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Police and Law Enforcement Personnel Management

This page provides information and resources on personnel issues unique to law enforcement for Washington cities and counties.


Unlike the majority of a public agency's other employees, law enforcement personnel typically work around the clock and often are subject to civil service rules not applicable to the rest of the staff, making hiring, firing and day to day supervision more of a challenge. In addition, the nature of the work itself places unique pressures on the employees and their families that affect job performance.

For other topics regarding law enforcement, see MRSC's Police and Law Enforcement table of contents. If you have information to share (e.g., civil service rules, ordinances, sample policies, issue papers, etc.) or are aware of other websites that we should link to, please email Lynn Nordby, MRSC Public Policy and Management Consultant, or call (206) 625-1300.

Pay and Benefits

Code of Ethics


Lateral Transfer

Lateral entry or transfer is similar to a qualification standard that applicants for certain police department positions must meet in order to be eligible to apply for the position. The candidates must already have a certain level of experience and be employed or have been employed by a police department within the past twelve months.

RCW 35.13.360 - .400 requires and establishes procedures and conditions for the lateral transfer of qualified county sheriff's employees who, by reason of annexation or city incorporation, are laid off due to sheriff's department cutbacks. These statutory rules apply to all cities, including code cities.

Assessment Centers

  • The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) does not provide Assessment Centers. However, WASPC recommends Public Safety Testing as a contractor for this valuable service.
  • The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Assessment Centers link.

Special Limited Commissions

  • Kirkland Municipal Code Sec. 3.16.020 - Police Department and Issuance of Limited Commissions
  • Longview Municipal Code Sec. 2.42.045 - Community Service Officers - Limited Authority
  • Vancouver Municipal Code Sec. 2.20.030 - Special Police Officers


Special Police Personnel Issues and Programs

  • Avoiding the High Cost of Turnover - Workshop presentation from 2006 COPS Conference, "Community Policing: Leading the Way to a Safer Nation". The workshop explored the real costs of losing a police officer and how to successfully communicate to political leaders the need to replace officers as well as the need to focus on officer retention.
  • Early Warning Systems: Responding to the Problem Police Officer, Samuel Walker, Geoffrey P. Alpert, Dennis J. Kennedy - A report prepared through a grant from the US Department of Justice, 2000,

Domestic Violence Involving Law Enforcement Officers

Job Related Stress

Chaplaincy Programs

Volunteer Programs

Last Modified: July 15, 2016