Top 35 Police Interview Questions (Example Answers Included)

By Mike Simpson

For many people, becoming one of the nation’s 813,500 police officers is the dream. But after you’ve finished all of that training, that doesn’t mean the hard part is over. You still have to take on the police interview questions, and that isn’t always a walk in the park.

While any position may come with some doozies, police officer interview questions can be some of the most challenging ones around. Mainly, this is because of how law enforcement impacts the local community, as well as their position within the larger legal structure.

Does this mean you should panic? Hardly. Instead, you just need to be prepared. If you want to make sure you can answer police interview questions like a calm, cool, and collected professional, here’s what you need to know.

How to Answer Police Interview Questions

Alright, we know that you’re excited to see the law enforcement interview questions and example answers, and we promise those are coming.

The thing is, learning a bit about how to answer police interview questions first is a good move. Why? Because interviews are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.

Yes, some interview questions are incredibly common. But that doesn’t mean your interviewer won’t have some unique ones thrown into the mix. You need to be ready for those too.

How do you prepare? By honing your strategy.

First, you need to get friendly with research. You need to go through that police officer job description with a fine-toothed comb, learning all you can about the role.

Next, you need to find out as much as possible about the department, including its mission, values, and standing in the community. After all, there are more than 12,000 separate police departments across the country, and they aren’t all exactly the same.

Go over the department’s website, check out its social media pages, and read recent news. Those are all good starting points.

After that, it’s time to learn how to answer interview questions. During a police officer interview, you could face job-specific questions, as well as general job interview questions, including classics like:

So, how do you get ready for that? By making sure your strategy is on point.

One way to pull that off is to get to know the Tailoring Method. With that approach, you can create highly relevant answers to essentially any interview question you might encounter.

The Tailoring Method a strategy that focuses on really speaking to the interviewer’s needs while also highlighting what you bring to the table. Awesome, right? We think so.

Now, while you can use the Tailoring Method on those dastardly behavioral interview questions, here’s a moment where it’s smart to have a “partner.” What kind of partner? Well, the STAR Method, of course.

If you really want to stand out, this combo approach is the way to go any time you’re staring down behavioral interview questions. By combining the two strategies, you can take humdrum answers and turn them into compelling stories brimming with amazing tidbits about your skills, experience, and achievements. That covers every base and more, making it the ideal way to go.

Now, it’s important to understand that, when you’re interviewing for a police officer position, you’re going to face a startling number of questions that focus on complex issues, particularly when it comes to ethics and morality.

Police officers face some unique situations on the job, and the interviewer needs to know you have the proper mindset and traits. Finding people who are stable, calm under pressure, and dedicated to public safety and the law is a major priority.

You need to make sure that, along with showcasing your skills, that you cover points like those, as well. Otherwise, the interviewer might not think that you’re the right person for the job.

We also wanted to let you know that we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview. After all, hiring managers will often ask you more generalized interview questions!

Click below to get your free PDF now:

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FREE BONUS PDF CHEAT SHEET: Get our "Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you "word-word sample answers to the most common job interview questions you'll face at your next interview.


Top 3 Police Interview Questions

Okay, here’s is the moment you’ve been waiting for: the police officer interview questions and some example answers. Here, we are looking at three of the top police interview questions you’ll likely encounter, ensuring you’re prepared for the inevitable.

But we also go a little further, giving you insights into how to approach your answers. So, without any further ado, here are the top three police interview questions and sample responses.

1. Why did you choose a career in law enforcement?

While this may seem like the simplest police interview question to answer, it actually isn’t. You’re probably wondering, “Why not? Don’t I just need to be honest?” Well, potentially, yes, but there’s more to it than that.

The thing is, you need to have a sound motivation for getting into law enforcement. If you tell the interviewer that you chose the career for the excitement, that isn’t going to resonate. In some cases, the most “exciting” moments for a police officer happen when something goes wrong. Plus, the department isn’t interested in hiring adrenaline junkies; they want dedicated professionals.

Spend a little time reflecting on what you hope to achieve as a police officer. Ask yourself, what kind of difference are you hoping to make? What are you actually hoping to achieve?

By doing a little soul searching, you can usually find an underlying motivation worth sharing.

MIKE'S TIP: Whatever you do, don’t say that you want to “put bad guys away,” “teach offenders a lesson,” or anything in that vein. Not only is that aggressive, but it also makes you seem vindictive or threatening. Worst case, it may come across like you view yourself as judge, jury, and executioner. Saying that is a problem is a massive understatement. Even if keeping criminals off the streets is a motivator, it’s better to approach the sentiment from a different direction, like by focusing on public safety. That keeps things positive.


“My main motivation for getting into law enforcement is to help my local community. Public safety is an important part of that equation, and police officers are in the unique position to assist with ensuring it directly.

Additionally, police officers can serve as positive examples. By being more than law enforcement, but supportive members of the community, we can make a difference on multiple levels.”

2. In your opinion, what traits are essential for being a great police officer?

This is one of the police interview questions that actually does more than it initially seems. Not only does it give the interview insights into what you believe exceptional police officers bring to the table, but it also lets them learn more about what you likely bring to the table. Most candidates will default to traits they personally have, making their answers surprisingly revealing.


