Police Oral Board Questions


September 27, 2003, 03:06 PM
In about 2-1/2 weeks, I will be taking the oral board with my local police department to be a reserve police officer. (I passed the written test with 95%)

My question is what kind of questions will I be asked?

I chatted with a friend of mine from church who is a RPO a few weeks ago and he told me one question they have used in the past. Since he is on the board (and this was before I had taken the written test) I figure it wouldn't be right to ask him for more examples.

So, for those of you who are/have been LEO's (or have through the test), what should I expect?


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September 27, 2003, 03:19 PM
Jason, a few decades ago, I passed LAPD's entrance exam and physicals, passed their background investigations! I was finally called to appear before the civilian review board to answer questions.

I was asked, "Let's assume tomorrow you're on patrol by yourself. You are parked outside of a park, and see twenty, openly armed gang members approach and attack a minority (hispanic/chinese/black) shop-owner, obviously intent on beating him to death.

"What would you do?"

Three members of the seven agreed with my answer immediately. I was washed out because the majority said I couldn't be trusted to unwaveringly adhere to Department policy.

I said, "I'd call for back-up with my location, grab the shotgun, and go and save the shop-keeper's life."

I was told that policy said I should wait for back-up to arrive, first.

Best of luck, Jason! I wasn't politically correct then, and I'm still not.


September 27, 2003, 03:36 PM
What does it matter what color the shopkeeper is, does department policy differ if the shopkeeper is a White landowning male? :p

If the store was in Koreatown, they probably don't need your help anyway :D

September 27, 2003, 03:44 PM
Keep it OT, Skunk. That was my experience from + 24 years ago.

Contribute big fella!


September 27, 2003, 04:08 PM
Some departments offer prep classes so you're ready when your test date arrives. Most Q's are usually common sense and really want to see how quickly you can think under pressure. Just stay calm and answer the question as best you can.

ed dixon
September 27, 2003, 04:28 PM
About 10 years ago I took two or three oral exams, including one for state game officer. I'd scored in the high nineties on the written tests, but did very poorly in the oral hypothetical exams.

One question I remember: What would you do if you were on patrol and spotted a fellow officer asleep in his vehicle? I said it was serious enough that I would probably report it, but I would be concerned about the consequences for the other officer and would try to offer support or assistance to him in the aftermath. I remember saying I wouldn't want to find out he lost his job and then committed suicide or something.

Another scenario involved confronting a huge (say 6' 6'' & 300lb.) angry, menacing "biker" who had just torn up a bar and some of its patrons. If I didn't feel I could subdue him physically and he came at me, what would I do? Pretty sure I just said shoot him on that one.

Most involved the use of force or ethical dilemmas. I scored in the low 70's for at least two different agencies. The one time I asked for feedback after the questioning was done, an older stern-looking gent said to me in a kind of exasperated tone that I thought too much and overexplained my answers. Left me with the impression that decisive, unambiguous answers (and people) were being sought. I was genuinely surprised at my poor performance, as I was trying my best to be thoughtful, practical and comprehensive.

Good luck. Ed

September 27, 2003, 04:47 PM
#1. Why do you want to be a Police Officer?

Answer. "I want to help people" Sorry, not good enough. Think about why you really want to be a Police Officer.

#2. What is the difference between a "Police Officer" and a "Peace Officer".

#3. What is community based policing?

#4. If you are offered a discount rate on your lunch do you accept it?

#5. What is one of the most serious problems facing the agency you will be assigned to ? (drugs/robber/DUI/traffic accidents/auto theft/burglaries etc etc).

#6. You pull the mayors kid over for DUI, what do you do?

#7. You pull over an off duty LEO from the next juridiction. What do you do?

#8. Your partner shows up smelling of alcohol, what do you do?

#9. What makes a good cop?

#10. What are your weak points?

#11. What would someone who knows you say in describing you?

#12. You have a problem with your supervisor, what do you do?

These are a few generalized questions to give you an idea of the nature of some of the questions you may face. Good luck.

All the best

September 27, 2003, 04:51 PM
The orals can make or break your chances. I went into mine 1st and came out 10th. Most was just personal questions about how you answered different situation in your past. and how ou would handle the same situation now. most importantly is to simply be yourself. Trying to bluff them board will be pretty evident to them.
Remember, police work is 99% boredom and 1% terror.

September 27, 2003, 05:04 PM
Jason, good for you. I'd always thought about becoming a LEO but I KNOW I'd never be able to treat the dregs of humanity equally.

I'm real sorry about that ND boss, but all things considered he was a child molester... So what's the big deal?

