First Step


Many steps in the hiring process can be consolidated to just a few visits to Portland. Be sure to contact police personnel for lodging recommendations in the area. 

Hiring process


An application may be completed on-line or obtained from the City of Portland Human Resources Department (389 Congress St, Room 115, Portland, Maine). The application must be accompanied by a cover letter and resume. Resumes are used as part of the screening process so candidates are advised to submit a solid, professional resume. Upon receipt of your application, we will notify you of the next available written test date.

Written Test

Produced by a national testing firm, the written aptitude capacity test consists of multiple choice questions which measure general aptitude and attributes important in performing as an entry level police officer. The test is administered online at the Portland Police Department several times each year. For more information on the written aptitude capacity test, click here.

Physical Fitness Test

Candidates must pass the Maine Criminal Justice Academy's physical fitness test prior to attending the Academy. The test consists of sit-ups, push-ups, and a timed 1.5 mile run. A significant number of candidates are unable to pass the fitness test and, consequently must be removed from our hiring process. Please take the time to review the fitness requirements and adopt a training plan to ensure you are prepared to pass the test.
For more information on the physical fitness test, click here.

Oral Interview

Candidates who pass resume review are interviewed by a panel comprised of department representatives and a Civil Service Commissioner. These interviews are low stress with questions intended to prompt candidates to talk about themselves. The panel makes recommendations to the Chief of Police who determines which candidates will move on in the hiring process.

Background Investigation

All candidates remaining in the process are given a background book to complete. The completed book is assigned to an investigator who will work to verify its contents. The purpose of the investigation is to uncover any disqualifying events in a candidate's history. Honesty is at a premium here and false information, misinformation, or failure to disclose information will lead to removal from the hiring process. In order to expedite the process, you may download a background book and complete it prior to your interview.  Disqualifiers during the background phase include illegal drug use within five years of application. Recent marijuana use is no longer an automatic disqualifier. It is now being considered in context of the candidate's entire background. Therefore marijuana use will be reviewed on a case by case basis and will be considered based on, but not limited to, recency and frequency. Other disqualifiers are a less than honorable discharge from any branch of the military, convictions or have engaged in any conduct which would constitute Murder, Class A, Class B, Class C, or Class D crimes, or any provision of the Maine Criminal Code, Chapters 15, 19, 25, or 45 which include thefts of property valued at over $ 500.00, Falsification in Official Matters, Bribery & Corrupt Practices, and Drugs. Candidates are removed from the hiring process if they falsify or misrepresent any information during the application process , background investigation or polygraph examination. 


The Maine Criminal Justice Academy has an entrance exam called the ALERT. The ALERT must be completed before a candidate is able to receive a job offer. The ALERT is offered at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and Gorham Police Department. Please visit the MCJA website for more information about test dates. 

Conditional Job Offer

Candidates who satisfactorily complete the interview and background investigation may receive a conditional job offer. Upon acceptance of that offer, the next stages of the process take place. 

Polygraph Examination

All applicants must complete a polygraph examination. Again, the emphasis is on honesty. 

Job Suitability Assessment

This stage consists of written testing instruments employed by a Department consultant. The results of these tests and an interview are transmitted to the Department. Candidates must satisfactorily complete the job suitability assessment to continue in the hiring process.

Medical Examination

Candidates are required to undergo a comprehensive medical examination designed to reveal any medical condition that may affect work performance or require some sort of accommodation.

You're almost done!

Upon completion of all steps in the hiring process, the Chief of Police shall make a final review of the candidate's complete background file and determine if the candidate shall be given a job offer. Successful candidates are sworn in and sent the Maine Criminal Justice Academy for 18 weeks of instruction prior to beginning their career in Portland.

The City of Portland is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. We are fully committed to encouraging minority and/or female candidates to apply. 

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