Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ's for Police Recruitment
Are officer allowed to have tattoos?
Yes, with some exceptions. For full details, read below:

Body Art and Physical Alterations (All Personnel):

It will be the policy of the Johnson City Police Department to ensure an appearance consistent with professional law enforcement services.

  1. Uniformed personnel will be permitted to have visible tattoo(s), body art or markings.
  2. Tattoo(s), body art or markings are not allowed on the face, neck (above the collar bone or higher), head, or hands. The only exception will be a wedding band tattoo on the finger of one hand, not to exceed one-half inch in width, and/or cosmetic tattoos, limited to the eyebrows, lashes, lips or scalp.
  3. Tattoo(s), body art or markings that would be considered obscene or offensive by a reasonable person shall be required to be removed or covered at the Department member’s expense. Examples may include, but are not limited to, those that are obscene, offensive, sexually suggestive, profane, or discriminatory towards persons on the basis of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, creed, age, sex, or disability or advocate or symbolize gang, or extremist groups.

All tattoos, body art or markings are subject to the approval of the Chief of Police. The Chief of Police or designee shall be the final authority in determining if a body graphic is considered offensive or inappropriate.

Do I have to be a Johnson City resident to be a police officer?
No, there is no residency requirement. However, to be able to take your assigned cruiser home, you must live in the city or within 15 miles of the city limits (distance measured by roadway) or you would be required to keep it parked at the police department when off duty.
How much are police officers paid in Johnson City?
Starting pay is $44,429 annually and increases to $46,650 after probation, which is typically one year. The department also provides all equipment and uniforms and pays the cost of training as well as your salary while in the police academy and field training, plus city benefits.
What kind of shift will I work on patrol?
Patrol works rotating 12 hour shifts, 7am – 7pm day shift and 7pm – 7am night shifts. Patrol works 4 night shifts, 3 days off, 3 day shifts, 1 day off, 3 night shifts, 3 days off, 4 day shifts, 7 days off per 28 day pay cycle. Additionally, officers choose 1 float day off per cycle for a total of 13 shifts each 28 day cycle.
How do I become an Investigator, SWAT operator, K9 handler, etc.?
All officers begin their service on uniformed patrol. When a vacancy exists on any special assignment or position within the department, it is posted for officers to apply. Officers must have a minimum of two years of service as a Johnson City police officer to be eligible to apply. Each position may then have different requirements or qualifications depending on the position or assignment.
I am a certified police officer. Do I have to attend the police academy again?
It depends. If you are a certified Tennessee officer coming directly from another department, you do not. If you are certified in another state and coming directly from another department, you would have to complete a 3 week transition school to obtain Tennessee POST certification. If you have had a break in service, it would depend on how long since you last worked as a certified officer.
I am a certified police officer with experience. Do you have lateral hire program?
We do not have a lateral entry program in Johnson City. However, Tennessee POST certified officer are eligible for a $2000 incentive if hired and out of state POST certified officers are eligible for a $1000 incentive as they would be required to attend the transitions school to obtain Tennessee certification.
What is involved in your physical agility test?
Our physical agility test is a functional capacity test developed by physical/occupational therapists to determine whether an individual possesses the ability to safely and effectively perform the required job functions. It is conducted by therapists. It consists of climbing over a four foot wall for three repetitions, running up and down three flights of stairs and then walking two flights of stairs while maintaining a working heart rate of 80% max predicted heart rate or less and finally dragging a 165 lb. rescue dummy 70 feet. If hired and required to attend the police academy, you must also successfully complete the academy physical requirements. Click here for the regional law enforcement academy.
How long does the hiring process take?
Registration is always open, and it takes approximately 3-4 months until officers actually are hired and sworn in. The lengthy part of the process is the completion of background investigations and polygraph examinations.
How long is the training after being hired?
The police academy is 9 weeks long. This is followed by 16 weeks of field training during which the probationary officers are assigned to a veteran officer who has been selected to be a Field Training Officer (FTO). The FTO’s guide, train, and counsel the new officers and evaluate their progress. Following successful completion of field training, the officers are assigned to a patrol platoon. Every officer is required a minimum of 40 hours of in-service training each year to maintain their certification. Most Johnson City officers receive much more than required 40 hours each year.