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Peace Officer Certification

What you will find on this page?

Read FAQ's about Peace Officer Certification

Read FAQ's about Tribal Peace Officer Certification
View Forms and Documents needed for Certification
View Decertification Hearings Schedule
How Washington State Peace Officers Lose Their Certification


Peace Officer(PO)Forms & Documents:


Application for PO Certification - (PDF or Word format) (Updated: 11-25-05)
Application for Tribal PO Certification - (PDF or Word format) (Updated: 12-28-06)
Notice of Officer Hire/Termination Form - (PDF or Word format) (Updated: 1-05-11)
*  Form CJ 1252 Criminal Records Check - ( PDF or  Word format) (Updated: 1-03-11)
* Interagency Agreement for Tribal Agencies - (PDF or Word format) (Updated: 12-28-06)

Frequently Asked Questions about Peace Officer Certification

Who must be certified?
Every full-time peace officer in Washington state, including the Washington State Patrol, and Fish and Wildlife officers regardless of rank. Reserve Officers do not need to be certified.

Who has the authority to certify peace officers?
The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) is the only agency authorized to certify peace officers.

What are the requirements I must meet to become certified?
As a condition of continuing employment, all Washington peace officers shall:

  1. Meet the basic law enforcement training requirements or meet exemption requirements under RCW 43.101.200.
  2. Have not been denied certification or have had your certification revoked.
  3. Have a signed "Application for Peace Officer Certification" form (available at the top of this page) on file with the WSCJTC.

What are the reasons I can be denied certification status or have it revoked?
A peace officer’s certification can be denied or revoked by the WSCJTC upon request by the peace officers employing agency or on its own initiative after written notice and hearing for the following reasons:

  1. Failing to timely meet all requirements for obtaining basic law enforcement training, a certificate of equivalency, or a certificate of exemption.
  2. Knowingly falsified or omitted material information on an application for training or certification to the WSCJTC.
  3. Convicted of a felony under the laws of this state or convicted of a federal or out-of-state offense comparable to a felony under the laws of this state.
  4. Discharged for disqualifying misconduct, the discharge is final, and the acts or omissions forming the basis for the discharge occurred on or after January 1, 2002.
  5. The certificate was issued in error on the part of the WSCJTC.
  6. Interference with an investigation or action for denial or revocation of certificate by: Knowingly making a materially false statement to the WSCJTC; or
    Tampered with evidence or tampered with or intimidated a witness in any matter under investigation by the WSCJTC.

What is considered to be disqualifying misconduct?
This is articulated in RCW 43.101.010 in the definition section.

How will you know if a peace officer is terminated?
RCW 43.101.135 requires the agency of termination to notify the WSCJTC on the “Termination” form of any termination of a peace officer or any reason including resignation within fifteen days of the termination action being final.

What happens if I refuse to sign the "Application for Peace Officer Certification" form?
Signing the form is one of the statutory requirements of becoming certified as a peace officer. If the form is not signed by the officer, certification cannot occur.

If an officer is called to duty by the military, is the 24 month break in service time started when the officer leaves the law enforcement employer?
If a peace officer is called to duty by the military, the officer is still considered employed by the law enforcement agency, the 24 month clock would not start and therefore the officer’s certification would not be effected. The employer however still has the discretion to recommend attendance at the equivalency or other refresher training upon the officer’s return to police duties. 

Who can file a complaint challenging an officer's certification status?
A law enforcement officer or a duly authorized representative of a law enforcement agency may submit a written complaint to the WSCJTC charging that a peace officer's certification should be denied or revoked. The complaint must specify the grounds for the charge. The WSCJTC has sole discretion whether to investigate the complaint.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tribal Peace Officer Certification

Is it required that tribal law enforcement officers be certified?
Certification of tribal law enforcement officers is voluntary. The Commission does not require officers to obtain certification.

May I become certified if I am not currently employed by a tribal police agency?
No, you must be employed as a law enforcement officer with a tribal police agency, and the agency must verify your employment.

