FAQ for laterals

Q: As a Lateral Officer do I have to complete the Washington State Police Academy?

A: Out-of-State Lateral Officers must complete an Equivalency Academy within one year.  Out-of-State Lateral Officers who have had a two year or longer break in service do not qualify as Lateral Candidates and must attend the Basic Law Enforcement Academy.  Lateral Officers from within the State of Washington who have had a three year or longer break in service will have to attend the Equivalency Academy.  For more information about the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, visit www.cjtc.state.wa.us.  

Q: What is this new Peace Officer Certification that is required in Washington State?

A: The primary purpose of peace officer certification is to ensure that law enforcement agencies do not hire or retain officers who: (A) have been discharged by a law enforcement employer for serious misconduct (B) have convictions for certain criminal offenses; or (C) have otherwise proved themselves to be unsuitable to be peace officers. Be sure to read about the new law governing Peace Officer Certification in Washington.

Q: As a Lateral Officer, do I have to go through a Field Training Program?

A: Yes. All of our officers go through the Field Training Program.

Q: How long is the Field Training program?

A: The Field Training Program is 14 work weeks, divided into 4 phases. Each of the first three phases lasts 4 work weeks. The last phase lasts 2 weeks. Due to our 5-on/4-off 5-on/4-off 5-on/5-off schedule, the program takes just over 4 months to complete.

Q: Do I stay with the same Field Training Officer for the entire 14 weeks?

A: No. You will have 3 different FTO's. You will work with each FTO for four weeks. When you rotate to the final phase, you will be reassigned to your first FTO. At this final stage the FTO is not actively involved in your work, and merely observes and rates performance based on the program criteria.

Q: If I am progressing quickly due to my experience, can I be released early from the Field Training Program?

A: Lateral Officers can be released early from the Field Training Program, but must complete a minimum of 10 weeks.   Early release from the program is based upon many factors including FTO recommendations and approval by the FTO Sergeant and FTO Lieutenant.

Q: What model is the Vancouver Police Field Training Program based on?

A: We use the San Jose PD Field Training Program model, which has been established as a fair, impartial, and accurate performance assessment vehicle.

Q: What is the biggest challenge facing Lateral Entry Officers?

A: For Out-of-State Officers, the biggest challenge is learning the new laws, geography and departmental procedures.   For WA State officers, it is just the new geography and procedures.  

As a qualified Lateral Applicant, we would expect only that you bring with you an open mind and positive attitude.  We welcome the experience and expertise that you will bring.  We have officers who have come to us from other police departments all across the country.  The melting pot of experience at the Vancouver Police Department makes us unique and adept at ever-changing tactics and roles in the policing profession.  We invite you to visit our department and see for yourself.