For many Officers, one of the best rewards of working in a department as big as LAPD is the fact that they can take on various roles during the course of their career. It is possible to move from division to division, and to learn new skills on the job.


All LAPD Officers start in patrol. While many Officers will choose to remain in patrol, others put in for promotions or for transfer to specialized divisions after a few years in the field. Patrol is the primary provider of police services to the community and is considered the backbone of the LAPD. Working for the LAPD is challenging and rewarding, no day in Patrol is ever the same. Patrol officers investigate crimes, make arrests, work with communities to solve problems, conduct community meetings, mediate disputes, investigate traffic collisions, and provide general police services.

Patrol officers investigate crimes, make arrests, patrol communities to make them safer, work with the community to solve problems, conduct community meetings, mediate disputes, investigate traffic collisions and provide general police services.

Specialized Assignments

There are over 250 different jobs in the LAPD. Some of them, like Traffic Investigator are done by hundreds of Officers. There are also specialized roles, like SWAT, Motorcycle Officer, Horseback Officer, Diver, Fixed-Wing Pilot, Helicopter Pilot, Public Information Officer, K-9 Unit, and Bike Officer. Most of these require specialized training, and if you are selected, you will receive paid training.

Sergeants and Detectives

The first promotion available to Officers is to either become a Detective, and move into the investigative branch, or to become a Sergeant and move into field supervision. The next promotional step for both Sergeant and Detective is Lieutenant.


Detectives conduct specialized or generalized follow-up investigative work. Police Officers may apply for promotion to Detective after a minimum of four years as a Police Officer. Examples of Detective assignments include undercover narcotics, juvenile crimes investigator, family violence, internal affairs, robbery, homicide and traffic accident follow-up.


Most Sergeants serve as field supervisors. Promotional candidates must demonstrate their qualifications in this area. There are also administrative and specialized assignments for Sergeants. A minimum of four years’ experience as a Police Officer and/or Detective is required to apply for promotion to Sergeant.

Many Police Officers work several different specialized assignments during the course of their careers. All Officers who have finished their probationary period are eligible to apply for specialized divisions. Although some specialties, like SWAT, are very selective and competitive, there are many different jobs to choose from.

Lateral Program

The LAPD Lateral Entry Program, Operation Blue to Blue, affords California POST Certificate Police Officers a chance to join the nation's finest law enforcement agency. Officers who have excelled in their law enforcement careers and are up to the task of meeting the high standards of the LAPD can now apply.

The Lateral Entry Program is available for candidates who have a valid California Basic Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Certificate and have successfully completed the probationary period at a California police agency.

Lateral candidates must meet all of the requirements for a Police Officer and complete all test parts. The lateral program includes an abbreviated training and orientation program. Abbreviated training for lateral officers is typically only offered quarterly. The training is conducted in a manner that recognizes the lateral candidate's standing as an experienced California Peace Officer and not a new recruit.

Based on your prior law enforcement experience, you may also be eligible for the Public Service Purchase Program (PSP). This is a voluntary program that allows officers who served in the military or were employed by other public agencies to purchase service credit in the pension plan. * The service credit you purchase will add to your total years of service credit and therefore, increase the monthly pension allowance that you and your qualified survivors would receive from Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions.

For further information about POST Police Officer Recruitment and LAPD hiring call 213-473-9060.


Contact Us:
LAPD Recruiters and Mentors: 213-473-3450
Public Safety Division: 213-473-9060

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