Can You Get a Perfect Score on This Police Entrance Exam?



By: Ian Fortey

7 Min Quiz

Image: Anderson Ross / Stockbyte / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Being a police officer is a calling more than just a simple job: You're putting your life on the line to maintain law and order. You're tasked with protecting everyday people and ensuring that society runs according to the rules and regulations we establish for ourselves. It can be a monumental task and a huge responsibility. Of course, not everyone is cut out for that responsibility. It takes a certain kind of person who is both dedicated and skilled. You also need to have some extensive knowledge that covers a wide range of subjects.

The Police Entrance Exam is the test you need to take when you're first trying to get your foot in the door. Because it's your initial contact with the police force, the knowledge you need to have is pretty broad and general in a lot of ways. You'll be tested on everything from a basic understanding of laws to grammar, math and even spelling. All of it is integral to demonstrating that you're a well-rounded, ethical and knowledgeable person who fits into the police force and can be trusted with the awesome responsibility of upholding the laws of the land. If you think you might be cut out for this job, you should give our entrance exam a try and see how many you can get right!

You're out on patrol and discover several armed assailants attacking an unarmed bystander. What should be your first course of action?

Any situation in which you're outnumbered by armed and aggressive suspects requires you radio for reinforcements before taking any further actions. It's the safest thing to do.


What constitutional amendment protects citizens from unlawful search and seizure?

The Fourth Amendment details the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. There are instances when your right to searches can be altered, however, such as in a secure facility or, in some states, if you're on parole.


Part of police work involves judging a situation based on limited information. If you know that Paul is taller than Joe, and Dave is shorter than Joe, what does this tell you about Gary?

Unfortunately, the information in this scenario offers you no facts whatsoever about Gary, meaning you probably need to ask a few more questions to figure anything out. Keep an eye on that Gary, though, he may be up to something!


In general, what is the difference between first-degree burglary and second-degree burglary?

The line between degrees of burglaries can be a little sketchy sometimes, but in general, for it to qualify as first degree, it has to occur in a building that someone actually lives in. Second degree could just be a shed, for instance.


There is an easy way to visualize a crime scenario that includes the three basic elements of any crime: a victim, an offender and a location. What do you call this visualization tool?

The Crime Triangle makes understanding how any crime occurs easier. If you can look at a scenario and there's no victim, no assailant or no location, you can't really have a crime.


In an emergency situation, you may need to call in EOD. What does that stand for?

The EOD unit, often called the Bomb Squad, are called in for situations in which an explosive device is suspected to be present. They have the special training and expertise to ensure nothing goes off when it shouldn't.


At some point, most officers are going to pull over a driver on a suspected DWI. What does that stand for?

DWI, or driving while intoxicated (or impaired), is sometimes called DUI for "driving under the influence." Whatever the name, it refers to a driver who has been deemed to have an elevated blood alcohol level or be under the influence of narcotics.


Communication is essential to police work, which means you have to be able to read and write clearly. Finish this sentence with the correct word. "The victim claimed that the suspect fled _______ the backyard."

You may be surprised to learn that a large portion of any police exam deals with spelling, grammar and even math. That's because these communication basics are needed to write reports and read statements correctly. In this case, the word you want is "to."


A witness says they saw a pair of male suspects flee on foot down 3rd Street after breaking into a jewelry store. How many suspects are you looking for?

The witness claims to have seen two suspects fleeing. It may seem very obvious, but again, part of police work is simply paying attention to those small but significant details. It's important to be able to understand the details of any statements provided.


Spell check may not always be available when you're making reports. Find the misspelled word in the following statement: "The suspects were seen fighting in the ally next to the grocery store."

"Alley" is spelled with an "e," while "ally" means a friend or someone on your side. A small mistake like that can have an effect on the overall meaning of an entire statement.


If there are 3.5 car thefts per 1,000 cars in your city and there are 450,000 cars in the city, how many cars are expected to be stolen?

A little quick math tells us that if 3.5 cars are stolen out of every 1000, then out of 450,000 cars, you're looking at 1575 stolen cars. That's a lot of cars; someone should really call the police.


You've just arrested a drug dealer and have to file his cash into evidence. He has the following on him: 25 $100 bills, 30 $20 bills and 15 $5 bills. How much money is going into evidence?

Your suspect has $2500 worth of $100 bills, $600 worth of $20 bills and $75 worth of $5 bills for a total of $3175. No matter how much cash you run across in your day, even if it's stolen money or drug money, it needs to be logged and properly put away as evidence.


What is the median salary of a patrol officer in America?

According to the US News and World Report, the median salary of a patrol officer in 2017 was $61,050. The highest paid 25 percent made $80,230 a year. Of all the cities in America, San Jose, California was paying its officers the best at $123,810 a year. Not too shabby!


If you apprehend a suspect and find a substance you think might be narcotics, what course of action should be taken first?

Whenever you encounter a substance that is unidentified but may be narcotics, you'll need to first notify a ranking officer that you found the substance, then make note of it in an activity log before having it identified at the police lab. You know that thing in movies where they taste it? Never do that.


A homicide suspect is described as a white male, late 30s, wearing black pants and sporting a face tattoo. Which detail about his description is the most helpful in identifying him?

A face tattoo is definitely a unique and unusual detail about any individual. When you're getting the description of a suspect, the unique details are the ones that are going to be most helpful in identifying someone. His race and age, for instance, are common to many people.


Part of your duties as a police officer may see you evacuating citizens from a location that poses an imminent risk to everyone's safety. What kind of situation might require such an evacuation?

