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Frequently Asked Questions

WDFW Police Dungeness crab check

Are you currently hiring?

Yes! We have several vacant Fish and Wildlife Officer positions statewide that we are trying to fill due to recent retirements and promotions.

Am I an entry level or lateral applicant?

An entry level applicant is someone who has not previously worked as a general authority police officer. Please note: applicants who have served as military police in a branch of the military service are considered entry level applicants, unless they have worked as a general authority peace officer after fulfilling their military service.

A lateral applicant is a candidate who is currently a certified general authority peace officer in good standing, and has worked as a full-time law enforcement officer for at least two years (from date of commissioning). Work as a Corrections Officer, Military Police, or State Park Ranger does not qualify as general authority law enforcement experience.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a lateral applicant, please contact our Recruitment and Hiring Division at OfficerRecruitment@dfw.wa.gov or 360.902.2929.

What are your minimum requirements for a Fish and Wildlife Police Officer?

You can find minimum eligibility requirements for an entry level applicant here.

Minimum requirements for lateral applicants can be found here.

Please note: We do not offer waivers for educational requirements.

How do I know whether something I did in my past might disqualify me?

Certain past behaviors and circumstances may disqualify you from applying. For a full list of automatic and potential disqualifiers, click here.

If you have any automatic disqualifying factors that are on the list, do not apply to become a Fish and Wildlife Police Officer.

Please keep in mind that potential disqualifiers are considered in the context of all other information that is obtained about an individual while completing the hiring process. Although you're welcome to contact us to discuss potential disqualifiers, we cannot tell you with absolute certainty whether certain past behaviors may disqualify you until all relevant information is available to us.

Is there an age limit for candidates?

No. We have a minimum age requirement (21), but we do not have a maximum age limit. As long as you meet our minimum eligibility requirements, do not have any disqualifying factors, successfully complete all of our pre-employment exams and are declared fit to perform the duties of a Fish and Wildlife Police Officer, you can be hired.

WDFW Police snow patrolHow do I apply to become a Fish and Wildlife Police Officer?

Although all candidates must apply through Public Safety Testing, the hiring processes for entry level and lateral applicants are slightly different.

For information about the entry level hiring process, please click here.

For information about applying as a lateral applicant, please click here.

I'm not a Washington resident. Can I still apply?

Yes! We hire many out-of-state officers. However, please understand that the majority of our testing takes place in Washington, so an out-of-state applicant must be willing and able to travel here on at least three to five separate occasions (depending on whether you are a lateral or entry level applicant) to complete the hiring process.

 

Can I apply if I have a tattoo(s)?

Our current policy states that tattoos may not be visible outside of the uniform. Tattoos on the face, neck, hands, head, etc., that are not able to be covered by the uniform are not permissible.

When should I apply?

You may apply at any time after you meet the minimum requirements for the position. You may not apply in anticipation of meeting the requirements sometime in the future.

However, there may be instances where an applicant is scheduled to receive their college diploma within a month or two of a scheduled oral panel. Please contact us at OfficerRecruitment@dfw.wa.gov or 360.902.2929 to discuss your specific circumstances.

Applicants who are currently in the military and meet our minimum requirements should begin the application process at least six months before their separation date. Of course, this will depend on the applicant's availability to travel for scheduled interviews and exams. For more information about the hiring process, please click here.

I'll be graduating from college and receiving my degree in a couple of months. Can I apply before I have my actual degree?

You must be able to provide a copy of your degree and official transcripts before we begin the background investigation, which takes place immediately after the oral panel. We will not delay the hiring process in anticipation of receiving these documents.

WDFW Police marine patrol checksHow long does the hiring process take?

This depends on the timing of scheduled oral panels, as well as the availability of the applicant and various contracted examiners (polygraph, psychological assessment, medical, etc.). We must also consider the schedule of the Basic Law Enforcement Academy or Equivalency Academy, and available start dates. Generally, the hiring process takes 3 to 5 months to complete.

What happens if I fail a portion of the testing process?

If you fail the initial written and physical exams through Public Safety Testing, your name will not be forwarded to us for consideration. You will have to work directly with Public Safety Testing to determine when you'll be eligible to re-test.

If you fail any other portion of the hiring process, but are not disqualified, you may be eligible to participate in another oral panel after six months. This will depend on whether your Public Safety Testing score is still valid (scores expire after one year).

If you are permanently disqualified at any point during our hiring process, you may not reapply at any time.

How often do you hold oral panels?

