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Police Interview Questions

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  1. Why do you want to work in the law enforcement industry? See answer
  2. What was the professional relationship like with your previous chief of police? See answer
  3. How would you react and handle another officer committing a crime? See answer
  4. What about this particular law enforcement agency has caught your attention? See answer
  5. Writing reports about your day-to-day activities as a police officer is a requirement. How do you plan to keep up with this requirement? See answer
  6. How would you rate your ability to remain calm in stressful situations? What examples can you provide from your previous law enforcement role? See answer
  7. What would you say is your greatest weakness as a police officer? How about your greatest strength? Please provide examples.
  8. What do you do during your personal time to maintain your mental health and wellness as a police officer?
  9. What achievement are you most proud of in your career as a police officer so far?
  10. How would you describe your team-work skills? What examples can you provide from your previous work as a law enforcement officer?
  11. Can you describe the process for collecting and cataloging evidence? Why is it important to log evidence?
  12. You’ve just arrested someone for a crime and are en route to the station when you come across a car accident. What do you do?
  13. What tactics do you use to calm a hostile or distraught suspect? What examples can you provide from your previous experiences as a police officer?
  14. You’re supposed to have the day off, but someone’s partner calls out sick. You’re superior calls and asks you to fill in for them. What do you do?
  15. What is the first thing you do when you arrive at a potential crime scene?
  16. What would you say is a more prevalent form of crime in our area, robbery, or assault?
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6 Police Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Why do you want to work in the law enforcement industry?

A:

Knowing what motivates a candidate is a very good indicator of the kind of employee they will be. If someone responds thoughtlessly or with a trite answer, you can expect their work ethic will be equally vapid. A qualified candidate will offer a well-thought-out and substantial answer that highlights their history with law enforcement.

What to look for in an answer:

  • A meaningful appreciation for law enforcement
  • Law enforcement experience
  • A realistic perspective on what it means to be a cop

Example:

“My admiration for law enforcement began when I was able to observe a police officer save a person from harm’s way when I was in high school. Since then, I’ve volunteered with the police department and now want to turn my passion into a lifelong career.”

Q:

What was the professional relationship like with your previous chief of police?

A:

It’s important to know that this person has respect for their superiors. A qualified candidate knows better than to badmouth their old boss during an interview. An unqualified candidate, however, will go right ahead and say whatever’s on their mind.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Respect for their previous chief
  • A positive attitude towards their previous boss
  • An intelligent and thoughtful response

Example:

“My last chief taught me how important it is to work hard and not give up, even in the face of adversity. I definitely have him to thank for where I am today.”

Q:

How would you react and handle another officer committing a crime?

A:

When it comes to interviewing for an open police officer position, the ethics of each applicant are as important as their skills and experience. An ethics question like this will help you to determine their moral compass, their honesty and how well they would keep the best interests of the department at heart.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to report criminal activity to superiors
  • Respect for following established protocol
  • Readiness to act in the best interest of the department

Example:

“If I had the misfortune of witnessing a crime by another officer, I’d make sure to report the incident to our police chief. I would also make sure to not publicize what happened, safeguarding the reputation of the department.”

Q:

What about this particular law enforcement agency has caught your attention?

A:

By asking this question, you can weed out the qualified applicants who have actually done their research and are serious about working at your agency. A qualified applicant will have done some research and will be able to tell you why your agency is worth their application.

What to look for in an answer:

  • A focus on the agency, not on themselves
  • Awareness of the agency’s mission
  • Knowledge about your agency’s accomplishments in the community

Example:

“This agency has become a leader in community engagement and has one of the best rates of closed cases in the state. I would be honored to be part of this winning team.”

Q:

Writing reports about your day-to-day activities as a police officer is a requirement. How do you plan to keep up with this requirement?

A:

A qualified candidate should have good writing skills and be able to communicate effectively through the written word or at least have the willingness to learn and practice how to do so. This question will give you an idea of where an applicant currently stands with their writing ability and how well they’d be able to fulfill the crucial requirement.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Strong writing skills or honesty about lack thereof
  • Willingness to practice and strengthen writing skills
  • Understanding that writing reports is a major part of policing

Example:

“Although I’ve never considered myself a great writer, I can still write an effective report. I understand that writing will be part of my job as an officer and look forward to improving my skills through practice.”

Q:

How would you rate your ability to remain calm in stressful situations? What examples can you provide from your previous law enforcement role?

A:

Police officers have unpredictable job environments and respond to high-stress situations from car accidents or domestic disputes to armed robberies or even homicides. For this reason, police officers need to have the right personality and methods to handle such situations. This question allows interviewers to gauge a candidate's ability to adapt to different situations while maintaining a rational mindset.

A candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Relevant experiences
  • Leadership capabilities
  • Use of calming techniques

Here is one example of a quality candidate answer:

Example:

"I believe that I have an excellent ability to stay calm in stressful situations. I've responded to domestic disputes, amber alerts and attempted robberies. In each of these situations, witnesses or loved ones are usually distraught and unsure of what to do. By being calm and reassuring, I can usually get them to calm down as well. If I feel myself getting stressed out, I take a few deep breaths allowing me to regroup."

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