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First Time Applicants


The South Bend Police Department accepts employment applications for Police Officer Recruits on a rolling basis.  Applications are available through the following:

Completed applications for sworn officer positions only may be hand delivered or mailed to the following address:

South Bend Police Department
Training Division
701 W. Sample St.
South Bend, IN 46601



  • United States Citizen
  • Must be 21-35 years of age at time of application (or up to 40 years of age if retired military with 20 years of service and honorable discharge, in accordance with HB1359)
  • Have a high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Must be able to pass a competitive written exam
  • Have no felony criminal convictions 
  • Have no conviction of domestic violence or a domestic violence-related offense (either misdemeanor or felony)
  • Must be of good moral character
  • Must pass mandatory drug screening
  • Have no previous use of hallucinogenic drugs (LSD, Mushrooms, Mescaline, Ecstasy, etc.)
  • Possess a valid driver's license from current state of residence
  • Military discharge (if applicable) cannot be characterized as "other than honorable", "bad conduct", or "dishonorable"
  • Must be able to pass a physical agility assessment test
  • Must submit to in-depth background investigation, polygraph, psychological testing, and medical examination



Selection Process

The South Bend Police Department's Applicant Process may consist of, but is not limited to, the following evaluations. These may take up to six months to complete, in the following order:

1. Physical Fitness Assessment Test

Physical fitness standards are based on the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) and the standards are the same for males and females.  Applicants must meet the standard for each exercise to pass the assessment test.  This is a PASS/FAIL test only, with no points assigned for results.

Exercises in order are:

  • Vertical Jump Test (Standard: 16 inches or greater)
  • Timed Sit Up Test (29 in one minute or less)
  • 300 Meter Run (Complete in 71 seconds or less)
  • Push Up Test (Complete 25 push ups with no time limit)
  • 1.5 Mile Run (Complete in 16:28 or less)
  • Pistol Trigger Pull Test (Complete 6 pulls in 10 seconds or less)

If all physical fitness standards are met, the applicant will be eligible to take the written exam.

2. Written Exam 

  • Created by a professional consulting firm using job-related criteria
  • Four sections: Arithmetic, Reading Comprehension, Grammar, and Incident Report Writing
  • Must score 82% or higher to continue on to interview phase

Study guides for the written test will be given out after successful completion of the physical fitness assessment. Applicants will also have the opportunity to attend voluntary study sessions that are offered.  At these study sessions, a practice test will be given, scored, and information on oral interview preparation will be discussed.

3. Personal Interview

  • This is a one-on-one interview with a member of the Training Division
  • Responses in this interview may be used for the polygraph examination, and this interview will help you to prepare for the polygraph
  • The Training Dvision makes a recommendation as to whether applicants should continue in the process on the basis of this interview

4. Structured Oral Interview

  • This is a structured interview in front of a board of civilians and sworn officers
  • Each applicant is asked the same questions and responses are graded

5. Pension Board Interview

  • This is a structured interview with the South Bend Pension Board
  • This is the final step in the hiring process


Applicant scores will be totaled to establish an eligibility list in descending order from highest to lowest passing scores.  Applicants will be notified of their final ranking on the eligibility list.

Upon an estimated projection of future vacancies, the department will extend the assessed number of "conditional" job offers to persons on the eligibility list in rank order. At that time, the following evaluations will be completed:

  • In-depth background investigation
  • Polygraph examination
  • Psychological examination and interview with clinical psychologist
  • Complete medical examination including vision, hearing, and mandatory drug screen

If all evaluations are successfully completed, the applicant will be sworn in as probationary police officer, provided the department has available vacancies.

The eligibility list will be valid for one year from the date of certification. Each year, applicant screening and testing processes for the department are conducted and a new eligibility list is established. Applicants are encouraged to reapply and repeat the testing if they wish to improve their scores and ranking. The Department’s hiring needs, and therefore the amount of the eligibility list resulting in hires, changes from year to year based on a number of variables.

For more information about the department or the selection process, contact the Training Division at (574) 235-9224 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Salary and Benefits

Starting Salary 2017:

Recruit/Patrolman 3rd Class (1st Year) $46,229/yr
Patrolman 2nd Class (2nd Year) $51,000/yr
Patrolman 1st Class (3rd Year) $56,861/yr

Shift Incentives: 

  • Bonus for afternoon and midnight shift officers 
  • Paid basic and lateral on-the-job (FTO) Training
  • Special Duty incentives (SWAT, FTO, RRT, etc.)
  • Court Pay during non-working hours
  • Pay for: Holidays, longevity, on-call, and hazardous duty
  • Take Home Car program (upon FTO completion)
  • Uniforms and equipment provided, quarterly clothing allowance
  • Health and life Insurance
  • Military and college incentive programs
  • Paid vacations, sick leave, and personal days
  • Sick time buy-back program
  • One-time recruitment bonus for successful referrals
  • Annual bonus for officers residing in South Bend City limits
  • PERF Pension: Retirement after 20 years of service, with the ability to collect pension beginning at age 52


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