehension

Candidates must achieve a minimum score of 70 percent. Candidates who fail the police test can retake the exam once every 3-months.

Validated Physical Abilities Test (VPAT)

To pass the LASD police exam and make it to the academy, candidates must demonstrate that they possess the physical aptitude that the role demands. LASD frequently puts out vacancy positions and stresses the physical demands of the role – often stating that the role involves regular heavy lifting, working with irregular surfaces and may occasionally involve “extraordinary physical activity”.

These demands are high – and the VPAT, the validated physical abilities test, is used to filter through the most physically optimum candidates.

The VPAT tests four basic physical competencies:

  • Push-ups
  • 75-yard run
  • Sit-ups
  • 20-meter shuttle run test (also known as a “beep test”)

To succeed, candidates must prepare many weeks, if not months, in advance, depending on your current physical status. Furthermore, do consider the impact that optimum nutrition plays in this process – and how it enhances and catalyzes your long-term physical goals.

LASD offer pre-academy workouts to assist you along the way. You are also permitted to take the VPAT as many times as you wish within a 12-month window from the date of your initial appointment.

The Structured Interview (SI)

The SI – or structured interview – is an important part of the hiring process for the Los Angeles County Sheriffs department test.

This interview involves assessing the candidate along with the following subject areas:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving capacity
  • Awareness of and involvement within the community
  • Interpersonal skills and/or teamwork skills
  • Candidates’ experience to date; both personal and professional
  • Communication skills

Passing the police interview exam is one of the hardest parts of the police test. It takes time and preparation and you need to think hard about the answers that you provide. The oral board panel has heard it all before.

To stand out, you need to provide exceptional answers that make you stand out among the competition.

Pre-Investigative Questionnaire

Candidates will be asked to complete a pre-investigative questionnaire. This will be completed on the very day of your background intake appointment.

The questionnaire is simple – and asks questions about past activity that may disqualify you from becoming a police officer.

This includes questions on things such as:

  • Narcotic use
  • Substance abuse
  • Theft
  • Previous convictions – including felonies
  • Serious traffic offenses – including but not limited to DUIs
  • Employment history – including dismissal
  • Credit history – including poor credit status
  • Active probation

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list – but it does give you a solid idea of what to expect during this phase of the police application process.

Personal History Statement

The PHS – or personal history statement – is mandated to be completed by P.O.S.T.

E-hire is the name of the department’s case management system. Candidates will receive an email where they are required to upload specific documents – such as driver’s license or birth certificates – to the system and bring any original documents to the background intake appointment.

During that appointment, both documents will be verified and, if satisfied, the candidate will be returned their original documents.

Background Investigation

Background investigations are a fundamental part of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department test application process.

It may involve one or more of the following tests:

  • Polygraph exam
  • Fingerprint search – known as a Live Scan
  • Agency checks
  • Employment verifications
  • Residence verification
  • Discrepancy interviews

If successful, candidates will be pre-approved for selection to the academy. However, this selection is conditional on the candidate passing the following two tests:

  • Psychological test: a 4-hour test which, upon completion, the candidate meets with a qualified psychologist for evaluation.
  • Medical test: medical assessment of your physical wellbeing. Basic tests will be taken to ensure you meet the required physical standards.

Candidates who pass both these tests will be invited to attend the police academy.

Police Academy Training

Details about the police academy training at LASD include:

  • Duration: 22-weeks
  • Schedule: Monday-to-Friday; some weekends may also involve classes. Days are typically 8 hours and 30 minutes long.
  • New recruits are expected to study and prepare outside of these hours.

Subjects and disciplines covered during the 22-week training program include:

  • Law and criminology
  • Incident report writing
  • Radio operations
  • Medical skills – such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first-aid
  • Techniques – defense strategies, firearm use, baton use, handcuffing and effective searching techniques
  • Vehicle operations
  • Physical training
  • Knowledge of the police force and strategies implemented

Training at the academy is accompanied by a variety of testing and exam methods – including MCQs, role play exams, physical ability tests, and work sample exams.

Starting Your New Career!

At this point, having passed all criteria – you have now become a qualified deputy officer in Los Angeles County Sheriffs department.

At the outset, you will still be considered a trainee. That said, candidates can expect a salary range of between $71,000 to $88,000. You will have to swear an oath of fealty to the department and commit to serving the department with honesty and integrity – protecting life and property and handling crime with the utmost in professional capability.

For sure, becoming a deputy within LASD is challenging. With enough hard work and dedication and commitment on your side, there is no reason why you will not be able to join this world-renowned police force.

Passing the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department test is not easy. Learn more about how you can pass the LASD exam on your first attempt.


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