“When it comes to essential traits, I think patience and compassion are crucial. As a police officer, encountering people during stressful events, possibly even on the worst day of their lives, is common. This can cause people to act in ways they usually wouldn’t, and I think we need to take that into account to be effective.

Additionally, being detail-oriented and focused are crucial, ensuring you can assess a situation quickly and make wise decisions. Finally, you need a willingness to act, enabling you to intervene when someone is in danger.”

3. If you saw a fellow officer commit a crime, what would you do?

When it comes to police officer interview questions, this one is actually surprisingly easy to answer. In the end, law enforcement is bound by, well, the law. What you need to do is essentially spelled out for you.

However, you do want to create an answer with the right tone. You shouldn’t sound happy at the prospect. Instead, it’s okay to be a little somber, as well as to acknowledge the complexity of the situation.


“If I became aware of a fellow officer committing a crime, I would have no choice but to appropriately intervene. This could include stepping in during the actual moment or reporting them to the proper authorities if I learned about the incident after the fact.

While I greatly value the sense of community and comradery that comes with being a police officer, I ultimately have a duty to perform. In the end, that’s what is most important.”

32 More Police Interview Questions

Here are 32 more law enforcement interview questions that you may encounter:

    1. What is the biggest law enforcement challenge you see in this community?
    2. What do you hope to achieve as a police officer?
    3. How do you keep yourself calm in high-stress situations?
    4. When faced with a long shift, what steps do you take to stay motivated and alert?
    5. What part of your training experience did you appreciate most?
    6. Why do you want to work for this department?
    7. If you respond to a physical altercation in progress, how would you break up the fight and diffuse the situation?
    8. Tell me about a time you faced a moral dilemma. What was the situation, and how did you approach it?
    9. If you were off-duty and saw a friend or family member commit a minor crime, what would you do? What if you were on duty?
    10. How do you ensure that you can work with different personality types?
    11. While on patrol, if you encounter one or more of the persons you need to talk to that don’t speak English, how do you handle the situation?
    12. If you stopped a speeding vehicle and discovered that the driver was a family member, would you issue the ticket?
    13. Tell me about your last chief. What did you think of them?
    14. Can you tell me why you want to leave your current department (why you left your last department)?
    15. If a superior gave you an order that you knew was against regulations, what would you do?
    16. If a superior gave you a lawful order, but you disagreed with it, what would you do?
    17. Why do you think you make a good police officer?
    18. Tell me about a time where you responded to a call and made a mistake on-scene. How did you recover?
    19. Have you ever discharged your firearm while on duty? If so, what led up to that moment?
    20. How would you rate your level of physical fitness?
    21. Tell me about your greatest weakness and how it impacts you on the job.
    22. How would your academy instructors describe you? What about your fellow trainees?
    23. What strategies do you use to stay objective when responding to a call?
    24. Paperwork is a big part of the job. What steps do you take to ensure you remain organized and that all of your reports and documents are finished in a timely manner?
    25. As a police officer, how will you make a positive impact on our local community?
    26. How would you handle a person who repeatedly called the police for personal issues?
    27. How would you handle someone who makes a false report?
    28. Where do you see your law enforcement career taking you?
    29. Are there any aspects of traffic laws that you feel you don’t know well?
    30. If you had to take a family member into custody, how would you approach the situation?
    31. Which of the day-to-day tasks associated with being a police officer do you feel is most important?
    32. If you took a violent offender into custody and while en route to booking, you came across a serious vehicle accident, what would you do?

5 Good Questions to Ask at the End of a Police Interview

Once your interview is drawing to a close, you’ll usually get an important opportunity. It’s normal for you to get a chance to flip the script and ask the interviewer some questions, letting you learn more about the job, department, and more.

In many cases, arriving with a few questions in your back pocket is the way to go. That way, if you can’t think up anything on the fly, you’re still covered.

After all, asking smart questions is essential. It shows you are interested and engaged, both of which work in your favor and might help you stand out from other candidates.

So, if you aren’t sure what to ask, here are five good questions for the end of a police interview:

    1. In your opinion, what is the most challenging aspect of policing in this jurisdiction?
    2. Aside from serving as law enforcement officers, what does the department do to help serve the community?
    3. If you could give one piece of advice to police officers joining the department that would help them succeed, what would it be and why?
    4. What do you enjoy most about working for this department? What about least?
    5. What do you enjoy most about serving this specific community?

Putting It All Together

At this point, you should have an excellent idea of what to expect (and how to respond) when you’re dealing with police interview questions. Take advantage of every tip you can find above. That way, when you’re face-to-face with the interviewer, you know you have a great chance of making an exceptional impression and standing out from the competition, increasing the odds that you’ll land the job.

Good luck!

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Download our "Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you word-for-word sample answers to some of the most common interview questions including:

  • What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
  • What Is Your Greatest Strength?
  • Tell Me About Yourself
  • Why Should We Hire You?
  • And more!

Click Here To Get The Job Interview Questions & Answers Cheat Sheet

About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.