For more information on becoming an officer, see below.
In order to be considered for a position with the City of Bozeman Police Department as a police officer, applicants must meet the minimum following qualifications:
- Be a citizen of the United States;
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Be fingerprinted and a search made of the local, state, and national fingerprint files to disclose any criminal record;
- Must not have been convicted of a crime for which the person could have been imprisoned in a federal or state penitentiary;
- Be of good moral character, and conduct personal life above reproach as determined by a thorough background investigation;
- Be a high school graduate or possess a G.E.D. certificate;
- Possess or be eligible to obtain a Montana driver’s license at time of hiring;
- Be of sound physical and mental health;
Please note that meeting the above minimums does not guarantee an opportunity to participate in the rest of the selection process. Applications are screened and prioritized prior to the start of all hiring processes.
The following disqualifiers will automatically make you ineligible to become a Bozeman Police Officer:
- Convicted of a crime for which the person could have been imprisoned in a federal or state penitentiary.
- Convicted of a crime of domestic violence in any state that would be a conviction pursuant to §45-5-209 M.C.A., Partner or Family Member Assault.
- Convicted of a crime of domestic violence as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 921(a) (33) A).
- Dishonorably discharged from the armed forces and unable to possess a firearm in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 922.
- Demonstrated a pattern of violence, including domestic violence, regardless of whether or not resulting in conviction.
- Past or ongoing affiliation with, and/or support of, an organization or group which fosters anti-government beliefs or any organization that supports hatred toward any protected class or advocates violence or disruption of government, or whose organizational or individual goals are contrary to the interests of public safety and welfare.
- Demonstrated a pattern of bias constituting racial, gender, age, religion, ethnic, national origin, sexual orientation, sexual harassment or other discrimination.
- Evidence that the applicant has willfully provided false information, misleading information or omitted information during the application or background investigation process.
- Fail to possess a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma.
- Been registered as a violent or sexual offender in any state.
- Unable to work rotating shifts, weekends and/or holidays.
- Fail to satisfy pre-employment medical requirements.
Please note that the list above is not comprehensive.
After the application process closes, applications are reviewed for completeness and accuracy and to ensure candidates meet minimum requirements. Candidates are also screened and prioritized based on numerous criteria, including:
- Education beyond high school;
- Prior law enforcement experience;
- Public service experience;
- Prior military experience.
Candidates selected from the screening process will be interviewed by phone.
After the screening process and phone interview, successful candidates will be invited to participate in the hiring week. Candidates must successfully pass each portion below before moving on in the process.
- The test takes a total of 75 minutes and is made up of four separately timed sections. The mathematics, reading comprehension and grammar sections are multiple-choice and true or false questions. The incident report writing section requires answers written in complete sentences.
- Failure to meet the minimum passing score eliminates a candidate from the selection process.
Physical Abilities Test
- The physical abilities test used is the Montana Physical Abilities Test (MPAT). The MPAT test measures the strength, flexibility and endurance law enforcement officers need to perform the essential functions of their positions.
- Video example of the MPAT
- Failure to complete the MPAT in 6:30 eliminates a candidate from the selection process.
Oral Board Interview
- Candidates must satisfactorily complete a structured interview before a panel involving questions related to being a Bozeman Police officer.
- Results from all candidate interviews will be ranked to determine which candidates continue in the process.
Chief's Oral Interview
- Candidates must satisfactorily complete a structured interview with members of the Bozeman Police Department command staff.
- Results from all candidate interviews will be ranked to determine which candidates continue in the process.
Candidates continuing past this portion will be given a conditional job offer, contingent on completing the rest of the process.
Selected applicants must complete and pass an extensive psychological evaluation and personality testing.
