Understand the Process

The Hiring Process

Prior to appointment, all candidates must successfully complete a background investigation, polygraph examination, psychological evaluation, Chief’s interview, meet the current Police Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) medical standard for peace officers, and a drug & alcohol screening test. Candidates must meet the department’s pre-employment policy regarding illegal use or possession of drugs. The City reserves the right to use alternate testing procedures if deemed necessary. Police Recruits have a probationary period of eighteen (18) months. City communication regarding the selection process will be via e-mail. Please ensure that you have access to the e-mail address on your application. The finalist interview/assessment will be held with the City of Salinas.


Candidates must pass ONE of the below written examinations:

  • PELLETB: Complete the California P.O.S.T. Reading & Writing Test (PELLETB). Pass Poiont is a T-Score of 48 or higher. (Results valid for 1 year.)  For more information or to register go to:  www.theacademy.ca.gov/tests OR
  • National Testing Network (NTN): Complete the National Testing Network Test (NTN). Pass Point scores are 65% Video, 70% Reading, and 70% Writing. (Results valid for 1 year.)  For more information or the register go to: https://www.nationaltestingnetwork.com/publicsafetyjobs

Complete the California P.O.S.T. Work Sample Test Battery (WSTB). Pass Point is a score of 320 or higher. Also included is a 1.5-mile run. Please inform South Bay Regional Public Safgety Training Consortium staff that you will be applying for the City of Salinas to allow extra time. With the extra time, you sitll must complete the 1.5-mile run within 16 minutes or less. (Results valid for 1 year.)

The Work Sample Test Battery (WSTB) consists of:

  • 99 yard obstacle course
  • 32 foot body drag (165 lbs.)
  • 6 foot chain link fence climb
  • 6 foot solid wall climb
  • 500 yard sprint
  • 1.5 Mile Run 

We accept California P.O.S.T. "T-Scores",1.5-mile run,and "WSTB" results from other aganices, if taken within the last year of when you submit your SPD application.

Once all required materials have been received and a fully completed application has been completed via CalOpps, all qualified applicants will receive a notification by email inviting them to the oral board exam.

Recruitment/testing questions can be addressed to Maria Avila at (831) 758-7231 or email. For specific law enforcement questions, contact Sergeant Kim Robinson at (831)758-7120 or email, or Officer Todd Kessler at (831) 758-7122 or email.

Background Check

Every peace officer candidate is the subject of a thorough background investigation to verify good moral character and the absence of past behavior indicative of unsuitability to perform the duties of a peace officer.

The following categories are thoroughly reviewed in every peace officer candidate’s background investigation:

  • Integrity
  • Impulse Control/Attention to Safety
  • Substance Abuse and Other Risk-Taking Behavior
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Confronting and Overcoming Problems
  • Obstacles and Adversity
  • Conscientiousness
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Decision-Making and Judgment
  • Learning Ability
  • Communication Skills

The Academy and Field Training

The Academy
The Academy is a full-time, 888-hour intensive course that satisfies the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) minimum training requirements for California entry-level peace officers. The course typically meets Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., is approximately six months in duration, and is designed for recruits who can dedicate their full attention and efforts towards completing the program. The full-time Intensive Academy requires a strong commitment by the recruits and their families. Upon completion, the recruit will be prepared to begin the field-training program.

The Basic Police Academy course includes fundamental principles, procedures, and techniques of law enforcement, including: Criminal Law, Patrol Procedures, Cultural Diversity, Investigative Procedures, Report Writing, Defensive Tactics, Firearms, Leadership, Ethics, Community Policing, Police Vehicle Operations, Traffic Enforcement, Accident Investigation, Handling Emotional Situations, and First Aid/CPR. The course also includes a challenging physical conditioning requirement that will prepare the recruit for police service.

Field Training
The purpose of the Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTO) is to train new officers so that each is prepared to function as a solo beat officer at the conclusion of their training cycle.

The training cycle consists of 20 weeks of intensive on-the-job training and daily performance evaluations. Training is conducted and staffed by field training officers and sergeants on a 24-hour basis. Field training officers have the dual responsibility of providing police service in their assigned beats, as well as conducting training and evaluations for new officers.

Field training sergeants are responsible for the supervision of all personnel assigned to their teams and for coordinating and supervising the on-the-job training of recruit officers.

