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The City of Bethlehem Community and Economic Development Permit Office will be closed Wednesday afternoons to walk-ins from 1 to 4:30pm. This temporary closure is due to the digitization of the permit files. Thank you for your patience and understanding.


Selection Process

The following information is a guideline of what is required and expected of applicants for the Bethlehem Police Department.  This information, although thorough, is not all inclusive.


A. Application 
Application will be accepted using an online form and there is a $50 non-refundable fee.  Late submittals will not be accepted.  The application form requests:

  1. Personal information: name, address, contact information, citizenship and driving information
  2. Education information: High School, Vocational & Trade schools, Community Colleges, Colleges/Universities, Graduate Schools, and any other Post High School education
  3. Military Service
  4. Police experience
  5. References
  6. Civil Service Applicant Questionnaire
  7. Survey for statistical gathering

B. Written Exam 
The written exam consists of 100 questions relating to general knowledge, observation abilities, reading comprehension and legal knowledge.  The exam is administered by McCann Associates,

C. Physical Fitness Test
There is one test as part of the hiring process with the Bethlehem Police Department and a separate test for entrance into a police academy.  Applicants who are Act 120 certified will not have to take the academy test.  The physical fitness test will be administered by Bill Gibson, Master Police Fitness Specialist, PA Chiefs of Police Association.  See details on the hiring Physical Fitness Test Battery and the police academy MPOETC fitness requirements.

D. Background Investigation 
The background investigation consists of an investigation conducted by the Criminal Investigations Division of the Bethlehem Police Department.  Applicants shall complete a background questionnaire which will cover the following topics:

  1. Personal information
  2. Marital and family information
  3. Financial information
  4. Motor vehicle information
  5. Driving record
  6. Military service
  7. Education history
  8. Criminal history
  9. Employment history
  10. General information
  11. Law enforcement experience
  12. Polygraph questions

E. Administrative Interview
Applicants will be interviewed by the Bethlehem Police Department command staff.  Applicants will be questioned about information gathered throughout the application process.

F. Certification by Police Civil Service Board
Information gathered from the application process is submitted to the Civil Service Board.  The Civil Service Board reviews the information and determines if the applicant will be certified or rejected for employment.  Depending on the cause for rejection, applicants may reapply during the next testing schedule.

G. Polygraph Exam
Applicants will take a polygraph examination reviewing all information gathered during the application process and background investigation.

H. Psychological Exam
Applicants will take a psychological exam to evaluate their capacity for police work.

I. Medical Exam
Applicants will have a medical physical to determine their physical condition and eligibility for police work.  The medical standards are the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission standards.  Additional information can be found at

  1. Physical Condition
    1. Applicants must be free from the addictive or excessive use of alcohol, drugs or illegal controlled substances which will be determined using current laboratory testing procedures.
    2. Applicants must be able to withstand significant cardiovascular stress.
    3. Applicants must be free from any debilitating conditions such as tremor, incoordination, convulsion, fainting episodes, or other neurological conditions which may affect the applicant’s ability to perform as a police officer.
    4. Applicants must be free from any other significant physical limitations or disabilities which would, in the physician’s opinion, impair the applicant’s ability to perform the duties of a police officer or complete the required minimum training requirements.
    5. Applicants cannot be missing any extremities, including digits, which would prevent performance of required police duties or meeting minimum training requirements.
    6. Blood pressure, heart condition and lung capacity and performance must fall in the normal range.
  2. Hearing
    1. The applicant must be able to distinguish a normal whisper at a distance of 15 feet. The test will be independently conducted for each ear, while the tested ear is facing away from the speaker and the other ear is firmly covered with the palm of the hand. The applicant is prohibited from using a hearing aid during the testing. If the applicant fails the whisper test, a decibel audio test is required.
  3. Vision
    1. The applicant must have distant vision of at least 20/70, uncorrected, in the stronger eye, correctable to 20/20; and at least 20/200, uncorrected, in the weaker eye, correctable to at least 20/40; and must be free of any significant visual abnormality.
    2. The applicant must also have normal depth perception and normal color perception.

APPROXIMATE EXPECTED DURATION OF THE SELECTION PROCESS:  Approximately six (6) to twenty-four (24) months.