Selected applicants must pass an extensive background investigation which includes, at a minimum:
- criminal history records check
- driving records history check
- previous employer reference checks
- credit check
- fingerprint check
- verification of application materials and qualifications
Selected applicants must pass an extensive physical examination, which includes the following tests and requirements:
- Review of medical history
- Vital Signs
- Complete physical examination
- Vision tests: (corrected/uncorrected; near/far; Farnsworth D-15; peripheral; depth perception; Ishihara)
- Corrected distant vision minimum must be 20/40 in each eye and 20/20 binocularly.
- Corrected near vision of no less than 20/40 in the better eye.
- Uncorrected distant vision with glasses or hard contacts should be 20/100 binocularly.
- Successful long-term soft contact lens wearers shall not be subject to the uncorrected criteria. Lens wearers require a letter from an optometrist or ophthalmologist stating that they have been a successful wearer for at least 12 months.
- Hearing tests:
- Hearing Thresholds: no greater than 25 dB average or less loss in each ear at frequencies of 500, 1000, 2000 and 3000 Hz.
- Symmetrical Hearing: no greater than 15 dB average variation at frequencies of 500, 1000 and 2000 Hz and no more than 30 dB average variation at frequencies of 3000, 4000 and 6000 Hz.
- Spirometry test.
- Resting EKG.
- One view chest x-ray with radiologist read.
- VO2 Submaximal treadmill test (and possibly a Stress Echocardiogram, based on cardiac risk stratification).
- Health screen panel, to include CBC, fasting lipids, metabolic panel, uric acid, TSH, iron.
Yes, we hire lateral officers!
We currently have lateral officers from numerous other parts of Montana. We also have laterals from California, Florida, Colorado, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Louisiana, Kansas, Maryland, and Georgia.
- Lateral level police officers are experienced, certified police officers who have worked for other law enforcement agencies either in Montana or another state.
- If not POST certified in Montana, lateral candidates should first refer to the Montana Department of Justice Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) office for additional requirements for applying as a lateral police officer.
- If not currently employed with a law enforcement agency, lateral candidates must still be certified as a law enforcement officer either in Montana or another state.
- Lateral candidates must have worked for a law enforcement agency for at least one full year.
- Federal law enforcement officers, military police officers, correction/detention officers, jailers, special or reserve officers/deputies or similar positions do not qualify to apply as a lateral candidate.
- Under the Bozeman Police Protective Association's contract, lateral officers are eligible to receive up to 5 years of credit for prior experience when determining their starting rate of pay. At the Chief of Police's discretion, officers can begin anywhere from what a 1 year to a 5 year current Bozeman Police officer is paid.
- If applying as a lateral officer, a phone interview will be conducted during the screening process to determine eligibility as a peace officer.
- Out of state applicants applying as a lateral do NOT need to contact POST or obtain any Montana certification before applying. The first step is to apply directly to our agency.
- If hired as a lateral, officers will be exempted from attending the Montana Law Enforcement Academy Basic Program, but will be required to submit their certifications and pass an equivalency exam.
Upon being hired, all officers begin with three weeks of initial training covering various topics.
Montana Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) Basic Program
- All entry level officers attend the basic program which consists of 12 weeks of academic and physical training.
- All lateral officers from other states must submit their certifications and pass an equivalency program to be exempt from attending the basic program.
- All lateral officers certified in Montana are exempt from participating or attending any portion of this program.
- MLEA website
Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTEP)
- All officers participate in a 14-week field training program, partnering with experienced field training officers (FTOs).
- Lateral officers will begin this program immediately after the initial training.
- Entry level officers will begin this program after graduating from the MLEA Basic Program.
All officers must successfully complete a one-year probationary period to continue their employment with the Bozeman Police Department.
All officers receive ongoing training and certifications in numerous areas and disciplines.
Specialized Duty Training
Officers assigned to specific duties or tasks within patrol receive training unique to their duty.