A gas leak is the only one that presents a clear and present danger to all citizens in the area, and evacuation would be the most prudent course of action until the situation is resolved. You may not be busting criminals or handing out tickets in that situation, but keeping people safe is the job, and it can take many forms.


Under what circumstances would you need put up a barricade on a roadway?

Barricades may be needed for public safety reasons, and generally only if something unexpected that presents a clear risk is happening—like a street washed out by a river that would be dangerous for drivers to attempt to pass.


There's a suspect whose bail has been set at $15,000. If 10 percent of the bail needs to be paid in cash, how much money needs to be paid?

If the whole bail is $15,000 and you're looking for 10 percent, you just need to move the decimal point one place to the left and you'll come up with $1,500. You'd be surprised how many simple little math equations pop up in the life of a police officer.


You're investigating a burglary at a Walmart. Seven televisions worth a total of $4690 were stolen. What's the average value of each TV?

The average value of each television is $670. It's worth noting that none of the TVs actually have to be worth that much on their own; we're just averaging for the sake of determining value. You thought you could get away from math, but it creeps into work in all sorts of places!


There has been a rash of robberies in a neighborhood you patrol. Yesterday, you _______ seven different complaints.

The proper grammar in this sentence is "received." It may not seem like a big deal at first, but imagine having to go over dozens, if not hundreds, of pages of reports with poor grammar and spelling. That's practically its own crime.


What does it mean when someone is describing a suspect and uses the abbreviation "LSW?"

When you're describing a suspect, it's helpful to know what they were last seen wearing, as it can help you pick them out during your search. To save time. there are plenty of abbreviations to learn, which should be no problem for anyone who's been raised online. TTYL.


As part of your job, you visit local businesses to talk about theft prevention. You visit four businesses every week of the year, except for two weeks when you're on vacation. How many businesses are you visiting a year?

You're visiting businesses 50 weeks out of the year and at a rate of four per week, that's 200 businesses every year. Math is your friend! It's also worth noting this is a thing you could really end up doing as a police officer, just getting to know the local businesses and helping to keep them all as safe as they can be.


What is the constitutional amendment that prohibits cruel and unusual punishment?

The 8th Amendment not only prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, it also prohibits excessive bails and fines. Odds are, in your work as a police officer, you're going to meet a few suspects who think any punishment is cruel and unusual.


How does the 6th Amendment relate to the rights of a suspect in custody?

The 6th Amendment assures you have the right to a lawyer in all criminal cases, and also the right to a speedy and fair trial by an impartial jury. This one's pretty famous to anyone who ever watches cop shows, since it's right at the beginning of your Miranda rights.


Which constitutional amendment protects against violations of due process in criminal proceedings?

The 5th Amendment ensures that no one can be compelled to testify against themselves, what most people know as "pleading the 5th." It also prohibits double jeopardy!


Complete this statement: "Officer Jones _______ working a double shift tonight."

Mastering grammar is important to making sure reports are clear and easy to understand for everyone. In this case, Officer Jones is working a double shift. It's possible Jones also loves working a double shift tonight, but that wasn't an option, so ...


Pick the number that should come next in this series: 32/32, 12/16, 6/12, ...

You'd be surprised how often you need to know numbers and patterns in police work. In this case, 32/32 = one whole, 12/16 = 3/4, 6/12 = 1/2 and the next number in the sequence will be 1/4, since the pattern is decreasing by quarters. Good for measurements in baking, too!


You're bringing an intoxicated suspect to jail and discover that $500 has fallen out of his pocket into your police cruiser. What should you do?

Always make a note of a suspect's belongings when you bring them in. Make a note about the money and then hand it off to someone at the jail to catalog and store until the suspect is released. Despite the fact your suspect is drunk and may have committed a crime, if there's no evidence they stole that money, it still belongs to them.


Several calls have come in complaining about a loud party. The homeowner apologizes for the noise and explains that his son just came back from serving in the military, so they're celebrating. What do you do?

If you've gone out to issue a noise citation and discover that the party is in violation of noise ordinances, you must issue the citation. A sympathetic story doesn't change the way laws are enforced, even if you understand the situation.


If you're in pursuit of a suspect and your commanding officer gets on the radio and orders you to end the pursuit, what do you?

You need to assume that your commanding officer has a reason for all orders given and follow them when they're given. Likely, they will be open to discussing their reasons with you later, if you want to ask.


What does the abbreviation "L.K.A." stand for?

If you're need to know someone's L.K.A., you're looking for their last known address. Little abbreviations like this help make reporting and communicating easier, since they're shaving a bit of time off your day and likely making your mundane paperwork go a little quicker.


A shift at a police department is called a watch. How many watches are in a day?

A watch is an 8-hour shift, and there are three watches during a day. The first watch is usually a midnight shift, the second watch starts in the morning, often at 8 a.m., and then the third watch typically goes from 4 p.m. to midnight.


What are you referring to when you talk about a suspect's BAC?

Blood Alcohol Concentration is used to determine the level of alcohol in someone's blood, or in simpler terms, how drunk someone is. The legal limit can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it's always good to know the right number.


If you issue a traffic citation to someone, who has the authority to dismiss it?

Once you've issued a traffic citation, it's up to the court to determine whether or not it stands or it should be dismissed. No one else has the authority to do that. Despite that, many people will try to plead with you on the street to take it back.


What's the name of the test an officer can give a suspect at the scene of a traffic stop when they feel the suspect may be intoxicated?

When someone is pulled over and suspected of being under the influence, a field sobriety test can be used to help determine the suspect's degree of coordination. You've probably seen this in movies before, and it may involve asking the suspect to walk a straight line or recite the alphabet.


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