Dear future recruit,
The job you are about to apply for is not an easy one -- there are good days, but there are also very hard ones. There are tough questions and sometimes impossible situations.
But there are also days that remind you why you chose this profession in the first place. It called to you. This position -- the role of the police officer -- requires someone with a servant’s heart.
Policing is in need of someone who is passionate, even on the most difficult of days; someone willing to leave their ego at the door. This profession requires dedication to self improvement and learning, and a repeated commitment to many who you will never meet, but you swear to always protect.
It requires empathy and compassion when you cross paths with those at their lowest point in life. It requires courage, sacrifice, and grit in times of chaos, danger, and uncertainty.
In truth, this person -- with all of these attributes -- may be a rarity and those that share these attributes may not consider law enforcement as a career choice. But that is who we look for at Mountain View PD, and these are the traits that are core values in our organization.
If you love to serve, and if you believe in your very core that these attributes speak to who you are, we’re here. We’re looking for someone like you.
Let’s start this path forward, together.
Before you begin
What exactly goes into the everyday work of a police officer, and is it for you? There are several ways to determine if this career, and a department, are the right fit for you. Before you begin the application process, consider the following:
Starting out: Educate yourself by going on a “ride-along” with your local law enforcement agency. The Mountain View Police Department’s ride-along program allows authorized participants to accompany a patrol officer in his/her patrol vehicle for part of their shift. You will respond to a variety of service calls with that officer. You will see and hear everything that the officer does during your ride-along. It could be a busy night and you might get exposed to a lot of different situations, or it could be a slow night, and you may get the chance to ask the officer job related questions. It is the most realistic exposure to law enforcement.
Know the Process: Getting a job in law enforcement takes time and patience once you turn in your application. We want to make sure we hire the best candidates, and besides the written, physical, and oral examinations, potential candidates must undergo a thorough background check, polygraph test, psychological exam, medical exam, and a Chief’s interview prior to getting hired. If you get hired, you will be paid to go through a 6-month intensive police academy where you must adhere to the rules, regulations, and protocols of the academy.
Know the Department: The Mountain View Police Department has a 12-month probationary period after the academy (18 months total). Once you pass the probationary period, you will become a full-fledged civil servant. We want to ensure that those who serve the Mountain View community reflect our mission and values on a daily basis, and that we, together, work to meet and exceed the expectations of our community.
Anyone over the age of 18 can apply to become a police officer with the Mountain View Police Department. You will be asked for extensive information throughout your hiring process, which includes the following:
Employment History: Your conduct on the job is a serious factor that the Police Department reviews when considering you for potential employment. You must be able to be professional and personable and work well with others. You will need to provide a complete picture of your employment history, including part-time roles.
Credit History: A check of your credit history is conducted as a part of your background investigation. If you have bad credit, take the necessary steps to show that you are responsible enough to rectify the situation. (You can contact a credible non-profit, consumer credit counseling service to help you manage your debt.) It is wise to check your credit history with the three major credit agencies to verify its authenticity.
Education: The Mountain View Department requires potential recruit police officer candidates to possess 40 semester or 60 quarter units from an accredited university or college. These units do not have to be focused on a Criminal Justice or Administration of Justice major.
Physical Fitness: We no longer require you to have completed and passed the physical fitness exam in order to apply for a position at the Mountain View Police Department, but you should still prepare for the physical demands of the career field by keeping yourself physically fit.
All Police Officer candidates should work to ensure they are as healthy as possible to serve our community. What are some ways to keep you at your best self as you start out your career?
Physical fitness: This could be walking, cycling, stair stepping, running, etc. Begin at a slow pace and then gradually increase the intensity. If you are new to exercise, you should ease into the program. If you are unable to run at a slow pace continuously for 30 minutes, you should begin your program with a walk/run routine, alternating five minutes of fast walking with five minutes of running. Gradually build up your time, and always complete your workout with a five-minute slow-paced cool-down and stretching of the calves, hamstrings, hip flexors and back.
Mental wellness: We take your mental wellbeing seriously here at MVPD. In addition to a chaplain program, we also have a robust Employee Assistance Program, a mental wellness app specific to our department called Cordico, and we have a robust Peer Support Team. We highly encourage our officers to take advantage of all aspects of those programs to ensure they stay well and that if they need to address any concerns, there are resources immediately available.
Training: When officers begin at the Mountain View Police Department, whether or not they just graduated from the Academy, they will experience several weeks of in-house training to prepare them for their roles in our community. Subsequently, we also expect officers to maintain training levels both while on patrol and when they pursue specialty positions. including collateral assignments. This includes several days throughout the year of all-day training that focuses on topics including de-escalation, defensive tactics, legal updates, and more.