UPDATED May 4th, 2023

We are currently accepting applications for Police Patrol Officer.  The position will remain open until filled.  The formal job posting can be found here on the City's website.  Our hiring process is described below.

Application for City Employment                     Application for Volunteer Reserve Police Officer

The Watertown Police Department selects employees from an eligibility list created through an application process, which is conducted on an “as needed” basis. Openings are advertised locally, on our website, and on our facebook page. Additionally, you can be made aware of Police Department and other city government job openings by email or text message through the Notify Me feature of our website. People can submit an application at any time (even when there is no opening). Those applications are kept on file for a period of six months, and the applicant is notified when the next opening is announced.

Why join the WPD?
You would be working for a progressive law enforcement agency that values its most important resource; its people.

  • We have a competitive salary. The starting salary for Patrol Officer is $53,851 to $61,859 depending on experience. Our 911 Communications Officers start at $40,206. Those are just the base salaries.  When holiday pay, night differential, and overtime are factored in, it quite common for our Patrol Officers and Communications Officers to earn $60k and $50k, respectively, in their first year.  New employees who are currently certified and have previous law enforcement experience are eligible for a higher starting salary.  Annual step increases allow for fast salary advancement.
  • We offer a solid retirement program. The WPD participates in the South Dakota Retirement System. Sworn Officers are in Class B and are eligible for retirement when their years of service plus their age equal 75. Non-sworn personnel are in Class A and are eligible for retirement when their years of service plus their age equal 85.
  • We have a good health insurance program. The cost is very competitive when compared against plans offered by private sector employers. The plan gives many choices at varying rates, such as Employee Only, Employee Plus Children, and Family.
  • The size of our department offers many opportunities for specialization. We are big enough to have many of the same specialty programs as larger departments, but small enough that you actually get a chance to serve on those specialty units. Within your first few years, you could be a motorcycle officer, a crime scene technician, a detective, a SWAT team member, a school resource officer, a computer crimes investigator, or serve on any number of other specialty details such as bicycle patrol, the crash investigation unit, or the traffic safety unit.
  • Our facility is state of the art. Completed in 2011, the 38,000 square foot building the WPD calls home has all the latest tools equipment needed to provide quality modern law enforcement service. Our crime lab gives officers and crime scene technicians the opportunity to process evidence locally. Our fitness room negates the need for a costly gym membership.
  • We offer great training opportunities. We serve as a regional training hub, regularly hosting in-service and advanced classes. You want to attend an advanced class away from the WPD? We will send you there, too. Learn more about the training you will receive once you are hired.
  • Uniforms and all necessary equipment are provided. All you need to buy is a pair of boots.
  • We have new patrol vehicles and equipment. We typically replace three patrol cars each year and employ a mechanic on site. That means you will be driving new and reliable vehicles.
  • We offer a condensed training program for new officers that are already certified.
  • Uniformed officers work a great schedule. Twelve-hour shifts mean you routinely get three days off in a row. The schedule rotates in such a way that every officer gets Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off every other week.

Our application process for entry level employment:

  • A job opening is announced. The Human Resource Coordinator for the City of Watertown prepares the job announcement which lists the closing date. 
  • Applicants must submit their application to the Human Resource Coordinator by the closing date.
  • The applications are reviewed, and some candidates receive an interview in front of WPD supervisory personnel and the City Human Resource Coordinator.
  • Interview scores determines which of the applicants is/are given a conditional offer of probationary employment.
  • If two openings exist, two conditional offers are given. Those applicants advance to the background investigation phase (below) of the hiring process.
  • The remainder of the applicants are placed on an eligibility list for a period of one year, or until another announcement for the same position is given.

Our background investigation process may include:

  • Personal History Statement – Detailed listing of the applicant’s education, previous employers, references and social acquaintances, drug usage, and any other criminal activity (whether detected by law enforcement or not)
  • Interviewed by a background investigator
  • Credit check - WPD policy requires that “employees will pay all just debts and legal liabilities incurred by them”
  • References, previous employers, and social acquaintances are interviewed
  • Polygraph examination*
  • Medical exam and drug screen
  • Psychological evaluation by a mental health professional*

If nothing in the background investigation process excludes the applicant, he/she is given an offer and a start date is determined.  A typical background investigation takes between two and four weeks. Assuming the applicant is giving two weeks notice to a current employer, a start date with the WPD is generally between five and eight weeks after the closing date.

*These tests are not required for non-sworn positions (Communications Officer, Secretary, Maintenance, Records Clerk, etc.).

To learn more about career opportunities at the Watertown Police Department, contact Captain Steve Rehorst at (605)882-6210.