With more than 1.4 million residents, San Antonio is one of the fastest growing cities in the US. This growing population is one of the reasons why the city has an ever-increasing need for more law enforcement personnel.

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Because of the nature of the job, becoming a police officer in San Antonio requires clearing a very competitive process. The selection process is highly detailed with a great deal of scrutiny at every step. If you are interested in becoming a police officer in San Antonio, the following information will help you apply for the San Antonio Police Department:

Requirements to Become a Police Officer in San Antonio

Before you begin the application process, you will have to meet a certain number of qualifications. These are similar to the requirements in others cities and states, with some slight variations. These suitability factors are defined by the City of San Antonio Fire and Police Civil Service Commission:

  • Candidates must be at least 20 years, 6 months old, with a maximum age limit of 45 years.
  • All applicants must possess a high school diploma with at least a “C” average or a GED.
  • Candidates must be US citizens.
  • Applicants must be able to read, write and speak in English.
  • They should meet all the legal requirements set forth by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) to be eligible for licensing in the future.
  • Candidates are required to fulfill the suitability requirements listed under rule IX. H(13) Use of Illicit Substances.

In addition to these, there are certain disqualifying factors that applicants should not possess if they want to apply for becoming a police officer in San Antonio:

  • Applicant should not have been convicted of any offense above the grade of Class B or misdemeanor or any crime involving moral turpitude.
  • Candidate should not have been discharged from the US Armed Forces under any other status than honorable.
  • Candidate should not have traffic citations for four or more hazardous moving traffic offenses with any other verdict than “not guilty” – in at least 2 months before the application to the SAPD.
  • Candidates should not have a conviction of a crime involving family violence.
  • They should not have any Class B misdemeanor in the last 10 years.
  • Applicants should not be under indictment for any criminal offense at the time of application or afterwards.
How to Become a Police Officer in San Antonio
How to Become a Police Officer in San Antonio

Steps to Become a Police officer in San Antonio

After all the qualifying requirements are met, applicants may then move on to the actual hiring process. To become a police officer in San Antonio, nine steps need to be cleared:

  1. Submit the Application

Candidates will be required to complete an online application, and submit it along with a list of required documents. You will then be given a date for the subsequent Physical Ability Tests, Computer Examination and Structured Oral Interview.

  1. Pass the Physical Ability Test

This test is divided into two parts – Part I involves an obstacle course run, with timed components such as vehicle exit, vehicle load, culvert crawl, obstacle jump and duck, obstacle weave, dummy drag and so on. The entire Part I need to be completed within 4 minutes.
Part II of the test is the untimed component and involves a handgun simulation. Applicants will be required to dry fire with a training gun, keeping their arms steady, within a 7-inch diameter ring.

  1. Pass the Computer Exam

The test, called SAELLEE measures the candidate’s cognitive ability and behavior orientation, through a total of 350 multiple choice questions. It is administered online.

  1. Pass the Structured Oral Interview

This interview is video-taped and involves questions about various abilities of the candidate. This includes conflict resolution, honesty, community relations, judgment ability, oral communication, planning and organization skills, problem solving skills, logic and reasoning skills, team building and teamwork orientation.

  1. Clear a Background Check

A complete check is carried out regarding the applicant’s background, covering areas such as personal reputation, any military history, education, criminal record, past employment history, driving record, drug usage history and so on.

  1. Pass a Polygraph Exam

A licensed polygraph examiner will conduct this test to determine the candidate’s honesty and truthfulness in the entire application process.

  1. Pass the Psychological Exam

This test is carried out by a licensed psychiatrist or a psychologist and is designed to determine the emotional and psychological health of the candidate, in accordance with the requirements of active police duty.

  1. Pass the Medical/Physical Exam

A thorough medical and physical exam will be conducted by a licensed physician selected by the City of San Antonio to determine whether the candidate is physically fit to perform the duties associated with a police officer’s job.

  1. Pass a review by the Chief of Police

Once the candidate has cleared all the steps of the application procedure satisfactorily, the Chief of Police will review each file and make approvals. If approved, the newly appointed candidate will join the police academy as a ‘police cadet’.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Police Officer in San Antonio?

The application process, after the application is accepted, takes approximately six to eight weeks, depending on how extensive your application is and how many applications are in-process at the time. If you get selected through the hiring process, the police academy will last around 32 weeks. And once you have graduated from the SAPD Academy, you will be sworn in as a probationary police officer. The probation period lasts for one year.

How Much Does A Police Officer Make in San Antonio?

The San Antonio Police Department offers market-competitive salaries and various additional benefits to its employees, based on rank, certifications and skills. The base pay earned at various ranks, according to the SAPD website, is as follows:

Rank Salary
Cadet $45,000
Patrol Officer $52,188-$71,088
Detective $73,080-$79,020
Sergeant $83,004-$86,340
Lieutenant $92,964-$96,720
Captain $106,668-$110,976
Deputy Chief $147,648
Assistant Chief $159,468

Career Outlook for Becoming a Police Officer in San Antonio

The career outlook for police officers in San Antonio is highly positive, with competitive salary figures and multiple benefits. Incentives are offered based on night shift work, advanced Texas Commission on Law Enforcement certifications and foreign language fluency among other things. Continuous opportunities for advancement are also available at every rank level.

Police Officer Training in San Antonio

Police officers serve to maintain law and order in communities by protecting people and their property. It is the responsibility of a police officer to prevent crime, reduce fear of crime, and improve the quality of life of people living in that community. Police career is diverse and there are many roles that an officer can take on, like county sheriff/police officer, detective, crime scene investigator, victim advocate, highway patrol officer, air marshal, and resource officer. To become a police officer, it is important to have excellent communication, ability to solve problems, conflict resolution, and mental agility. The San Antonio Police Department requires a minimum high school diploma and 20 years of age as eligibility requirement.

The San Antonio Police Department has earned great reputation for its diverse academic program and superior training process. Through academics, skills development, and physical training, cadets are turned into first-class officers. According to the state of Texas, cadets are mandated to complete 643 training hours. Only upon successful completion of this they are eligible to apply for the TCOLE peace officer license.

The instructors at the San Antonio Training Academy are serving police officers and they put the cadets through rigorous 1,300 hours of training. During the training program, cadets are given thorough understanding on topics like penal code, arrest, search and seizure, code of criminal procedure, written communication, traffic, and criminal investigations. Physical training is quite challenging and prepares the cadets for more advanced training that follows later in the program.

Training Institutions for Police Officers in San Antonio

The work environment for police officers can be really challenging which is why they have to endure rigorous physical training. Initially in the first 10 to 12 weeks, cadets have to go through basic physical training that includes PT sessions, running regimens, and core workouts. Later, in the 10th and 20th weeks, they are exposed to specific policing strategies like defense tactics, methods of arrest, and firearms training. Below are some certified academies in San Antonio that provide basic training to the police officers.

  1. San Antonio Police Training Academy

Spread over 165 acres, the San Antonio Police Training Academy offers state-of-the-art facilities. It takes approximately 32 weeks to complete police training academy in San Antonio, during which the cadets go through academic courses, physical training, and skills training.

  1. Alamo Colleges Police Department

Having earned recognition from the Texas Police Chief’s Association Foundation. The Alamo Colleges Police Department provides police training to young cadets. There is also a readiness program that prepares the cadets beforehand as to what they can expect from the training academy.

  1. SAPD Careers

Providing a comprehensive training program, the cadets are trained towards developing professional and positive attitude. Through in-field training they are given opportunities to improve skills, knowledge, and abilities.

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