Frequently Asked Questions

The preferred method of contact is e-mail to recruit@sdsheriff.org. You may also call the 24-hour recorded job line at (858) 974-2000. Written correspondence may be directed to:

San Diego Sheriff’s Department
Recruiting Unit
9621 Ridgehaven Court
San Diego, CA 92123

Yes, we are currently hiring and testing for entry-level Deputy Sheriffs, Deputy Sheriff Detentions/Courts, and Deputy Sheriffs Lateral. We currently only accept applications on the first business day of every month (unless otherwise announced).

Deputy Sheriff - Law Enforcement

  • U.S. citizen or resident in the process of becoming a US citizen
  • 20½ years of age at time of application; 21 years of age at time of appointment, no maximum age
  • U.S. High School graduate or G.E.D.
  • No felony convictions. Not on Probation. Misdemeanors may be disqualifying depending on the number, type of violation, and date of the violation
  • Vision: 20/100 uncorrected, corrected to at least 20/30
  • Valid California Driver’s License prior to appointment. Valid photo ID to take the written exam
  • Effective oral and written communications in English
Deputy Sheriff - Detentions/Courts
  • Age 18 at the time of the test. (There is no maximum age limit)
  • U.S. citizen or Resident Alien in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen
  • U.S. High School graduate or G.E.D.
  • No felony convictions. Not on Probation. Misdemeanors may be disqualifying depending on the number, type of violation, and date of the violation
  • Vision: 20/100 uncorrected, corrected to at least 20/30
  • Valid California Driver’s License prior to appointment. Valid photo ID to take the written exam
  • Effective oral and written communications in English

Hiring Process

Yes! The POST Entry Level Law Enforcement Exam is used as the pre-employment exam for BOTH classifications. You can complete both applications and take just one exam. You are strongly encouraged to apply for both classifications, because the Deputy Sheriff position is very competitive! Be sure to apply for both prior to taking the exam, otherwise you only qualify for that one position.

This varies depending on number of job vacancies.

  • STEP 1. Written Exam (Relative weight 100%, Passing 70%)
  • STEP 2. Comprehensive Background Investigation
  • STEP 3. Physical Agility Test
  • STEP 4. Truth Verification (CVSA) Exam and Employment Interview
  • STEP 5. Psychological Evaluation
  • STEP 6. Medical Exam

Click here to learn more about the hiring process.

It takes between three months to over a year to complete the hiring process, all based on the number of vacancies the department is filling.

You should take the written test when you have eight months or less left to serve in the military. If you are stationed out of the area or state, you will need to follow the instructions in the next question. Unfortunately, there are no special testing procedures if you live out of the country.

Essentially, you should anticipate four visits to San Diego. Every effort will be made to consolidate all of the necessary steps in the hiring process into as few trips as possible:

STEP 1. (Online) Fill out online application/Complete Questionnaire/View Video. It is highly suggested that you apply for both positions IF YOU QUALIFY so check both positions on the application. The County of San Diego Department of Human Resources will send you an email inviting you to fill out a questionnaire with nine supplemental questions along with instructions on how to view a mandatory video with words from the Sheriff. Links in the Quick Links area of this page will take you to the County of San Diego Department of Human Resources web site to apply online.

NOTE: Upon successful completion of viewing the video and answering the questionnaire, your application will be submitted, processed and validated to ensure you meet the minimum requirements. This can take several weeks.

FIRST TRIP TO SAN DIEGO

STEP 2. Written Exam (Relative weight 100%). Upon successful completion of STEP 1 the County of San Diego Department of Human Resources will contact you via email inviting you to register for the California P.O.S.T. written exam. The email notice will have instructions on how to register. It is one exam for both positions, so register for one exam only! Results take approximately 3-6 weeks. Upon passing the exam, you will be placed on the eligibility list for one year.

SECOND TRIP TO SAN DIEGO

STEP 3. Prescreen questionnaire/Personal History Statement. The County of San Diego Department of Human Resources will send you an email inviting you to fill out a Prescreen Questionnaire (Personal History Statement) and instructions on how to view an additional mandatory video with words from the Sheriff.

THIRD and FOURTH TRIPS TO SAN DIEGO (Steps four through nine will be condensed into two additional trips to San Diego):

STEP 4. Physical Agility Test (PAT). See FAQ page for details.

STEP 5. Comprehensive Background Investigation. You will be assigned a Background Investigator.

STEP 6. Computer Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA) and Employment Interview. Truth verification exam (type of polygraph) and employment interview (Lieutenant’s Interview).

STEP 7. Psychological Evaluation. You will fill out a written exam and meet with a psychologist.

STEP 8. Medical Exam

STEP 9. Job Offer. You will have an interview with a Lieutenant and receive a job offer. You will be assigned to attend an academy and attend a new hire orientation.

Completion of the Physical Agility Test (PAT) is required for the position of Law Enforcement Deputy Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff Detentions/Court Services. This test is conducted towards the end of the hiring process. The physical agility test for Law Enforcement Deputy Sheriff consists of five separate events which are all timed events:

  • 6’ solid fence climb
  • 6’ chain link fence climb
  • 165-pound life-like dummy drag for 32 Ft.
  • 99 Yard obstacle course
  • 500 Yard Run

The physical agility test for Deputy Sheriff Detentions/Court Services consists of five separate events which are all timed events:

  • Stair climb
  • Walk 75 feet wearing a 30 pound air pack or weighted backpack
  • 165-pound life-like dummy drag for 32 feet
  • 99 yard obstacle course
  • 500 yard run

No, recruiters are not Background Investigators. You should take the exam and attend the orientation/preliminary interview. During the preliminary interview, you will have to disclose that information to one of the background investigators.  Based on everything you tell the investigator, they will make a decision as to giving you an opportunity with the department or not. Each case is treated individually.