I joined the Army and learned combat arms instead!

I do have a question though, is integrity part of becoming a Reserve LEO?
If so, don't you think you should just take the test?
Pass or fail on your own.

Why is it cheating to ask about the questions from some on the board vs asking for for those same questions from those who have ben thru it allready?

Just my brain droppings, good luck.


September 27, 2003, 05:47 PM
Preparing for the test is not cheating, etc.

A couple of questions you want to prepare for here:

1. What have you done to prepare yourself for the position of Reserve Police Officer?

Don't just answer I shoot guns. In fact, you may want to downplay this fact. Look at overall and deeper answers. Things such as: your education, special training you have toward this position, stable job history, physical fitness, etc.

2. What qualities do you possess which would make you a good Reserve Police Officer?

Again, think deep good answers. I make good solid decisions, I get along well with others, I possess good investigation skills, I keep myself physically fit, etc.

Situational questions are just that, situations. Alot of times there is no right or wrong answers. The board wants to see how you think and react. They also maybe wanting to see if your willing to change your answers or "stick to your guns." Another thing, defending life is WAY MORE important then property.

Finally, at the end, you usually get asked something along the lines of, "Do you have anything to add?" This is the time to really impress the panel. Come up with a 2-3 minute reply. Make it PASSIONATE as to why you want the job. You've already gone over your qualifications, tell them why your better then everyone else testing and your PERSONAL reasons for the job.

By the way, I've taken part in many of these interviews on the oral panel. Two VERY IMPORTANT issues: WEAR A MATCHING SUIT AND TIE. AND IF YOU SHAVE, SHAVE!!! Trim your moustache, etc. Good grooming is a MUST. You can never get over that first impression.

El Tejon
September 27, 2003, 06:24 PM

Mine were all questions from the General Orders and Departmental Policies. They went through them almost mechanically. Then I got a few philosophy questions.

September 27, 2003, 06:57 PM
Expect that you will be asked what pisses you off the most. Expect then to be asked what you have done in the past in that situation to control your anger. Or, how do you expect to control your anger if put in that situation.


September 27, 2003, 07:52 PM

November, 1993, small town in West Texas:

LawDog: "I'm here to apply for the deputy sheriff position."

Sheriff: "Can you take a whuppin'?"

LawDog: "Excuse me?"

Sheriff: "I said, 'Can you take a whuppin'?' If I tell you to arrest that big SOB right there and he whips your ??? in front of God and the Rotary Club when you try, are you gonna snivel, or are you gonna pick your butt up and get the job done?"

LawDog: "If he needs to go to jail, he's going to jail."

Sheriff: "Hmm. You got a hat?"

LawDog: "A hat?"

Sheriff: "A hat, boy. Goes on your head. Makes you look taller."

LawDog: "I can find one."

Sheriff: "Good. Got a flashlight?"

LawDog: "Yee-es."

Sheriff: "Good. Bring it tonight, you're on midnights. Oh, and bring a gun."

That was my first interview. :D:D:D


September 27, 2003, 09:13 PM
Lawdog: Thanks, I needed that.

I hope it happened more or less as you described it, but even if it didn't, it reminded me that there really is still a place for men of integrity, decency, and common sense in this generally FUBARED world.

I have got to get out of this {bleep}ing state.

September 27, 2003, 09:49 PM
In 1959 my father entered the academy of the Kansas City Missouri Police Dept. He went through all exams just fine,and on the final day of exams was asked why do you want to be a police officer? Remember, this was 1959. According to my father the interviewer was a bit of a smarta**. So my father answered, "I just like to drive fast and shoot people."

My father served the Kansas City community with honor and distinction till his retirement in 1986.Good luck to you Jason. You'll do just fine.

September 28, 2003, 12:56 AM
Word for word, near as I can recall.

After that, the dispatcher showed me my desk ("It's the one in the corner under the pile of syrofoam coffee cups"), showed me the jail ("Drunks go here, felons go here, misdemeanors go there, please God, don't arrest any women 'cause we ain't got room right now"), issued my equipment ("Here's a can of CN mace, don't spray anyone 'cause it went out of date in '83; here's a baton, yes it's made of wood and there's half-a-pound of lead fish weights in the end; here's ticket book, there should be fifty in there, if you use them all in the next 12 months you're writing too many tickets; and finally, here's 200 rounds of 9mm FMJ. Use them all at the range before next month, or the Sheriff will jump down your throat. That's it. See you at ten PM tonight.")

