Police Officer Candidate Selection Process
The selection process for police officer includes ten phases. Failing any step will result in elimination from the process. Applicants should work to produce their best test scores during each selection phase. This will allow the greatest opportunity for a Conditional Offer and Final Offer of Employment.
1. Minimum Qualifications Screening:
Applicants are required to determine from the list of minimum hiring qualifications whether or not they believe they are suitable for hire as an Ames police officer. Computerized record files (driver’s license and criminal history) will be searched on each applicant prior to testing. All applicants meeting the minimum qualifications screening will be invited to test. Tip- Be sure your online application is complete.
2. Physical Fitness Assessment:
The physical fitness assessment consists of sit-ups, push-ups, a stretch & reach test (flexibility), and a 1.5 mile run. Time and repetitions vary depending on the age and sex of the applicant. We encourage you to review the full physical fitness assessment standards. Scores received from another agency may be used if completed within 6 month from the date of testing. Candidates passing the physical fitness assessment will advance to the written exam on the same day. Tip- Prepare for the fitness test by practicing each component to ensure you can meet the required standard.
3. Written Exam (POST):
Each candidate must pass the Police Officer Selection Test (POST). The POST is a timed basic skills test divided into four sections. The specific sections are: basic arithmetic, reading comprehension, grammar/spelling/punctuation, and writing skills. Candidates cannot score less than 70% on any of the four sections of the test and the overall average must be 80% or greater. Scores received from another agency POST may be used if completed within the previous 10 months and approved by Stanard & Associates.
Practice tests can be found here:
After successfully completing the physical fitness assessment and written exam, candidates will be invited to participate in the oral board interview.
4. Oral Board Interview:
Each candidate advancing to the oral board interview phase will be interviewed and evaluated by a panel. The average of the combined scores becomes the candidate's final interview score. Those scoring 70% or higher will be certified to the civil service list.
Veteran's Points are awarded in accordance with Iowa law. Five points will be awarded to candidates who successfully pass the scored civil service phase of the selection process, the oral board interview, and who attach their DD214.
Candidates certified to the list may be invited to discuss their candidacy with command staff. This is also a time to learn more about the Ames Police Department.
Conditional Offer of Employment
After careful review and consideration of applicant materials, test scores, oral board interviews, etc., selected candidates are given a "Conditional Offer of Employment." These candidates are invited to continue in the selection process and complete the remaining test phases.
5. Background Investigation:
Selected candidates will advance to the Background Investigation phase. During the Background, a candidate’s references, employers, schools, co-workers, and other sources are contacted and interviewed by an investigator.
6. Polygraph Evaluation:
During the polygraph evaluation information on all candidate materials and oral board responses will be verified. Emphasis is placed on illegal drug use/abuse, detected and undetected criminal conduct, and misrepresentation of information given during the previous test phases.
7. Psychological Evaluation:
Candidates are required to complete the MMPI (Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory). The MMPI consists of 567 true/false questions. Candidates are scheduled with a psychologist where the MMPI is scored and evaluated. The psychologist will make a hiring recommendation based on the results of the MMPI and an interview.
8. Medical Examination:
A medical examination is scheduled with an occupational medicine physician. The physician will determine if the candidate is physically able to perform the duties of a law enforcement officer.
9. Final Offers:
Final offers of employment are extended to candidates at the conclusion of the selection process. The final selections are based on merit as well as availability of positions. More information on the City of Ames’ Employment Standards and the merit principle can be found by clicking here.
10. Iowa Law Enforcement Academy:
Once a candidate has accepted the final offer they must pass the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) to become a fully certified peace officer. ILEA is conducted at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa and runs Monday through Friday. Officers are dismissed over the weekends. Officers must complete ILEA and achieve certification within one year of appointment.