POLICY ON REAPPLICATION: Reapplication is permitted once the current eligibility list has expired. (Maximum two year cycle, see Civil Service Rules)

This information is intended as a basic guide for police applicants. For more detailed information, consult the Civil Service Rules, or contact:

City of Bethlehem
Human Resources Bureau
10 East Church St.
Bethlehem, PA 18018



A. Citizenship
Applicants must be a U.S. citizen and resident of the U.S. for at least five (5) years.  If the applicant is foreign born, naturalization papers must be provided.

B. Age
Applicants must have arrived at twenty-one (21) years of age at the time of the application deadline.  A copy of the applicant’s birth certificate is required.

C. Education
Applicants must have an Associate’s Degree or a minimum of sixty (60) credits from not more than two (2) accredited institutions, colleges, or universities at the time of application deadline.  A diploma is required for all degrees received.  A transcript is required for all college/university programs.
  • The sixty (60) credit requirements may be waived if the applicant has fulfilled the requirements of the Pennsylvania Municipal Police Officers’ Training Act and have two thousand (2,000) active hours of experience as a Police Officer.
  • The sixty (60) credit requirement may be waived if the applicant has two (2) years active military service or six (6) years of reserve duty military experience and has an honorable discharge from such service.  A “DD-214” is required for all military service.

D. Driver’s License
All applicants must possess a valid Driver’s License at the time of application and appointment.

E. Character
Must be of a good reputation, moral character, and habits.

F. Application
All applicants will be charged a $50.00 registration fee at the time of application.  This application fee is non-refundable.  Any willful misstatement, falsification or concealment in respect to an application shall render the same null and void.  Subject to the discretion of the Board, a person making such false application shall be prohibited from making any future application.  Applications cannot be accepted from persons who have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime or greater, or from former Police Officers removed for cause.

G. Civil Service Vouchers 
Applicant must secure two (2) persons to vouch for his/her character.  The persons may not be relatives of the applicant.  The vouchers should be well acquainted with the applicant and have known him/her for at least one (1) year.  The voucher must be signed by the applicant and notarized.

H. Examination
Applicants are required to take and pass a written examination.  A notice of when and where to appear will be sent by the Secretary of the Civil Service Board via email.  Those ineligible will also be notified via email.  Any applicant failing to appear for the examination will be removed from the list of applicants.

I. Disqualifying Factors for Initial Employment
No person shall be eligible for employment in the Police Department if the individual has engaged in any of the following conduct:

  1. Failure to meet the general requirements of the position.
  2. Dishonorable discharge from any branch of military service.
  3. Lying or omission of information to a background investigator, polygraph operator or other Police Department employee, representative, or agent.
  4. Intentional falsification or omission of information on the employment application, polygraph screening booklet, or any other document used in the selection process.
  5. Cheating on any portion of any selection examination, or in any phase of the selection process.
  6. Criminal conviction of a second degree misdemeanor or more serious criminal offense.
  7. Criminal behavior, regardless of whether detected or prosecuted, as admitted by the applicant or established by competent evidence, of any felony (no time limit) or any first degree misdemeanor or more serious criminal offense (within five years of date of application).
  8. Driving under the influence where the person has:
    • DUI conviction within five years of date of application.
    • Two or more DUIs (convictions or pending charges). 
    • Note: “Conviction” includes a guilty plea, nolo contendere plea, verdict, acceptance of ARD or similar diversion disposition, negotiated plea to a lesser offense where chemical test result was 0.08% or greater and/or any chemical test refusal.
  9. Manufacture, sale, delivery or distribution of any controlled substance.
  10. Controlled substance use:
  • Marijuana/synthetic marijuana (K-2, Spice, etc.), or any medication prescribed to applicant and used for non-therapeutic purposes within three years preceding the date of the submission of the application. 
  • Schedule I, II, or III controlled substances (excluding those listed above), anabolic steroids (regardless of source or knowledge of legality), or huffing or intentional use of any chemical or substance (including glue, cleaning products, bath salts, etc.) for any purpose for which it was not intended except where all of the following apply:
    •  No more than 3 uses under age 25.
    • No use in five years preceding date of application.
    • No use at age 25 or older.
  • Heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, or any injected controlled substance (excluding anabolic steroids).

J. Eligibility List
At least once every two (2) years, the current eligibility list will be cancelled and new examinations will be conducted for an entirely new list.

K. Veterans
Any candidate who has completed at least two (2) years of active military duty or six (6) years of reserve military service and have received an honorable discharge and who has successfully passed the Written Examination of the Civil Service Testing, shall have his/her score increased by ten (10) points.