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Officer Training

The San Diego Police Department is committed to preparing recruits to become officers and serve our communities, as well as the ongoing development and training of officers to have a long and rewarding career in law enforcement.

All SDPD officers are certified by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), which sets the minimum criteria for selection and training standards for California law enforcement.

Training by the Numbers

Academy Comparison

664 hours

State requirements

944 hours

SDPD requirements

280 more hours

received by SDPD Officers

Additional Training Before Patrol Assignment

Agency-Specific Training

120 hours

Field Training Program

(4 evaluated phases)

Minimum 16 weeks (10-hour days)

*Officers may need to remain longer in a particular phase, based on evaluations, which may result in a longer duration

Ongoing Training

Advanced Officer Training

(Mandatory every 2 years)

40 hours

Command Training

40 hours

Training Explained

Peace Officer Basic Academy Training

The Police Academy is the entry-level training requirement for many California Police Officers. The curriculum is comprised of 42 Learning Domains created to meet testing specifications for an Entry Level Peace Officer in the State of California. The Learning Domains cover topics including:

  • Cultural Diversity
  • Use of Force
  • De-escalation
  • Leadership, Professionalism & Ethics
  • Community Policing

The entire list of Learning Domain subjects can be found on the POST website.

San Diego Regional Public Safety Institute

San Diego Police Officer Recruits attend the six-month Police Academy at the San Diego Regional Public Safety Training Institute. The police academy is a combination of academic learning as well as physical training.

Police Recruits from the San Diego Police Department receive above and beyond the required number of hours POST mandates for entry-level law enforcement.

Agency-Specific Training

After the successful completion of the Police Academy, SDPD Recruits receive an extra 120 hours of agency-specific training to include:

  • Crisis response training
  • De-escalation
  • Emergency negotiations
  • Scenario exercises
  • Emotional survival
  • Effective interaction and communication
  • Community engagement with diverse community leaders throughout the City. Police Officer Recruits visit various neighborhoods and community groups to hear and discuss current issues.

Field Training Program

The Field Training Program is designed to allow new police officers to be paired with a training officer to provide in-the-field coaching, mentoring and immediate feedback. The program consists of four evaluated phases of field training that each must be passed before they are assigned to patrol divisions.

Advanced Officer Training (AOT)

In order for Peace Officers to maintain their California POST certification, they must attend 40 hours of mandated training outlined by POST every two years. The following topics are required during this training period:

  • Use of Force/Defensive Tactics
  • Tactical Communications
  • De-Escalation Training
  • Domestic Violence
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Vehicle Operations
  • Mental Health
  • Firearms

Supplemental Training

SDPD continues to provide additional training for officers and encourages officers to attend courses and seminars related to their duties to increase their knowledge, maintain skills, prepare for future opportunities and learn new concepts.

  • Command Training: Made available to SDPD sergeants, lieutenants and captains. This is not required by POST, however, provides division and unit leadership the opportunity to come together to receive updates on current tactics and discuss areas for improvement in their respective commands.
  • Continued Professional Development Training: SDPD conducts a 10-hour mandatory training session for all officers that covers topics including leadership, non-biased policing, LGBTQ+ community awareness for law enforcement, and understanding personal use of social media when off-duty. Community members participate as guest speakers for portions of the training.