Officers are required to meet specific performance standards in 31 performance categories before being certified for solo patrol duty. After completion of the FTO program, each officer is assigned to a patrol team. During this time, the officer is evaluated monthly by their patrol sergeant. As the officers near the completion of their probationary period, each is assigned to a specific team/watch. Officers who have performed at an acceptable level and pass their probationary period are recommended for retention as permanent employees.


Police Recruits are paid $29.59 an hour while attending the Police Academy. Upon successful completion of the academy, incumbents are promoted to the sworn Police Officer classification and earn a starting yearly salary of $82,497, plus full benefits as provided by law and by Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Salinas Police Officers Association (SPOA).

Base Salary
$39.66 ­- $53.15 Hourly
$6,874 ­- $9,213 Monthly
$82,497.00 ­- $110,558.00 Annually

Additional Pays:

  • Bilingual Pay 5% of Base Pay
  • Motorcycle Assignment 5% of Base Pay
  • Canine 5% of Base Pay
  • Investigations 5% of Base Pay
  • CSI 5% of Base Pay
  • FTO 5% of Base Pay
  • Gang Detail 5% of Base Pay
  • Personnel & Training 5% of Base Pay
  • Longevity Up to 8% of Base Pay
  • Night Shift $20.00 Max Shift
  • Uniform Allowance $1,200.00 Max Year
  • Tuition Assistance $500.00 Max Year
  • Fitness/Wellness $1,000.00 Max Year

Biennial Physical
City-­paid Biennial Physical exam every 24 months. Employees 40 & over are eligible every 18 months (eligible twenty­ four months from date of regular hire).

Educational Achievement Pay
P.O.S.T. Intermediate Certificate 3.5%, P.O.S.T. Advanced 3.5% .(For employees at top step)

Annual Leave
Accrued at a rate of 22 days per year for the first five years; 27 days through 10 years, with additional longevity increases.

Flex Leave Benefit
One hundred twenty (120) hours per year. (10 hours accrued monthly)

Twelve days plus one floating day for a total of thirteen per year.

Health Insurance
POA members are covered under PORAC Plan. The City currently pays 100% for health premiums.

Membership in the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) varies on eligibility and current retirement contribution status. Classic Members: Retirement formula 3% @ 55, Member Contribution Rate 10%. New Members: Retirement formula 2.7%@ 57, Member Contribution Rate 50% of normal cost as determined by CalPERS.

For a complete list of benefits and detail, visit www.ci.salinas.ca.us and review the MOU for Police Officers Association. Benefits are subject to change and do not constitute a contract.

Supplemental Questionnaire required


Police Explorers

The Salinas Police Department's Explorer Program, Post #201, began in the 1960's. Lt. Henry Yoneyama, now retired, was one of the first S.P.D. Explorers. The program is supported by the Salinas Police Department, Salinas Police Activities League and the Boy Scouts of America.

To qualify as a Salinas Police Explorer, you must be at least 14 years old and explorers age out on their 21st birthday. You must attend 3-4 meetings or training events consecutively and undergo a thorough background check. You must also maintain good grades if still in high school. Explorers meet the first and third Tuesday of the month from 6:00pm-8:30pm.

Most uniforms, equipment and training is provided. You will gain first-hand knowledge of how a police department functions through its daily and always changing environment. The Explorers regularly participate in events such as the California Rodeo (including parades), the CA International Airshow, Soledad Fiesta Days, Spirit West Coast and Moto GP at Laguna Seca.

Our responsibilities at these events include parking/traffic control, basic security and side by side assistance with members of the Salinas Police Department or other law enforcement agencies.

Every year, the Explorers are treated to a fun trip. In years' past, the Explorers have gone and participated in paintball, skiing at Dodge ridge, Magic Mountain and camping.

The Explorers have participated in competitions involving Explorers from other law enforcement departments. They attend the Central Coast Explorer Competition in Paso Robles, CA. and other competitions that change yearly.

The Explorers also attend a week-long Explorer Academy each year in the San Diego area. This is a basic training Academy specifically for Explorers. They get intense training and instruction similar to what actual police officer recruits would encounter.

AGES: 14-21 years old

SIGN UPS: Sign-ups are held year-round.


Salinas Police Department
222 Lincoln Ave.
(831) 758-7286

Sgt. Stephen Craig



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