The Chief Deputy drove me around that night. The next night I did all the driving. The third night I was on my own. :what:

Small towns. :D


September 28, 2003, 01:07 AM
Typical question:

Q: How many officers does it take to throw a suspect down a flight of stairs?

A: None; he tripped.

September 28, 2003, 01:52 AM
Wow Lawdog, that would take some real self confidence.
I have thought about applying to be a reserve deputy but haven't really looked into it. I don't know anything about law enforcement.
I can't imagine doing my real job and being cut loose on day three and told I was on my own.

another okie
September 28, 2003, 08:21 PM
Sprinkles or no sprinkles?

September 28, 2003, 10:50 PM
Thanks Y'all,

Trisha: Hmmmm. Policy vs "The Right Thing". I guess that's the same things as sending 100 people out on a stormy night to find a lost person. It's not the "logical" thing to do, but it's the right thing to do.

Ed Dixon: My friend said that they are basically looking for the ability to make a decent decision. I am still thinking about the answer to your sleeping officer question and guess I will have to feel that one out. My gut reaction is to give him a wake up and tell him that's his last chance. I guess it somewhat depends on what the atmosphere in the dept. is. Do whistle-blowers get stomped on or supported? I know the "right" answer is to turn him in. Sure don't like it.

TheeBadOne: To many answers to fit in, but thanks. Oh, more than likely the mayors kid will get himself arrested for DUI, especially if he trys to pull "rank" on me.

RTFM: The difference is going to an actual source vs. a similar source. Talking to my buddy would be trying to get "actual" questions. Talking to you folks is trying to get anecdotal information. By that reasoning, I should not get (or check out from the Library) the preparation book on the NPOST test. Like TetleyB said, preparation is not cheating.

TetleyB: Good grooming and prep for being an officer. I am not exactly the poster child for physical fitness. But, I have started working out and treadmilling at the gym. I'm getting there, but have a long way to go.

El Tejon: Wear shoes. Got it. :D

LawDog: Wear a hat. Got it. (I think my ACLU Life Member hat will do nicely.)

Cliff: Sometimes we rake LEO's pretty hard on this board. BUT, as is always pointed out, there are a bunch of good ones out there who have served honorably. I hope I can live up to their example. Tell your Dad thanks for me.

Another Okie: Sprinkles of course. What do you think I am?

I have to big fears in this whole thing:
1. I sometimes have a slight stutter. usually not bad, but usually triggered by being "on the spot" and having to deliver a very specific line. Such as you might find at an oral board.

2. During the background check, having my family and friends go: "Oh he'll be a great cop, he LOVES guns and shooting and stuff."

Thanks for the advice one and all.


Lawdog, you've got to tell me. Is that really how it went down?

September 28, 2003, 11:59 PM
Yes, that's really how it went down. You have to realize that the first agency I worked for consisted of the Sheriff, the Chief Deputy, two other deputies, and that was it.

In the entire county there was a town of about 3000 people, a college, a lake that was a major recreational area, a town that was one huge trailer park/hive of scum and villany, four other small towns, two bars, a major US highway, an Interstate, one constable, one DPS substation, and us.

We kind of glossed over some of the stuff that the larger, better-equipped, better funded, more populous departments take for granted.

It was fun, though. Good education.


September 29, 2003, 12:41 AM
One thing you must prepare for:

If it isn't your home town, take the time and learn everything you can about the jurisdiction. Learn the boundary streets or roads, the population, and a summarized history of the town. Take the time to learn some obscure but interesting facts about the place you want to work for.

By the way, when I was asked why I wanted to be a Police Officer, this was my reply:

"Because I have found that I am suited for police work, and it it suited for me. It is in my blood. I have done nothing as well, nor shall I do anything else as well as law enforcement. This is my dream."

That was my answer. Yours may vary.

Above all, be honest with the board. All (or at least, most) of them can remember when they put on the badge for the first time.

I can remember when I first decided to be a policeman. It was Chicago, I was about 8, and I remember looking up to see a man in a leather jacket and a saucer cap with checkers around the brim. But the thing I remember most is that five-pointed star. How it seemingly shone with a life of its own, and how I was attracted to it. I swore then that one day, I would do the same.

Don't be afraid to show enthusiasm; the wonder that is still within you at the prospect of realizing your dream.

Good luck, and best wishes.

