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Police Officer (Experienced & Academy Graduates)

Job Details

Police Officer (Experienced & Academy Graduates)
Salary $40.36 - $54.09 Hourly $6,995.00 - $9,375.00 Monthly $83,940.00 - $112,500.00 Annually

$83,940.00 - $112,500.00 Annually

Location Costa Mesa, CA, CA


Job Type




Job Number



The City of Costa Mesa is accepting applications for the position of Police Officer.  Interested individuals may apply as an experienced peace officer (current or previously employed) or as a recent Academy Graduate.  

Academy Graduate:
Candidates must have graduated from a California POST Basic Police Academy within the last 18 months from the date of their application.

Experienced Police Officer:
Candidates must have successfully completed a training program and probationary period at another law enforcement agency as a Peace Officer or Deputy Sheriff, and must possess a current California POST Basic certificate (or higher) or California POST Requalification Course certificate.  

Lateral Incentive Program - Applicants who are currently employed with another California law enforcement agency and have successfully passed that agency's probationary period will qualify for the City's Lateral Police Officer incentives which include:
  • Reduced ten (10) month probationary period.
  • Up to 80 hours of sick leave upon hire depending on current sick leave balance with current employer.
Entry-level law enforcement candidates who do not meet the requirements of this position should apply for the Police Recruit position located on the City's Employment Opportunities page: click here.


The City of Costa Mesa is just one mile from the Pacific Coast in the heart of Orange County and is one of California's most eclectic and vibrant cities. The City is home to South Coast Plaza, one of the nation's largest shopping centers, and the world-class Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory theater. Costa Mesa is also the capitol of the action sports industry and the headquarters for companies such as Hurley International, Volcom, RVCA, Rip Curl, and Vans.  Costa Mesa encompasses 16 square miles and has a population of about 110,000. Since its incorporation in 1953, Costa Mesa has evolved from a semi-rural farming community of 15,000 to a city with robust local economy that generates tax revenues of about $100 million annually. A general law city, Costa Mesa has a council-manager form of government and staff of approximately 450 full-time employees.  The City's location provides easy access to many of Southern California's major attractions, including beaches, mountain areas, high and low deserts, Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Palm Springs and Los Angeles.

For more information about the Costa Mesa Police Department, click here.
Applications are being accepted on a continuous basis in order to meet the needs of the City.  Applicants will be notified once testing dates have been established.
Applications must be completed and submitted online. Candidates are required to provide specific information on their education and experience as it relates to the position by completing all fields of the application.  Applications may be rejected if incomplete (resumes are not accepted).  Candidate notifications are sent via email.  Please make sure your email address is correct and check your email periodically during the application process.  Candidates who pass an initial application screening will be invited to continue in the selection process.   

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: Please ensure you meet the position qualifications as stated under the "QUALIFICATION GUIDELINES" section below before submitting your application.  

AUTOMATIC DISQUALIFIERS: Please be advised of the Costa Mesa Police Department automatic disqualifiersclick here for a list of background disqualifiers. 

If you do not meet the minimum qualifications, or if any of the automatic disqualifiers pertain to you, it is recommended that you do not submit an application for this position as you will be disqualified from the selection process.

Required Attachment(s): 
Candidates must attach a copy of their applicable California POST Certificate(s) to their application as indicated below.

Academy Graduate candidates must attach the the following:
  • California POST Basic Police Academy certificate (dated within the past 18 months of application date).

Experience Police Officer must attach the the following:
  • Current California POST Basic certificate (or higher) or CA POST requalification Course certificate.  
  • Out-of-State applicants: California POST Basic Course Waiver.

Do NOT attach any additional documents (i.e. resume) to the application other than what is listed above, as they will not be accepted or reviewed in the application process.  

Qualified applicants who submit the required applicable certificates, as stated above, will be invited to the PAT when a test date is established.  The PAT is typically scheduled several times per year.  
  • To view a video detailing the PAT components click here.

Candidates who successfully pass the PAT will be invited to the interview evaluation.  

Candidates must pass all four (3) of the steps listed above to be placed on the City's Eligibility List.  The application screening and physical agility test are all qualifying steps (pass/fail).  The oral interview evaluation is weighted 100% and determines a candidates' placement on the eligibility list.  Eligibility lists are valid for one (1) year from the date they are established unless it is exhausted sooner or extended for an additional period of time.

Upon being placed on the eligibility list, appointment(s) will be made after successfully passing each of the following components: polygraph examination, a comprehensive background investigation, interview with the Chief of Police, and the post-offer pre-employment psychological evaluation and medical examination.  All employment offers made by the City are contingent upon establishing proof of a prospective candidate's legal authorization to work in the United States.

Please call the Police Recruitment Hotline at (714) 754-4955 with any questions.  
Leave a message with your question and a staff member will return your call within one business day.

