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The Orange County Sheriff's Department wants you to be successful in our selection process. Below are recommendations to help you be prepared.

Written Test Study Guides

  • Learning Express Police Officer Exam (California Edition)
  • Norman Hall's Police Exam (California Edition)

Physical Agility Test Preparation

The Physical Agility Test (PAT) is designed to evaluate an applicant’s minimum physical abilities for successful entry into the Deputy Sheriff Trainee position. The test consists of three different stations, each testing a different aspect of physical readiness.

  • 30 Push-Ups: Complete 30 push-ups within 2 minutes. (Pass/Fail)
  • 30 Sit-Ups: Complete 30 sit-ups within 2 minutes. (Pass/Fail)
  • 1.5 Mile Run: Complete one and a half (1.5) miles on a flat surface within 14 minutes. (Pass/Fail)

Oral Interview Preparation

The oral interview panel will consist of two sworn panel members and one civilian. First impressions are important. It is suggested that you be well groomed and wear professional business attire.
Suggested Areas of Preparation:

  • Review the Sheriff's Department website at 
  • Speak with police officers/deputy sheriffs
  • Law Enforcement preparation guides
  • College level criminal justice classes
  • Pre-employment class through Santa Ana College
  • Physical fitness class through Santa Ana College

Areas of Evaluation:

  • Your appearance, grooming, attire
  • Your interest in the position
  • Communication skills (oral expression, eye contact, speech clarity, vocabulary)
  • Professionalism
  • Confidence
  • Performance under stress
  • Common sense / problem solving skills
  • Qualities- ethical, honest, dependable, mature, integrity, moral courage, a strong work ethic, loyalty and devotion.

Possible Areas of Questioning:

  • What in your life has prepared you for a career in law enforcement?
  • Why do you want to be an Orange County Deputy Sheriff Trainee or Sheriff's Special Officer?
  • Department knowledge
  • Situational/scenario Questions

Things to Remember:

  • Be polite and courteous
  • Make eye contact
  • Take time to think before you speak
  • Relax

Pre-Academy Preparation

Santa Ana College Preparation Classes: For more information – please call: (714) 566-9200

Pre-Employment Preparation for Law Enforcement Class: Course Description - Are you planning on testing to be in the law enforcement field? If so, then Pre-Employment Preparation for Law Enforcement is the class for you.

The PEP class teaches you valuable techniques to assist you in passing the written test, physical agility test, the oral panel interview and also prepares you for the "background check." You will also learn the advantages and disadvantages of working for different law enforcement agencies.

On-duty law enforcement personnel teach the PEP class at the Orange County Sheriff's Training Facility, in Orange. Instructors share with students the qualities one should possess in order to be successful in the law enforcement field. For individuals who are considering going through the Basic Police Academy as non-sponsored recruits, the PEP class is a prerequisite.

Physical Fitness for Law Enforcement Applicants: The Physical Fitness for Law Enforcement class is designed to prepare individuals physically. This course includes training in the following areas:

  • Nutrition and weight control
  • Physical conditioning calisthenics
  • Weight room conditioning
  • Academy obstacle course preparation
  • Cardiovascular

This class is designed for both men and women and is instructed by qualified professional staff. With the completion of this four week course and commitment to a fitness program, individuals will be ready for the academy's physical challenges and a career in law enforcement. All candidates must have successfully completed the 010 Pre-Employment Preparation class before entering this class. If you are interested in registering, go to Santa Ana College Admissions Office during regular business hours.

Training Academy Preparation (TAP Class): The Orange County Sheriff's department in partnership with Santa Ana College developed this 16-hour course to assist individuals entering the basic academy. We have experienced that recruits at times need this stepping-stone to master their confidence or to bring them up to the level of more experienced recruits. Training includes:

  • Honor Code
  • Drill (including basic movements, flag ceremony and marching)
  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Overview of Physical Training
  • Reporting and Speeches

Non-sponsored recruits will be required to take this course as a prerequisite to begin the basic academy and sponsored recruits are highly recommended to attend. We are confident that every individual will benefit from this course and will be better prepared for their experience as a basic academy recruit.

Please make sure to bring physical training gear. Space is limited, so we ask that you register as soon as possible. For additional information, please contact the Criminal Justice Academies at (714) 566-9200.

Register at:
Santa Ana College-Admissions and Records Office (S-Bldg.)
1530 W. 17th St.
Santa Ana, Ca. 92706
714-564-6000 / 714-564-6005

Pre-Academy Mentoring Program:

The pre-academy mentoring program is designed to familiarize new recruits with the academy program and protocols. Generally each class has a 12-14 two-hour mentoring sessions prior to starting the academy.

The mentoring sessions are voluntary, but are very beneficial in a Recruits preparation for the Academy. During these sessions Recruits will be instructed on the following: Academy Protocol, Formation, Marching, Basic Speeches, Disciplinary Exercises, Physical Training Speeches/Exercises, Inspection and Flag Ceremony. Applicants will be provided the most current mentoring schedule when they near the end of the hiring process.

There are waiver forms that every Recruit will sign when they arrive at the mentoring session. (This is not a class through Santa Ana College, it is voluntary)

It is suggested that all Recruits wear workout attire for these sessions, because they will be going through Academy Protocol for physical training as well.