Law Enforcement Officer Position

Bellingham Police Department - Police Officer



The information herein is provided by the respective agency and is only as accurate and as up-to-date as the agency representative(s) update this information. PST is not responsible for the veracity of this data as it is provided directly from the agency. It is ultimately the applicant's responsibility to verify any information about the agency with the agency.

Bellingham Police Department - Police Officer

Last updated on February 14, 2023
PST Partner Agency since April 05, 2016

Vacancies: 7-12

Testing Deadline: December 31, 2023.

Important Information

This process is an open and continuous examination. Applications will be reviewed as they are received on an ongoing basis. Candidates will be notified of their rank and score regularly as incoming applications are reviewed.

  • Patrol Officers work a 1040 work schedule of five, 10.7 hour days on, four days off, five days on, four days off, five days on, five days off, repeating monthly.
  • Training opportunities, the 1040 work schedule allows for one full training day a month.
  • For a limited time, the Bellingham Police Department is offering a $2,000 hiring incentive to those who speak a qualified second language (Spanish, Russian, Punjabi, Mandarin, and/or American Sign Language or Signing Exact English). The first seven newly hired officers who are deemed conversationally proficient by a subject matter expert and qualify for the Bilingual Premium will receive the hiring incentive. This hiring incentive expires on 6/20/2023.

This recruitment process will create a Civil Service register that will be used to fill anticipated vacancies. This position is represented by a union.

The City of Bellingham is actively seeking qualified applicants for the position of Police Officer Recruit. Applicants interested in this position must complete testing through Public Safety Testing.

Applicants interested in this position must complete testing through Public Safety Testing. Please visit the Public Safety Testing website ( Applicants must complete the written exam and pass the physical ability test through Public Safety Testing prior to being invited to apply.

NOTE: Employees will remain in the Recruit classification in probationary status prior to and while attending the Police Academy. With successful completion of the Police Academy, the employee shall move to the Full Performance Police Officer classification in a non-competitive promotion effective the first day of the pay period immediately following such academy completion. A standard 12-month Civil Service probationary period applies for all officers following placement into the Full Performance Police Officer classification.

The City of Bellingham is a classified Civil Service System using ranked eligibility lists developed from test scores to select final candidates for hire.

Qualified candidates will be placed on a ranked eligibility list based on the written exam score. The top scoring 15 candidates or the top 25%, whichever is greater, will be referred to the Department for final assessment.

Please refer to the City of Bellingham employment website for more information and fill out a job interest alert to receive email notification with the most recent information on public safety career opportunities.

Community Information

On the shores of Bellingham Bay with Mount Baker as its backdrop, Bellingham is the last major city before the Washington coastline meets the Canadian border. The City of Bellingham, which serves as the county seat of Whatcom County, is at the center of a uniquely picturesque area offering a rich variety of recreational, cultural, educational and economic activities.

Department Information

Due to the unique character of our City, the beauty of the surrounding landscape and diverse opportunities within our agency, working at the Bellingham Police Department offers an unmatched quality of life for those seeking a career in law enforcement.

Regardless of where your career takes you at BPD, officers hired with our department start off at the Basic Law Enforcement Academy in Burien, Washington. After graduating from the academy, new officers returning to Bellingham start the Field Training program while assigned to the patrol division. Since 2005, the patrol division has utilized a schedule based on a 10.7 hour work day. The work week is 5 days long and officers enjoy rotating weekends of 4 or 5 days off at a time.

Once the necessary experience has been gained while working on patrol, officers have the opportunity to apply for a variety of specialty units within the department. See our About Us section for details. Whether you find yourself riding our local trails as a bike officer, conducting surveillance in our Special Investigations Unit, or tracking down suspects with your K-9 partner, each position has qualities that appeal to a wide range of personalities and interests. In addition to unique job descriptions of each specialty unit, the hours and shifts differ as well which can provide officers with a healthy change of pace throughout their career.

With approximately 120 commissioned officers, our department offers innovative training, modern equipment and diverse specialty units often associated with larger departments. At the same time our employees enjoy benefits felt at many smaller departments in terms of being a close-knit work group where every face becomes familiar over time. If being part of a team that makes a positive impact in the community sounds appealing, then we encourage you to seek out employment opportunities at our department.