When we have vacancies, we generally hold two oral panels per year.

I am currently preparing to separate from the military. When should I apply?

Applicants who are currently in the military and meet our minimum requirements should begin the application process at least six months before their separation date. Of course, this will depend on the applicant's availability to travel for scheduled interviews and exams. For more information about the hiring process, please click here.

If I have military experience, do I still need a degree?

We do recognize military training and experience as applicable to this career, and have reduced the minimum educational requirement for veterans. Applicants who have served at least three years of active military duty in the last nine years are required to have a minimum of an Associate Degree (instead of a Bachelor's Degree).

I have a top secret clearance through the military. Do I still have to complete your background investigation?

Yes. Your clearance through the military does not transfer over. We are required by law (RCW 43.101.095) to complete a background investigation, polygraph, and psychological assessment on every candidate, regardless of prior clearance granted by another entity.

Where can I find a list of available duty stations?

We do not provide a list of available duty stations to prospective candidates. Because our hiring process takes 3 to 5 months to complete, and we consistently have other applicants going through various phases of the process at the same time, the list of available duty stations changes frequently. The stations that are vacant today may not be vacant by the time an applicant completes our hiring process. This is why we require all applicants to be willing and able to live anywhere in the State of Washington.

Do I get to pick my duty station?

No. Candidates must be willing to accept a Fish and Wildlife Officer (FWO) position anywhere in the state. Duty stations are assigned based on designated patrol priorities. We also consider any special skills or experience that a recruit may possess (i.e., a recruit with a Master Vessel Operator certification may be assigned to a marine station). If you are not willing and able to move, you should not apply.

When will I know where I'll be stationed?

An entry level recruit will be assigned a duty station before he or she enters the Basic Law Enforcement Academy to allow ample time to establish residence (if a move is required) before initial training is complete.

A lateral recruit will be assigned a duty station at the completion of all phases of testing.

WDFW Police - Chief for a DayWill I have to go through a Basic Law Enforcement Academy?

It depends. 

All entry level Fish and Wildlife Police Officers are required to complete the Basic Law Enforcement Academy (BLEA) at the Criminal Justice Training Center, along with all other law enforcement officers in the State of Washington.

Lateral Fish and Wildlife Police Officers who are certified peace officers in the State of Washington will not have to complete BLEA or the BLEA Equivalency.

Lateral Fish and Wildlife Police Officers who are certified peace officers in another state will have to complete the BLEA Equivalency Academy.

How long does the Basic Law Enforcement Academy take?

The Basic Law Enforcement Academy requires 720 hours (18 weeks) of training. Recruits can choose to stay at the Academy or commute from home if they live within commuting distance. However, we recommend staying at the Academy to allow a recruit to focus completely on training.

What is the BLEA Equivalency Academy?

The BLEA Equivalency Academy requires 80 hours of training, including written exams, practical exercises, and orientation, over a two-week period at the Criminal Justice Training Center in Burien. For more information about the BLEA Equivalency Academy, click here.

Will I be paid while I attend the Basic Law Enforcement Academy or BLEA Equivalency Academy?

Yes. Recruits are hired by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife prior to entering the Academy, and are therefore paid employees while completing initial training. We also pay for your lodging and meals while at the Academy.

I would like to be an intern for the WDFW Police. How do I sign up?

We currently do not have an internship program in place. However, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has many volunteer opportunities available. If you'd like to volunteer with our Department, please visit the Volunteer Opportunities website, or contact the WDFW Volunteer Coordinator at 360.902.8303.

Do you offer ridealongs with Fish and Wildlife Officers?

Ridealongs are offered to individuals interested in pursuing a career as a Fish and Wildlife Police Officer. You must be at least 18 years old to request a ridealong.Please Note: Due to limited staffing and the nature of our work, opportunities for ridealongs are limited. Candidates who have already applied and completed initial testing through Public Safety Testing take precedence.

How do I schedule a ridealong?

To schedule a ridealong, you'll need to contact WILDCOMM (the WDFW Police dispatch center). Please call 360.902.2936, and choose option 2 or 3 to speak with a Communications Officer and request a ridealong. All requestors will have to pass a simple background check before they are allowed to ride with one of our Officers.

For candidates wanting to ridealong in preparation for an oral panel, we suggest requesting a ridealong as soon as you complete initial testing. Do not wait until the last minute.

Still have questions? Contact us at officerrecruitment@dfw.wa.gov.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is an equal opportunity employer.