Police Departments Police Test Study Guide

Philadelphia Police Department | Agency, History, Police Test!

Nov 10th, 2020
philadelphia police department


Philly PD or PPD, officially known as Philadelphia Police Department, is considered one of the oldest police departments of the country. PPD was formed in 1854 and it is now ranked as the 6th largest non-federal law administrative agency in the U.S.

Let’s explore all the facts and history about PPD you need to know.

As being the oldest and one of the largest police agencies of the country, the department is also known for having the nation’s 4th largest police force. The PPD is responsible for law enforcement within the Philadelphia County and Philadelphia City. 

The department totally operates on the three basic principles of Honor, Service & Integrity. Moreover, the reason that it remains one of the country’s best law enforcement agencies is that:

  • Fights against crime
  • Strictly enforce laws
  • Provide quality life to citizens
  • Create a safe and healthy environment

Philadelphia police department is committed to serve in the PHL Way. PHL stands for Partnership, Humanity and Leadership. The PHL way mirrors the values and commitment of the department towards carrying out their duties with dignity and professionalism.

Recently, the department has introduced a newest crime prevention program/investigation tool, known as Safe Cam. This tool helps deter crime as well as it assists the police department in its overall crime prevention strategy. 

About Philadelphia Police Department

Philadelphia police department (PPD) official motto is “Honor, integrity, service”; a testimony to the ethos of the department and how it wishes to serve its citizens.

As of 2019, the department now hosts one of the largest police forces in the country, with over 6,500+ active police officers on duty and over 800 unsworn personnel.

For 2020, PPD is nourished with an annual budget of $774 million – serving a population of 1.5 million (2019 est.) within an area of 143 square miles. The department’s headquarters located at 750 Race Street.

Danielle M. Outlaw is the current Police Commissioner of PDD.

The department is split into the following 9 bureaus:

  • Administrative Services Bureau
  • Internal Affairs Bureau
  • Support Services Bureau
  • Investigations Bureau
  • Homeland Security Bureau
  • Intelligence Bureau
  • Narcotics Bureau
  • Training Bureau
  • Expressway Patrol Bureau

Since the inception of Philadelphia police department, it has lost over 260 officers in the line of duty.

You can learn more about these units and fallen officers by visiting PPDs website.

Brief History of PPD

In the early years of its formation, the “department” was under the direct control of big names and politicians and used to serve their interests. But later in the 20th century, the department began to broaden out, setting up with constitutional law and democratic norms.

While being on a robust journey of dealing with every type of crime, the department also suffered corruption and issues of. That said, PPD never failed to comply with its values and norms and instead made every possible act to remedy the problems that evolved in the department.

In the 17th century, the English colonial authorities appointed constables for Philadelphia Police Department, which patrolled the then-small formation of what would become a rapidly growing city of the United States.

The Common Council formed a night watch system for policing criminal activity. An officer used to carry a bell and would ring the bell to alert the constable about any developing crime. In the mid-1700s, the council also introduced a Well ordering and regulating the watch board – comprised of wardens that would supervise the night watch and provide sufficient number of lamps in the area.

In 1889, PPD bought over 90 horses to help patrolmen. Later in the early-1900s, this force was buttressed with the automobiles and novel weaponry.

Philadelphia Police Department Test

To succeed at the Philadelphia police department test, candidates are expected to take and pass three core elements: the written exam, physical abilities test, and the oral board examination.

The written test is a broad exam. It tests the applicant’s ability and knowledge of situational judgment, reading comprehension, police report analysis, incident report writing, math, grammar/spelling, police vocabulary, and logic. Candidates are expected to have a robust knowledge of each of these core subjects and to apply it during the exam.

The physical abilities test is a demanding exam that measures an applicant’s upper body strength, endurance, stamina, and agility. The oral board exam is an interview that asks many different types of question – from situational questions that ask what you would do in a specific police situation, to your own personal strengths and weaknesses. Candidates should also be aware of the latest news and statistics surrounding Philadelphia police department.

Only the best candidates make it through to the police academy. Scoring well is not enough, candidates must instead score high. Only the very highest scoring candidates will be asked to enroll in the police academy for further advanced training in the skills and knowledge needed to become an effective law enforcement officer.

The hiring process as Philadelphia police department involves:

  • Filling out the initial application
  • Notification and orientation
  • Written test
  • Physical fitness and agility test
  • Drug screening test
  • PDQ interview
  • Background investigation
  • Medical assessment
  • Psychological assessment
  • Polygraph exam
  • Training program at the academy

Successful applicants who make it through the police test and academy can expect to earn a starting salary of $56,227. Pay increases with experience, roles, and responsibility.

  • Police officer recruit of the academy – $56,227
  • Graduated police officer – $58,662

There are scheduled increases in the salary packages to the current maximum amount of $76,187 annually. Law enforcement officers also receive a range of benefits including healthcare benefits, retirement plans, deferred compensation, and sick/holiday leave.

For almost 30 weeks long you are expected to be under the training of the instructors at the police academy and, at the end of this intense and advanced training, you can become a new recruit to Philadelphia police department.

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