4 eyed six shooter
September 29, 2003, 01:27 AM
A couple of other things. Once you answer a question, stick to your answer. They will try to see if they can make you change your mind. The other thing is in situations such as would you arrest the mayors son for DUI, a good answer is that you would call for your supervisor. You will most likely get a question along the line of "what if you go to a burglary call and your partner picks something up and puts it in his pocket before the owner arrives" or shoplifts a candy bar in a store. Best answer in most cases is that you would report it to your supervisor as being a law enforcement officer, you have to hold yourself to a higher standard.
Question, could you shoot someone- Answer yes if was necessary to save my life or the life of another.
Walk in and shake everyones hand, always look them in the eye when answering and answer quickly. They are looking for the ability to think on your feet. An old salty commander that I used to work for once told me that it is better to make the wrong decision than no decision at all.
Good luck to you, John K

September 29, 2003, 08:02 AM
In addition to preparing for some of the questions listed that you may not have ever thought about, remember while you are in front of the board to be yourself.
The idea of the questions are not necessarily to get your answer, but rather to see HOW you think. Police work is a constant series of decisions on each shift....even slow ones. How you think demonstrates to the interviewers how you make decisions and why. It reveals to them a little of your value structure. Lastly, go in with confidence, not cockyness.

October 17, 2003, 04:27 PM
I figured I should report back.
The Good:
Two scenario questions.
The first one was: I'm responding to a domestic disturbance, kids, alcohol, fighting, etc. As I pass by the local stop and rob, I see somebody run out of the store holding "something". There is one other officer on duty. What do you do? I would slow down to get a description of the guy and radio to dispatch or the other officer to contact the store and see what's up. I know I have a domestic disturbance, I may or may not have a robbery.

Second scenario: You respond to a burglar alarm with a REGULAR police officer. You check out the store and find it unlocked but there are no signs of a burglery. While you are in the store, the other officer takes a candy bar and eats it and doesn't leave any money or anything. What do you do? I told him that I would confront the officer and if he didn't rectify the situation I would report him to the Sgt. If he didn't seem to recognize the error of his ways I would still report him. ()

The Bad:
5+ questions on the roll of a Reserve PO, my goals, etc.

The ugly:
My answers to those questions. I was fine with scenarios, those came easily. Talking about myself was not and I wound up pretty flustered.

The next day I wrote a letter to the officer who is the reserve coordinator and one of the interviewers. I thanked him for the chance to interview (standard job interview practice) and restated one of the answers that I felt I really hosed. We'll see how it goes.

I ran into my friend at church last night and we chatted a bit. He said that I had some really good answers on the scenario's and that he knew I could have done better on the other questions.

The scores from the written and oral tests will be combined so maybe I am still in the running.

We'll see how it goes.

Thanks for everyone's input and advice.


October 17, 2003, 04:41 PM
Thanks for the update.

That candy bar question is on every test I ever heard of. I am a firefighter, not a cop but had that same candy bar question on my oral board.

Bill Hook
October 17, 2003, 05:09 PM

And if you don't, start. Anything other than a simple moustache would probably be frowned upon.

October 17, 2003, 06:33 PM
1. What do you know about our department?

2. What was the most stressful situation you've ever been in? How did you handle it?

3. What skills can you bring to this department?

4. If you caught a friend smoking marajuana and he didn't know you had seen him, what would you do?

5. If you are dispatched to a call in a dorm room(this was a campus police job) for the smell of marajuana, and when you get to the dorm room that was reported and open the door, the odor is overwhelming, what would you do?(Look up your reasonable suspicion laws for odor and wether or not you are allowed to search a room just based on smell)

You do every damn thing you can to prepare for the questions you are going to be asked. Don't ever give an "I don't know".

Man I just had my first police officer interview last week and I totally bombed it.

I try and try and try to stay honest, and I spilled my heart out in that interview not lying about anything. If I get another interview I'm just going to tell them what they want to freaking hear. Damned politics.

Mike Irwin
October 18, 2003, 12:01 AM
Remember, no matter what the question, the answer is "I draw my weapon and fire."


Q1: How do you help an old lady across the street?

A1: I draw my weapon and fire. (Chances are if she's smart, she'll get across that street just fine.)

Q2: The owner of Kim's Korean Deli offers you a free meal. What do you do?

A2: I draw my weapon and fire. (Good call, Kimchee is really a secret Korean weapon of mass destruction).

Q3: At Halloween, a kid in a costume comes up to you and yells Trick or Treat! What do you do?

A3: I draw my weapon and fire. (Kids need to learn early that too much candy can be detrimental to your health.)

You get the idea.

Good luck! :D

October 18, 2003, 12:14 AM
I just remembered, during the roll of the RPO question, I did tell him that "I know it's not just driving fast and shooting people." Thanks Cliff.

I let them know that I know the beard has to go. I figure I'm holding onto it though until I get the job.

I've got another two weeks or so to hear the results so it's back to waiting.

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