City of Columbus

Division of Police

Recruiting Unit



Upcoming Recruiting Events


Police Officer Testing

Make a Difference-Serve your Community
Join a team where everyone has a key role!

2014 Entry Level Police Officer Examination
Apply on-line August 4th through August 22nd



Columbus Police Officer


Contacting the Recruiting Unit

All information on becoming an officer with the Columbus, Ohio Division of Police is contained within this web page.  If you would like to be placed on a mailing list to receive future testing information, please contact the Civil Service Commission at (614) 645-0800 or click here.

Police Officer Examination Information- City of Columbus Civil Service Commission

Minimum Qualifications

1. Completion of the twelfth school grade. Substitution(s): A certificate of high school equivalence (GED) will be accepted in lieu of the educational requirement.
2. Applicants must be at least 20 years old when applying, and at least 21 years old at the time of appointment.  (There is no upper age limit or maximum age restriction.)
3. Possession of a valid motor vehicle operator's license when applying and a valid Ohio motor vehicle operator's license at time of appointment.
4. A citizen of the United States.

In addition, the City of Columbus is looking for police recruits who: (1) are honest, (2) are safe drivers, (3) respect the rights of all individuals, (4) respect the law, (5) have a satisfactory employment history and (6) have demonstrated good judgment.  A background investigation will be conducted of all candidates prior to appointment, including a polygraph examination covering honesty/falsification, family history, employment, military history, traffic, gambling, criminal activity, substance abuse, and credit history.

A complete list of Police Officer Background removal standards may be viewed by clicking here


The Selection Process

The responsibility associated with a law enforcement career is significant; however, there is tremendous benefit and pride in serving and protecting others. Not only will you ensure the safety of citizens, but you will also uphold the law, and ensure that the rights of citizens are preserved. These responsibilities make this profession among the most important in maintaining the integrity of the laws created on the local, state, and federal levels.

The City of Columbus Division of Police has a strong focus on the initial training as well as continuing education of police personnel. The Division of Police dedicates itself to providing the finest service possible to the citizens of Columbus. Since 1999, the Columbus Division of Police has been one of the largest police agencies in the country to be both CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) and ASCLD/LAB (American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation
Board) accredited.

Prior police experience is NOT required, so if you are ready for a rewarding career that will provide life-long skills and continue to be a challenge, please consider this career!

To qualify for the position of Police Officer, you must complete the following steps in the testing, background, and selection process:

YES!! I want to Be A Police Officer!!

The first step in the testing process is to file an application and Abbreviated Background Questionnaire (ABQ) with the Columbus Civil Service Commission for the Police Officer position. The requirements for filing an application are: 1. You must be at least 20 years of age at the time of application and 21 years old in order to be appointed (no maximum age restriction applies); 2. You must have a valid driver’s license; 3. You must have a High school diploma, or GED equivalent; 4. You must be a U. S. citizen. 

Prior police experience is not required.

Please note:  Application-filing periods are announced by the City of Columbus Civil Service Commission on an as-needed basis.  You may contact Civil Service at (614) 645-0800 or online at


Step 2

If your application and ABQ are approved, the Civil Service Commission will notify you of the time and place to report for the examination. The phases of the examination are: Phase I - Multiple Choice; Phase II - Writing Sample; Phase III - Oral Board (BPAD) and Phase IV - Physical Test.  Phases I and II are administered on a pass/fail basis only. Candidates who pass all four phases of the exam will be placed into one of three bands (90, 80, or 70 band) on the eligible list wholly on the basis of their Phase III scores and approved Veteran’s Preference Credit. Information sessions will be offered by Civil Service prior to testing, and we strongly urge you to attend one of these classes. There is no appeals process for the Civil Service test.

Step 3

Beginning with the 90-band candidates, a personal history questionnaire will be provided by the Columbus Division of Police Background Investigation Unit. You will then be required to appear at Police Headquarters for a pre-interview with a background investigator. Pictures, fingerprints, and waivers will be completed to assist in an extensive background investigation.

Step 4

The candidate will be given a polygraph examination to verify the accuracy and completeness of all the information (e.g. Questionnaire, References, and Employment) provided to the Background Investigation Section.

Step 5

The Civil Service Commission will review your entire package to make sure there are no violations of the background removal standards for Civil Service employment with the Division of Police.

Step 6

Your background investigator will conduct a thorough check of your employment history, references, and criminal record and then visit you in your home and speak with your spouse, significant other, or family. This interview usually lasts 2 to 3 hours.