This includes training specific to such duties as Field Training Officer, Mountain Bike Officer, Motorcycle Officer, Special Response Team member, Senior (Intoxilyzer) Operator, Crisis Intervention Team member, and numerous others. It also includes opportunities to be trained as a departmental instructor in such things as firearms, defensive tactics, Police Vehicle Operations Course, and numerous other disciplines.
Specialized Assignment Training
Officers assigned to other units or assignments within the department receiving training unique to that assignment. This includes such positions as Property Crimes Detective, Crimes Against Persons Detective, School Resource Officer, Community Resource Officer, and Missouri River Drug Task Force Detective.
Officers who are promoted within the department receive training regarding that position. This includes training such as first line supervision classes, the "sergeant academy," the Montana Executive Leadership Academy, and the FBI National Academy.
- PREPARATION: You must prepare for EVERY stage of the hiring process. This includes the initial testing process, interviews, background investigation, etc. The prepared are noticed and so are the unprepared. Be noticed for the right reasons! Prepare for commonly asked questions by referring to various resources and talking with others now working in the field. Maintain physical fitness and practice wellness. Diligent preparation often makes the difference between successful and unsuccessful candidates. You certainly can be the BEST PREPARED candidate!
- FOLLOW APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS: You must meticulously read and follow all instructions. Application and background forms must contain all required information. Failure to follow written or verbal instructions reflects poorly on the applicant, and in some cases may result in disqualification. Public safety positions demand rigorous attention to detail and thoroughness. Sloppy, incomplete and error-filled paperwork may indicate an applicant’s lack of attention to detail and an overall lack of professionalism.
- HONESTY: In all phases of the selection process, be completely truthful. This means providing total and complete information. Information provided at each step of the process is validated against information that was previously provided. Dishonesty in any form will result in immediate disqualification—and is the #1 reason candidates are eliminated from the hiring process. Integrity, honesty and trustworthiness are essential. Honesty is your responsibility.
- COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS: Oral and written communication skills are critical in public safety occupations, and are emphasized in the testing process. Read the job description and qualifications thoroughly and ensure that you highlight your relevant skills and experiences in these areas in your application and resume. Applications can only be scored based on what you write. During oral interviews make eye contact with all panel members and practice concise, confident answers. Oral communication skills and the ability to establish rapport with an interview panel can be developed through practice and honest feedback from others.
- KNOWLEDGE OF OCCUPATION & DEPARTMENT: Applicants must have a solid knowledge of the specific duties and demands of the profession, as well as knowledge of the Bozeman Police Department and our jurisdiction. Good sources are the department and city website, the department’s annual report, talking to department employees, friends in the profession, and ride-a-longs. Failure to possess basic knowledge about the Department or the position for which you are applying indicates an applicant who is neither serious nor passionate about the profession or the Bozeman Police Department.
- PUNCTUALITY: Arrive at all appointments at least 15 minutes early. Develop a habit of being early. Arriving late for scheduled appointments could result in disqualification from the process. Anticipate any possible cause for a delay. Poor time management skills will reflect negatively on applicants.
- PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS ATTIRE: Dress and groom professionally and conservatively during any interview: business attire is usually best. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The Bozeman Department expects professional, conservative dress and grooming. If you are unsure what that is, ask someone who knows.
- CANDOR & SINCERITY: Demonstrate sincerity, candor, integrity, conviction and honesty. If you are not yourself, it will show. Avoid canned responses; we want to see who you are, how you think and what you value.
- KNOW YOURSELF: Know why you want to work in public safety, and how your background, skills and aptitude indicate success in performing specific duties. The Bozeman Police Department wants to know your capability and potential to address the various issues and challenges faced in public safety and in our community.
- LISTEN CAREFULLY: Be an active listener, especially during the interview process. Listen carefully to the questions asked and think before you respond. Take a few seconds to formulate a thoughtful, concise answer. Active listening is a valuable skill in all jobs, especially police work.
Officer Hiring FAQs
If you have any questions or want more information after reading the posted information, please contact Captain Andy Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 406-582-2023.