Background Investigations

California Government Code §1031 requires a pre-employment background investigation for law enforcement officers. The Background Investigation process determines whether a candidate meets the requirements to become a law enforcement officer. The Background Unit manages the investigation process which includes verifying identity, education, employment history, criminal record, credit history and will include interviews with family, friends and relatives.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide all necessary documents to the Background Unit so the investigation process can begin. Incomplete background packets will delay the pre-employment investigation.

Q-2 Police Officer Background Information

Following the successful completion of the Oral Examination, and the Physical Ability Test, the Background Unit will require the applicant to complete the P.O.S.T Personal History Statement and provide the following documents:

  1. A copy of your Birth Certificate.
  2. A copy of Certificate of Naturalization, if applicable.
  3. A copy of your Social Security card.
  4. Proof of Right to work in the United States, consisting of: 

    a. DHS Right to Work card; 

    b. Social Security card.

  5. A copy of your Driver License.
  6. A copy of your Passport.
  7. Veterans will be required to provide a copy of DD214 (Character Service & Re-entry Code).
  8. A copy of Registration with Selective Service. Males under the Age of 26 are required to register for Selective Service. Contact Selective Service System at (847) 688-6888. Proof of Registration can also be obtained at Selective Service System website
  9. A copy of Marriage Certificate(s) or Domestic Partnership Registration, if applicable. 
  10. A copy of Divorce Decree(s) or Domestic Partnership Dissolution, if applicable.
  11. A copy of any Restraining Orders/Stay Away Orders issued or filed, if applicable. 
  12. A copy of Vehicle Registration(s), if applicable. 
  13. A copy of Vehicle Insurance Policy Declaration (not the card you carry in your wallet/car), if applicable.
  14. A copy of any Bankruptcy proceedings and/or civil lawsuits and judgments, if applicable. 
  15. Original certified high school and college transcripts or a copy of your GED certificate and scores. Do not open the envelope or break the seal. If you do not have your educational proof by the postmark due date, submit what you have and provide a written statement verifying that you have ordered certified copies as described. 
  16. A recent 2x2 color photograph (PASSPORT TYPE & SIZE). Please print your name on the back.

Background Investigation Packet

Download a fillable version of the packet.

The Police Department Background Unit will also request the applicant to provide the following information, dating back over a period of ten (10) years:

  • Place of residence

Background Investigators will contact current and, where practicable, previous neighbors to determine whether the candidate has exhibited behavior incompatible with the position sought.

  • Names of persons the applicant resided with

  • Employment history (volunteer, full-time, part-time, etc.)

  • Names of coworkers and supervisors

  • Names of all law enforcement agencies previously applied to

Common disqualifiers:

  • Felony convictions
  • Serious misdemeanors
  • Current or past drug abuse
  • Dishonorable discharge from military service
  • Past or current gang affiliations
  • Unreported past crimes
  • History of domestic violence
  • False or incomplete information given on application

The Background Unit will notify the candidate if they are to move forward to the polygraph, medical and psychological testing phase. Successful candidates will be contacted by the Background Unit and provided with a conditional offer of employment and invitation to an Academy Class.

Background Investigation Unit
1245 3rd Street, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158

San Francisco Police Department

Safety with Respect for All.