Our body art policy states, “While on duty, personnel will not have any tattoo brand (intentional burning of skin to create a design) scarification (intentional cutting of the skin to create a design) visible on the face, neck or head. Visible tattoos that are prejudicial to good order and discipline are prohibited. Any brand or tattoo that is visible while wearing a class C uniform and detracts from a traditional law enforcement appearance is prohibited.”

“While on duty and in uniform or representing the Department in any official capacity, every reasonable effort should be made to conceal tattoos or other body art. At no time while on duty or while representing the Department in any official capacity shall any tattooed surface exceed 25% of the exposed body part.”

A Background Detective will look at your tattoos and make a final decision.

No, our Background Detectives will still have to conduct a full background check.

Written Exam

Once you submit your application, you will receive an e-mail confirming it’s been accepted. It will also include instructions on how to self-register.

You need to contact County of San Diego County Department of Human Resources at 619-236-2191.

No, currently we do not accept these although other agencies do.  Unfortunately, you will need to take our written exam.

The written examination includes the following sections:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • English Grammar
  • Sentence Construction
  • Vocabulary
  • Spelling

Click here to take a practice exam

The Sheriff’s Department initial exam does not include a written essay like the practice exam, but you will be asked to write an essay sometime through the process. There is no math on our exam.

The public library, or local bookstores should have literature on Entry Level Law Enforcement or Corrections Officer examinations. Concentrate on improving your reading comprehension, which is a major factor in the written exam. Read each question slowly. Choose the best possible answer. There are no trick questions on the written exam. You should try and answer every question because those questions left blank will be marked wrong. Take your time.

Click here to take a practice exam

The test results on the written examination are good for one year from the date of the test. However, you may retake the exam after the application number changes, which usually every 12 months.

The written exam is offered several times a month at the Sheriff’s Administration Center, 9621 Ridgehaven Ct., San Diego, CA 92123. (Google Map)

You may retake the exam when the exam number changes which is roughly every 12 months.

Call the San Diego County Department of Human Resources at (619) 236-2191.

Call the San Diego County Department of Human Resources at (619) 236-2191.

In order to be eligible for Veterans Preference Points, candidates must scan their DD-214 forms and email the copies as an attachment to the San Diego County Department of Human Resources (DHR) at Processunitemail.fgg@sdcounty.ca.gov. DHR must receive the copies of a candidate’s DD-214 prior to their receipt of the candidates final exam score from California P.O.S.T. Candidates can confirm DHR’s receipt of their DD-214 forms by calling DHR at (619) 236-2191.

For V.P.P., the County of San Diego Department of Human Resources will add points to your written score.

You will have to contact the agency where the test was administered.  If you take two California POST exams within a 30-day period, your second exam will be void.

Lateral Hiring

You would not start from the beginning since you already have your certification.  You would qualify for the Lateral Program; click here for more information about the lateral program.

First, you would need to contact California POST to see if you qualify for a waiver.  Based on your training, they will determine whether or not you will or if you need some additional training in order to qualify.

After the qualification shoot, you will meet with Background Detectives who conducts a background pre-screen orientation.

If you are first hired by the Sheriff’s Department on or after December 1, 2012, and establish reciprocity for a period of reciprocal service that began before January 1, 2013, you will be in Tier B. The benefit formula for Tier B members is 3% at age 55. If you do not establish reciprocity, you will be in Tier C. The benefit formula for Tier C members is 2.7% at age 57. To be eligible for reciprocity you must leave active membership in your previous California public retirement system and become a member with the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association (SDCERA) within six months. If you have additional questions regarding your tier or reciprocity please contact SDCERA at (619) 515-6800.

Salary & Benefits

Health Insurance County paid and employee paid
Sick Leave 13 days per year, unlimited accumulation
Vacation 85 hours after the first year
127.5 hours after five years
170 hours after fifteen years
Holidays 13 paid days per year
Retirement After working for the Department for 10 years, you are eligible to collect 2.7% of your pay for every year you worked when you turn 57 years of age (2.7%@57). There is no reduced maximum; you can retire at 100%
Life Insurance At no cost to employee
Overtime Paid at time and a half
Uniform Allowance $450.00 initially; $1,000.00 after one year service
Optional 401(a) & 457(b) Deputies have the option of investing in deferred compensation plans known as 401(a), 457(b) plans, to better prepare for retirement and potentially lower your taxable income
Flex Spending Accounts Deputies can establish flexible spending accounts for child care, dependent care and certain medical expenses. These accounts are not subject to payroll taxes, resulting in substantial tax savings
Employee Discounts Employees benefit from department sanctioned discounts with vendors, businesses and amusement parks throughout the state
Tuition Reimbursement The county will reimburse college tuition up to $2,234.00 per year

Academy Training

Candidates applying for entry level positions will attend an academy.

Upon successful completion of the hiring process, the department will pay for the academy.  Your salary and benefits begin on the first day of the academy.

The academies for both the Deputy Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff Detentions/Courts positions are located at the Miramar Regional Training Facility at Miramar College at 10440 Black Mountain Road, San Diego.

There are separate academies for both positions. The Deputy Sheriff’s Academy is 6 months (25 weeks). The Deputy Sheriff-Detentions/Courts Academy is 16 weeks in length.

No, you do not live at the academy.

The basic schedule is 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. with some nights and weekends for training.

Yes, pay and benefits begin on your first day at the academy.

We Are Hiring!
Applications will be accepted from 12:00 a.m. on
June 1 Thursday
through 11:59 p.m. on
June 14Wednesday
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