Selection Process

Physical Agility Test

Candidates who attain a passing score on the physical agility test will advance to the written examination that afternoon. The tests consist of the following events: 

  • 1.5-mile run
  • 300-meter run
  • Bench Press
  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5

Applicants must accumulate a minimum passing score of 50 points. Applicants who score below the minimum, in any event, will be disqualified. Please make sure you review and prepare for the test (PDF). The applicant will have the opportunity to return on a different date to re-take the physical agility test. All events will be scored immediately. The entire process, both physical agility and written examination, lasts approximately six hours on each testing date.

Written Examinations

The pre-employment written examination will measure cognitive abilities that are necessary for effective performance as a police officer. The cognitive section includes problem-solving, reading comprehension, mathematics and writing ability. Applicants scoring above 70% will advance.


Candidates who successfully complete the physical agility and written examination will be scheduled for an oral interview. This interview will be conducted by a panel of current Charleston Police Department employees. You will be assessed on dimensions of:

  • Community Service
  • Customer Service
  • Education
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Training
  • Work History


Prior to employment with the Charleston Police Department, you will be required to submit to a polygraph examination. You should be prepared to discuss questions pertaining to your honesty in handling money and merchandise with your present and previous employers, use of drugs, alcohol, gambling habits, arrests and/or convictions. You should also be prepared to answer questions concerning undetected crimes you may have committed and your involvement in any previous or current investigations. Please review the Polygraph Examination Instructions (PDF).

Background Investigation

A rigorous and thorough background investigation is conducted to review information obtained from but not limited to: 

  • Any and all social media accounts
  • Consumer credit report
  • Criminal history check
  • DMV abstract
  • Interviews with previous:
    • Employers
    • Landlords
    • Neighbors
    • Personal references
    • Teachers

The applicant will also have a personal interview with the background investigator

Medical & Psychological Evaluations

The background and polygraph information are reviewed and the top applicants will proceed to the psychological and physical examinations. Upon successful completion of the medical and psychological exams, the applicant's name will be placed in the selection pool. This pool of candidates is good for one year. If you are not selected after one year, you must complete the entire selection process. Applicants not selected must wait one year to reapply and must complete the entire selection process.