If I leave one agency and lateral to another tribal agency am I still certified? An officer’s certification remains active unless the officer has a break in law enforcement service of more than twenty-four months, at which time the certification is considered lapsed. Employment as a tribal law enforcement officer, and successful completion of the psychological and polygraph test and completion of an Equivalency academy are required to reinstate an officer’s certification.

If I am a certified Washington peace officer and become employed as a tribal law enforcement officer does my certification continue? Your Washington peace officer certification would lapse after twenty-four months as a tribal law enforcement officer. An officer who laterals from a Washington law enforcement agency to a tribal law enforcement agency or vice-versa, must apply for the proper certification.

What are the requirements for an officer who is a lateral applicant from within the state to become certified? Any officer upon being given a conditional offer of employment as a peace officer or a reserve, must successfully pass the psychological and polygraph test as a condition of employment. The same requirement applies to tribal officers seeking certification as a tribal law enforcement officer. Officer from out of state seeking lateral employment, or officers whose certification has lapsed because of a break in service, must complete the psychological and polygraph tests and the Equivalency Academy as a condition of certification. This requirement is the same for Washington peace officers, and tribal law enforcement officers.

How will I know when I am certified? You will receive a "Peace Officer Certification Certificate" or a “Tribal Law Enforcement Certificate” in the mail, or upon graduation from an Equivalency Academy or the Basic Law Enforcement Academy. This certificate is the property of the officer, not the agency. Duplicate certificates will not be issued.


Do you still have questions? 


Please contact:

Tisha Ehret, Certification Manager: Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Office Phone: 206.835.7332, Cellular: 360.250.1440 or Fax: 206.835.7928

Sonja Hirsch, Certification Records Manager: Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Office Phone: 206.835.7372, Fax: 206.835.7928



Cerification Hearings

All hearings are held in Room E-154 at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission


Respondent               Terminating Agency               Hearing Date                                   Hearing Time

Thomas J. Ogden      Tacoma PD                                December 15-16, 2011                10 AM

Darren Young            King County SO                         March 12, 2012                              10 AM


Note: These hearings are open to the public. For more information about hearings, contact Sonja Hirsch.


How Washington State Peace Officers Lose Their Certification

These files outline cases; however, no names or other identifiers are listed in these documents.

About Certification

As a condition of continuing employment as peace officers, all Washington peace officers regardless of rank or position shall meet the requirements for certification in a timely manner by attending the basic academy, equivalency academy or obtaining an exemption from those requirements. This law went into effect January 1, 2002.

The primary purpose of peace officer certification is to ensure that law enforcement agencies do not hire or retain officers who: (A) have been discharged by a law enforcement employer for serious misconduct (B) have convictions for certain criminal offenses; or (C) have otherwise proved themselves to be unsuitable to be peace officers.

All local and state governmental agencies employing general authority peace officers, including the Washington State Patrol and Fish and Wildlife as well as public four-year college and university police departments are directly affected, because they employ peace officers subject to certification. 

This process also authorizes the Commission to revoke or deny certification to any peace officer after a written notification and hearing process. The causes for revoking or denying certification status to a peace officer are a relatively narrow band of causes when compared to other states. 

There are certain circumstances under which a peace officer who has had their certification revoked or denied, may apply to have their certification reinstated. 

Understanding that policing is a difficult and complex profession, it becomes the responsibility of labor and management to insist upon the highest ethical and professional standards. Police misconduct has a disastrous effect on virtually every aspect of our society and the public trust. The certification process affords us a tool to combat police misconduct and hold ourselves accountable to the people in the communities we serve. 

Reminder to all agencies:
All terminations regardless of the cause must be reported to the WSCJTC, Division of Peace Offer Certification, within 15 days of the termination being final (RCW 43.101.135). If the termination is for conduct that may be grounds for revocation of a peace officer’s certification, additional information should be furnished. 

PLEASE NOTE: All of the downloadable items on this page are available in PDF format. If you need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, please follow this link.