Lateral applicants

Are you a current law enforcement officer looking for a change of scenery? Becoming a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officer can provide you with the challenge, adventure, specialized training and diverse patrol environment you crave.

The WDFW Police are looking for candidates who exemplify our core values (Accountability, Service, Professionalism, Integrity, Respect and Empathy) who can bring existing experience and build on it to step off the pavement and effectively engage with the public on fishing, wildlife and conservation issues

Before applying, be sure to check out our list of minimum requirements and potential disqualifiers. Then, if you’re ready to take the next step in your career, visit the third-party Public Safety Testing system to begin the application process.

Testing phases

Phase 1

  • Apply and schedule a test date with Public Safety Testing (select the "Lateral" option)
  • Complete the Law Enforcement Exam and Physical Fitness Ability test
  • Chief's interview (scheduled as needed)
  • Suitability assessment screening
  • Background investigation

Phase 2

  • Conditional offer of employment
  • Polygraph
  • Psychological Assessment
  • Pre-employment medical exam with screening

Required training

All lateral officers must complete the In-House Training Academy at WDFW headquarters in Olympia. This training spans four weeks and covers such topics as commercial fishing and hunting, species identification, boating safety, dangerous wildlife control, firearms, and more.

If you’ve completed the Basic Law Enforcement Academy at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Center (CJTC), upon hire, you’ll be given a date to begin the in-house training.

If you’re a lateral officer who completed a basic training program in another state, you’ll first have to complete the 80-hour CJTC Equivalency Academy in Burien, WA. For this purpose, the term "basic training program" does not include any military or reserve training program or any federal training program not otherwise approved by the commission. See the CJTC Equivalency Reciprocity Summary for more information.

New hires are paid while they attend the equivalency academy. Lodging and meals are also paid.

Competitive benefits, unique opportunities

The WDFW Police offer a robust pay and benefits package, along with opportunities for advancement into supervisory or specialty roles, including work as a detective, firearms instructor, or Karelian bear dog handler.

Have other questions? Visit our FAQ page or contact our Recruitment and Hiring Division at