Area Information

County: Whatcom
Population: 91,800
# of Staff: Over 100 commissioned officers

Hiring Status

Bellingham Police Department - Police Officer has 7-12 vacancies.

The deadline to test for the next hiring cycle is December 31, 2023.

Qualified candidates will be placed on a ranked eligibility register based on the written exam score. The top scoring 15 candidates or the top 25%, whichever is greater, will be referred to the Department for final assessment. 

Each candidate placed on the Civil Service Eligibility Register will remain on the register for 2 months from the date of their placement on the registerCandidates will be notified of their rank and score regularly as incoming applications are reviewed.

Example: John Smith was placed on the eligibility register on April 24, 2021 and will remain on the register through June 23, 2021 while Sue Jones was placed on the eligibility register on May 10, 2021 and will remain on the register through July 9, 2021.

Salary Information

Recruit salary is $5,821/month. Upon entry to the Basic Law Enforcement Academy salary is $6,403/month. 

Upon graduation from the Basic Law Enforcement Academy the salary is $6,595. 

The salary range for a Full Performance Police Officer is $6,595-$8,485/month.

Benefit Information

City of Bellingham employees receive medical, dental, and vision insurance as well as life insurance and long-term disability. Additional benefits include flexible spending accounts, a medical insurance opt-out program, and access to our employee assistance program. All eligible City employees are enrolled in a Washington State Department of Retirement Systems pension plan. Additionally, employees may elect to participate in the City’s 457 deferred compensation retirement savings plan.

Employees will receive 12 paid designated holidays in addition to one paid floating holiday each year. Upon hire, new employees are provided a sick leave bank of 216 hours for use during their first two years in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement and Washington State Law. At the time of hire, employees will accrue 7.34 hours of vacation per month. Vacation accruals increase based on years of service. Leave accruals are based on 1.0 FTE, accruals are pro-rated if part-time and require employees to be in paid status at least 120 hours/month.

For additional information regarding benefits and compensation Information please visit the following:

For more information regarding salary, benefits, specialty units and premiums, view our recruitment page.

Bellingham Police Department - Police Officer Requirements

Category Requirement Required at time of...
    Test Hire
Written Examination Yes, required
LEO/CO Physical Ability Test (PAT) Yes, required

Your physical ability test must be completed 90 days (~3 months) before or after your passing written exam.

Minimum Age 21 years of age.
US Citizen/Lawful Permanent Resident US Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident.
Washington State residency by time of hire.
High School Grad/ GED Yes
Driver's License Required Valid Washington State driver's license by time of hire and good driving record. A three year driving abstract must be submitted prior to hire, with periodic submission of driving abstract per City policy.
Felony Conviction(s) as an Adult No record of felony convictions.
Felony Conviction(s) as a Juvenile Felony convictions as a juvenile and misdemeanor convictions will be reviewed. A misdemeanor conviction will not necessarily disqualify and applicant, but offenses, by their nature and recentness, may reveal a lack of specific qualifications for this position.
Ability to Read & Write the English Language Yes
Vision Requirements Uncorrected vision in either eye of 20/100 or better, vision able to be corrected to 20/20 in better eye and 20/30 in lesser eye. Visual acuity including closeness, distance, color, peripheral and depth perception, with the ability to adjust focus and to read a computer screen and typewritten page.
College Requirement

Associate's Degree or two years (90 quarter hours/60 semester hours) of general education course work toward a degree at an accredited college or university.

  • The requirement for an Associates Degree or two years of general education course work has been temporarily suspended under a pilot program. All officers hired while the pilot program is in effect will not be required to have or obtain the education requirement.
Other Tattoos on the face, neck, hands, fingers, tongue, scalp or ears are prohibited. At no time while on duty or representing the Department in any capacity, shall any offensive tattoo or body art be visible. Tattoos that consist of religious or political symbolism shall not be visible while on duty.

Possession of, or ability to obtain, Red Cross certification for Infant/Child and Adult CPR and Standard First Aid within two years of hire.
Multiple Scores from Same Applicant We only consider the most recent score
Request/Access Scores Scores are pulled on a weekly basis.

Contact Information

Bellingham Police Department - Police Officer

505 Grand Avenue
Bellingham, WA 98225 Whatcom County


Agency Test Requirements
Written Examination: Yes, required
PAT: Yes, required

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