Step 7

Information is compiled concerning your background and polygraph results. This information is sent to the Oral Review Board, which consists of 3 veteran officers. You will be required to interview with this board and questions will be asked regarding your background investigation.

Step 8

Oral Review Board recommendations and background investigations will be reviewed by the Police Administrative Subdivision chain of command. Summaries of each candidate will be forwarded to the City of Columbus Public Safety Director for consideration. The Safety Director will decide if you will be sent a conditional letter of appointment.

Step 9

This step involves a rigorous medical examination designed to evaluate your fitness. You will be given a cardiovascular stress test and a psychological evaluation. The vision requirements state that your vision must be correctable to 20/20 BINOCULAR and no more than 20/125 uncorrected in each eye. (Most laser surgery corrections are now acceptable). The medical exam, including vision, physical, and psychological tests, must be passed before a Final Offer of Employment is given.  A Stress Test Training Manual ( is available from the Civil Service Commission.

Step 10

Candidates will be notified by letter of an appointment date for the Police Academy.



Frequently Asked Questions

How many people will be hired?
The number of individuals hired will depend upon several factors, such as the budget, the number of retirements, and the overall need of the Division of Police. Since these factors vary annually, it is difficult to identify the number that will be hired in any given year.

When will the next class start?
This question is similar to the previous one, in that it is determined by the needs of the Division.

What are my chances of becoming a Police Officer?
Many individuals express interest in employment with the City of Columbus Division of Police. Since the selection process is competitive, with a limited number of individuals that will be successful, those numbers can be overwhelming. However, the number of individuals who are truly committed to becoming a Police Officer drops dramatically. There are a great number of individuals who do not commit themselves to what is required for this process. We realize it is a process requiring a great time commitment; however it is an extremely important position with great responsibility that must include a rigorous selection process. When you consider this position, you should also consider the many rewards that come with this position. We encourage you to commit yourself to this process - you will NOT regret it!

Important TIP!!

Keep your address current with us!!! You will miss important information unless your address is kept current while you are on our mailing list.  Address changes may be provided to the Division of Police, Minority Recruiting Unit, by phone, or in writing via Email, fax, or U.S. mail as follows:  Columbus Division of Police-Minority Recruiting Unit, 120 Marconi Blvd., Columbus, OH  43215.  (614) 645-4642 or toll free (800) 837-4642.  Fax: (614) 645-4144.  Email:

If you have also completed a Job Class Interest form or application or had other contact with the Civil Service Commission, it is necessary for you to contact them with address changes as well, in addition to the Division of Police. Address changes with Civil Service need to be done in writing, on-line with an address change form, by visiting, and clicking on the 'Public Forms,' then Change of Personal Information-Address Change Form links. Address changes may also be made by mail to The Columbus Civil Service Commission, 750 Piedmont Road, Columbus, Ohio 43224, or by fax at (614) 645-0866.


Residency Requirement: Per a recent court decision, the Commission cannot enforce the City’s Charter-defined residency requirements at this time. However, because state law does prescribe specific parameters for establishing a legal residency requirement, the City may opt to re-establish its residency requirement in accordance with this law. Once in place, those City employees and applicants affected by the law will be notified of any impact on City employment.


Police Officer Salary


The Columbus Division of Police offers an attractive wage and benefit package that is competitive with private business and other major police departments.

Pay Steps


December, 2013


hire date ~
12 months

$ 23.61 / hr.

$ 49,108.80 / yr.





12 ~ 24 months

$ 24.77 / hr.

$ 51,521.60 / yr.





24 ~ 36 months

$ 26.03 / hr.

$ 54,142.40 / yr.





36 ~ 48 months

$ 31.09 / hr.

$ 64,667.20 / yr.





over 48 months

$ 36.16 / hr.

$ 75,212.80 / yr.


Benefits Package

The Columbus Division of Police offers an attractive and competitive fringe benefits package:

Paid Training 
Recruits attend our 6-month, non-residential, state-of-the-art training academy and are paid at our beginning police officer salary

Health Insurance 
The health insurance plan covers the officer and family and is provided at a cost of $27.45 per month for single coverage and $71.40 for family coverage.

Life Insurance 
Will pay to the officer’s estate one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000)

Vacation Time 
2.4 weeks each year for the first 3 years, then advances in stages up to 6.3 weeks after 20 years

Paid Holidays 
Eleven paid holidays per year including officer’s birthday

Paid Sick Leave 
15 days per year.  Officers using 8 or less sick hours per calendar year will receive 16 additional vacation hours.