*Please notify the Human Resources Division 72 hours in advance of a scheduled test date if you have a disability which requires accommodation for the testing process.

NOTE:  The provisions of this job bulletin do not constitute an expressed or implied contract.  Any provisions contained within may be modified or revoked without notice. 

Essential Functions

These functions may not be present in all positions in these classes. When a position is to be filled, the essential functions will be noted in the announcement of position availability. Management reserves the right to add, modify, change or rescind work assignments as needed.

Upon hire, completes the Department's Field Training Program; patrols a designated area of the City in a patrol car to preserve law and order, to prevent and discover the commission of crimes, and to enforce traffic regulations; answers calls and complaints involving fire, traffic accidents, robberies, and other misdemeanors and felonies and takes necessary police action; makes arrests; conducts accident investigations and preliminary investigations at the scenes of crimes, administers first aid, fathers evidence, locates and questions witnesses; testifies as a witness in court; patrols various streets, schools, and colleges for parking violations; recovers stolen property; provides information to the public; escorts cars to hospitals; escorts parades and funeral processions; prepares necessary records and reports; may perform jailer duties such as processing arrested persons and maintaining security of the jail; may perform desk officer duties such as handling telephone calls and visitors, and fingerprinting taxicab drivers, entertainers, and various other persons; and performs other related work as required.

Qualification Guidelines

  • Must be a high school graduate, pass the General Education Development test or other high school equivalency test approved by CDE, or have attained a two-year, four-year, or advanced degree from an accredited or approved institution. 
  • College course work with an emphasis in police science, social sciences, or related field is desirable.

Academy Graduate Applicants
  • Must have graduated from a California POST Basic Police Academy within the last 18 months from the date of application.
Experienced Police Officer Applicants
  • Must have successfully completed a training program and probationary period at another law enforcement agency as a Peace Officer or Deputy Sheriff, and
  • Must possess a current California POST Basic certificate (or higher) or California POST Requalification Course certificate.  
Out-of-State experienced applicants must have a California POST Basic Course Waiver by date of application.  Certificate must be attached to application in order to be considered.

  • Class C California Driver's License. Revocation of license during employment may result in disciplinary action or reassignment.

  • Vision: 20/20 each eye corrected or uncorrected. Normal color vision.
  • Hearing: Normal hearing acuity.
  • Height/Weight: In proportion to age and frame.
  • Citizenship: Must be a United States citizen or permanent resident alien who is eligible for and has applied for citizenship.
  • Age: 21 years of age or older at the time of appointment.

  • Smoking or use of any tobacco products at any time while on duty is prohibited. Tattoos shall not be visible while on duty.

  • For detailed information on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities, please click the following link to view the job description: Police Officer

Supplemental Information

Please contact Human Resources for a summary of the physical tasks and environmental factors for these classifications. Employee accommodations for physical or mental disabilities will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

To view the City's Benefit Summary, please click here.
To view highlights regarding salary and benefits specific to Costa Mesa Police Officers, please click here.
Police Recruits are part-time employees appointed by and serve at the will of the Chief of Police.   Police Recruits contribute 7% or 7.5% of their salary on a pre-tax basis towards the 2%@62 or 2%@60 CalPERS retirement formula depending on eligibility.  Upon successful completion of the Academy, Police Recruits transition to a full-time Police Officer and begin contributing as described below.
Police Officers are full-time employees who contribute 14% of their salary on a pre-tax basis towards the 3%@50 or 2.7%@57 CalPERS retirement formula depending on eligibility. A $2,119 monthly contribution is offered towards each employee's flexible benefit account.  Lateral Police Officers may be eligible for up to 80 hours of sick leave credited to their Sick Leave Bank upon hire.
Police Reserve Officers are part-time employees appointed by and serve at the will of the Chief of Police.   Police Reserve Officers participate in either the Public Agency Retirement System (PARS) or the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) depending upon eligibility. Employees enrolled in PARS contribute 3.75% of salary with a matching City contribution. Employees enrolled in CalPERS contribute 11.50%  or 14% of their salary on a pre-tax basis towards the 2.7%@57 or the 3%@50 depending upon eligibility.
Employees do not contribute to the Social Security system; however, federal mandate requires new employees to contribute 1.45% of wages to Medicare and requires enrollment in an alternative retirement system.  As a condition of employment, all new employees are required to enroll and participate in the direct deposit program.

I have reviewed the job flyer including the link to the automatic disqualifiers.
  • Yes
  • No
I have included all of my work history. For applicants with more than 10 years of work history, you must include your work history over the past 10 years as a minimum.
  • Yes
  • No
Indicate your qualification for this position. Please ensure that you have carefully read the Qualification Guidelines indicated on the job flyer AND attach a copy of the certificate that pertains to your selected qualification.
  • Academy Graduate: Must have graduated from a CA POST Basic Police Academy (within the last 18 months).
  • Experienced Officer: Currently employed as a peace officer/deputy sheriff and possess a current CA POST Basic certificate (or higher).
  • Experienced Officer: Formerly employed as a peace officer/deputy sheriff and possess a current CA POST Basic certificate (or higher) or a CA POST Requalification Course certificate.
  • Experienced Officer (Out-of-State): Current or former peace officer/deputy sheriff outside of California and have attained a POST Basic Course Waiver.
To qualify for this position, you must provide a copy of your applicable California POST certificate(s) by attaching it to this online application. I understand this requirement.
  • Yes, I understand.
Are you currently on probation as a sworn peace officer?
  • Yes
  • No
Do you currently possess a valid California Class C Driver's License? If you are out-of-state, do you possess a driver's license in your state of residence as of today, and are you willing and able to obtain a CA driver's license if offered this position?
  • Yes
  • No
Are you a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien who is eligible for and has applied for citizenship?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you ever applied for any position within the Costa Mesa Police Department? If yes, list the position(s) and date(s) applied. If no, indicate "No."
Have you ever been disqualified during the background process for any position within a law enforcement agency? If yes, please explain and include the law enforcement agency, date, and reason provided. If no, please indicate "No."
Have you used marijuana within the last year (12 months)?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you used illegal drugs known as Methamphetamine, Amphetamines, Cocaine, Ecstasy (MDMA), Ketamine, GHB, Mushrooms, Barbiturates, Bath Salts, or Illegal Injectable Steroids in the last five (5) years?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you ever used illegal drugs known as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), Heroin, or PCP (phencyclidine)?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you used any other "street drugs" or recreational drugs not listed in the questions above? If yes, indicate the name of the drug(s) and how long ago you used them. If no, indicate "No."
Have you ever used prescription medication outside of its intended purpose? If yes, please explain. If no, indicate "No."
Have you ever sold, manufactured, grown, or transported (with the intent to sell) illegal drugs (including illegal use of prescription medication)?
  • Yes
  • No
Are you currently living with anyone, or regularly associate with individuals, who are using drugs or involved in illegal activity?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you stolen from your current employer (excludes pens, pencils, etc.) within the last two (2) years?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you been involved in any theft/shoplifting in excess of $950 in the past five (5) years?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you ever been arrested and convicted for a felony offense?
  • Yes
  • No
Are you currently on probation, parole, or any other supervised conditions of release from custody?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you been deemed a "primary" or dominant" aggressor in a domestic violence incident?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you been arrested and convicted of a DUI (Driving Under the Influence), or accepted any DUI plea agreement to a lesser charge within the last seven (7) years of the date of this application?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you engaged in any illegal sex act outlined in the California Penal Code? If yes, please explain. If no, indicate "No."
Have you ever accessed illegal pornography involving children (to include "sexting" pictures of minors), or accessed pornography on a work computer? If yes, please explain. If no, indicate "No."
Have you had three (3) or more at fault traffic accidents in the last three (3) years?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you received five (5) or more moving violations in the last seven (7) years? (Moving violations are violations which result in points on your license and does not include issues such as parking citations or equipment violations.)
  • Yes
  • No
Have you been reprimanded or counseled for excessive tardiness/absences in the past two (2) years (non-medical or family leave related)?
  • Yes
  • No
Have you ever been terminated or resigned in lieu of termination? If no, please indicate "No". If yes, please explain and include dates(s) and reason(s) for termination.
As a Police Officer, the grooming policy for the Costa Mesa Police Department requires moderately tapered hair that does not extend below the top edge of the shirt collar and does not cover the ear for men, and neat, clean and well groomed hair for women. Facial hair other than sideburns and mustaches shall not be worn. Will you be able to comply with this standard?
  • Yes
  • No
I understand that I shall not smoke or use tobacco products at any time while on duty.
  • Agree
  • Disagree
I understand tattoos shall not be visible while on duty.
  • Agree
  • Disagree
If you are successful in completing the testing process, you may be selected to continue in the background process which includes, but is not limited to, a comprehensive investigation, fingerprinting, polygraph examination and credit check. Recent drug usage, theft, or other illegal activity may disqualify you. Record must be free from any felony conviction and/or any misdemeanor conviction involving moral turpitude and excessive traffic violations. I understand this requirement.
  • Agree
  • Disagree
I understand that an incomplete application may lead to disqualification from the recruitment process and I have supplied all the applicable information in my application. Examples of incomplete/inaccurate information leading to disqualification include, but are not limited to: noting incorrect department, leaving dates of employment blank, leaving reason for leaving employment blank, leaving duties blank or noting "see resume", etc.
  • Agree
  • Disagree
I certify that all information I provided in my application is accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief and that purposely providing false information may be grounds for disqualification from the process.
  • Agree
  • Disagree

* Required Question

City of Costa Mesa
(714) 754-5350
77 Fair Drive
Post Office Box 1200
Costa Mesa, California, 92626



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