Clothing and Equipment Allowance 
Uniforms and equipment are provided at no cost to the officer, plus uniform maintenance of $850 per year for uniformed officers and $1,200 per year for non-uniformed.

Prescription Drugs 
The deductible is $5 per prescription, with the remainder paid 100%.

Vision Care and Dental Plan 
After 1 year of service

Personal Liability Insurance 
Fully furnished by the City of Columbus

After 25 years of service and age 48

College Tuition Reimbursement 
After 1 year of service

Annual Service Credit 
Paid yearly starting with your 6th year of service

Family Leave 
After 1 year of service  

Military Leave 
When called to serve in the armed forces of the United States    

Deferred Compensation Program 
Defer up to $13,000 yearly    

Credit Union
After 90 days employment    

Health & Fitness Incentive and
In-house Fitness Facilities
Available to all officers.  Fitness facilities are located at the Columbus Police Training Academy    

Eligible to take Sergeant’s Examination after 3 years.  Pay differential is 18% between ranks.   

Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.)
Union Representation   

Civil Service Protection 


Other Important Information

Vision Standards

The vision requirements are that your vision must be correctable to 20/20 BINOCULAR, and no more than 20/125 uncorrected, each eye.  (Most laser surgery corrections are now acceptable.)

Getting In Shape

In addition to the physical testing component of the Civil Service examination (mentioned above), physical fitness is a requirement for successfully completing the academy training.  

It is never too early to begin training your body for the academy. The academy class is a 28-week course of training. It is scheduled during the day, Monday - Friday, with evenings and weekends off. It is a quasi-military environment.

Physical exercise is a daily requirement. From the first day of class, recruits participate in such activities as running, pushups, sit-ups, pull-ups, etc. Recruits will also be expected to complete physical tasks such as scaling 6-foot and 8-foot walls, fully participate with other class members in 'Defensive Tactics' training such as boxing and wrestling matches, and various other physically demanding activities.

Compliance With Standards

It is important to remember that becoming a Police Officer is a sacrifice. You may have to distance yourself from activities that may have a negative impact on your quest to become a Columbus Police Officer.

Here are some areas that are looked at during the background investigation:


Traffic Record History


Criminal Activity

Substance Abuse History

Family History

Employment History

Military History

A complete list of Police Officer Background removal standards may be viewed by clicking here.

Ride - Along Program

If you have successfully completed the entry level police officer examination you are encouraged to participate in a Ride-Along. To schedule a Ride-Along contact the Recruiting Unit at 614-645-7582

Address & Phone Number Changes

Keep your contact information current with us!!! Any changes in address or phone number must be provided to us so that you will not miss important information while you are on our mailing list.  Address changes may be provided to the Division of Police, Recruiting Unit, by phone, or in writing via Email, fax, or U.S. mail as follows:


            Columbus Division of Police-Recruiting Unit

            120 Marconi Blvd.

            Columbus, OH  43215

            614-645-4642 or toll free 800-837-4642

            FAX:  614-645-4144



Please include your full name, old address and phone #’s, and new contact information.

 If you have also competed a Job Class Interest Form or had other contact with the Civil Service Commission, it is necessary for you to contact them with address changes as well, in addition to the Division of Police. Address changes with Civil Service need to be done in writing, on-line with an address change form, by filling out the  'Change of Personal Information-Address Change Form'.  Address changes may also be made by mail to The Columbus Civil Service Commission, 750 Piedmont Road, Columbus, Ohio 43224, or by fax at (614) 645-0866.

Residency Requirements

You must reside in Franklin County or a county that adjoins Franklin County upon your employment by the Division of Police.


Any concerns or questions regarding the testing and selection process may be answered by contacting the Recruiting Unit. If we cannot find the answer for you, we will direct you to someone who can.



Contact the Recruiting Office

You may contact the Columbus Division of Police, Recruiting Unit with additional employment questions at:

Columbus Division of Police
Recruiting Unit
120 Marconi Blvd.
Columbus, Ohio 43215-2838

Phone number: (614) 645-4642
Outside Franklin County, Ohio

Online Interest Form

An Equal Opportunity Employer


The information presented on this site is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.
The City of Columbus and Division of Police disclaim liability for any error or omissions.
External links are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the City of Columbus
or Division of Police.