Question Answer

How will I know if my peace officer certification has lapsed or expired?

Under RCW 43.101.125, a peace officer’s certification lapses automatically when there is a break of more than 24 consecutive months in the officer’s service as a full-time law enforcement officer.



What is LAPSE vs. EXPIRED?

When certification has lapsed, the applicant must gain employment and attend an equivalency academy under WAC 139.05.210. Peace officer certification will expire after a 60-month break in service and the applicant must gain employment and attend the full basic law enforcement academy under WAC 139-05-200.


  • When a break in service is less than 24 months, the applicant must meet all requirements of RCW 43.101.095 (2) prior to employment.
  • When a break in service is more than 24 months but less than 60 months, the applicant must meet all requirements of RCW 43.101.095 (2) prior to employment and WAC 139.05.210 prior to Certification.
  • When a break in service is greater than 60 months, the applicant must meet all requirements of RCW 43.101.095 (2) prior to employment and WAC 139-05-200 prior to Certification.

What happens if I refuse to sign the "Application for Peace Officer Certification" form?

Signing the form is one of the statutory requirements of becoming certified as a peace officer. If the form is not signed by the officer, certification cannot occur. 

Who has the authority to “commission” a peace officer?

The WSCJTC is not involved in peace or reserve officers’ oaths of office or commissions. The following organizations may be able to assist you:

What is considered to be disqualifying misconduct?

RCW 43.101.010(8) defines “Discharged for disqualifying misconduct" as terminated from employment for:

(a) Conviction of (i) any crime committed under color of authority as a peace officer, (ii) any crime involving dishonesty or false statement within the meaning of Evidence Rule 609(a), (iii) the unlawful use or possession of a controlled substance, or (iv) any other crime the conviction of which disqualifies a Washington citizen from the legal right to possess a firearm under state or federal law;

(b) conduct that would constitute any of the crimes addressed in (a) of this subsection; or

(c) knowingly making materially false statements during disciplinary investigations, where the false statements are the sole basis for the termination.


Who do I contact with questions regarding peace officer certification?

Please contact Tisha Jones, Peace Officer Certification Manager with questions.

Email: tjones@cjtc.state.wa.us

Phone: (360)486-2431

I have an employee who is transferring to a fully commissioned or reserve officer position, can I use the polygraphy/psychological/background check with fingerprint submission for when they were original hired?

No, as per RCW 43.101.080(19) and RCW 43.101.095, your agency must conduct a new polygraph, psychological, and background check on the employee transferring to a fully commissioned or reserve officer position.

RCW 43.101.080(19) specifically states “To require county, city, or state law enforcement agencies that make a conditional offer of employment to an applicant as a fully commissioned peace officer or a reserve officer to administer a background investigation including a check of criminal history, verification of immigrant or citizenship status as either a citizen of the United States of America or a lawful permanent resident, a psychological examination, and a polygraph test or similar assessment to each applicant, the results of which shall be used by the employer to determine the applicant's suitability for employment as a fully commissioned peace officer or a reserve officer. The background investigation, psychological examination, and the polygraph examination shall be administered in accordance with the requirements of RCW 43.101.095(2). The employing county, city, or state law enforcement agency may require that each peace officer or reserve officer who is required to take a psychological examination and a polygraph or similar test pay a portion of the testing fee based on the actual cost of the test or four hundred dollars, whichever is less. County, city, and state law enforcement agencies may establish a payment plan if they determine that the peace officer or reserve officer does not readily have the means to pay for his or her portion of the testing fee.”

But I’m not allowed to polygraph a current employee:
This is not true, RCW 49.44.120 was updated in 2005 and again in 2007 specifically to address this issue. RCW 49.22.129(1) “It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or the state of Washington, its political subdivisions or municipal corporations to require, directly or indirectly, that any employee or prospective employee take or be subjected to any lie detector or similar tests as a condition of employment or continued employment: PROVIDED, That this section shall not apply to persons making application for employment with any law enforcement agency or with the juvenile court services agency of any county, or to persons returning after a break of more than twenty-four consecutive months in service as a fully commissioned law enforcement officer: PROVIDED FURTHER, That this section shall not apply to either the initial application for employment or continued employment of persons who manufacture, distribute, or dispense controlled substances as defined in chapter 69.50 RCW, or to persons in sensitive positions directly involving national security.”


Does a peace officer have to be “terminated” in order for the Commission to take action against their peace officer certification, what if the officer resigns?

No, RCW 43.101.010 (9) explains that a peace officer is "discharged for disqualifying misconduct" within the meaning of RCW 43.101.010 (8) under the ordinary meaning of the term and when the totality of the circumstances support a finding that the officer resigned in anticipation of discipline, whether or not the misconduct was discovered at the time of resignation, and when such discipline, if carried forward, would more likely than not have led to discharge for disqualifying misconduct within the meaning of RCW 43.101.010 (8).


Which officers are required to certify?

Every fully commissioned peace officer in Washington state, including the Washington State Patrol, and Fish and Wildlife officers regardless of rank. Reserve Officers are not eligible for peace officer certification. 

What other state’s basic academies do you recognize?

To determine if your basic academy training is recognized, review the CJTC Equivalency Reciprocity listed above.

Please note: A recognized law enforcement agency must first hire an academy applicant. The WSCJTC is not the employing agency and we do not determine if you are eligible as a lateral officer.


Who can file a complaint challenging an officer's certification status?

RCW 43.101.145 explains that a law enforcement officer or a duly authorized representative of a law enforcement agency may submit a written complaint to the WSCJTC charging that a peace officer's certification should be denied or revoked. The complaint must specify the grounds for the charge. The WSCJTC has sole discretion whether to investigate the complaint. 

In order to meet the requirements of RCW 43.101.080 (19), can an agency share the results of the criminal backgrounds check, psychological testing and polygraph/similar testing?

Criminal Backgrounds Check:

The Rules and Statues are silent in regards to the sharing of the background information.


Yes, with conditions. WAC 139-07-030(10) explains that the psychological examination may be shared with more than one law enforcement agency under the following circumstances:

(a)The agency which initiated the psychological examination and the qualified professional conducting the examination agreed to share the psychological examination report and recommendations with the other law enforcement agency;

(b) The applicant signed a release permitting the other agency to have the psychological examination report;

(c) The psychological examination was completed within six months of the request by the other law enforcement agency; and (d)The job analyses of the initiating and other law enforcement agencies must be substantially similar.

Polygraph examination or other truth verification assessment:

No. WAC 139-07-040 (1)(d) explains that pre-employment tests and assessments are considered screening devices and are conducted in the absence of a known incident, allegation, or particular reason to suspect someone's involvement. The truth verification assessment questions should be simple, direct, and easily understood by the applicant. Test information and results should be considered confidential within the screening process to be used exclusively by the county, city, or state law enforcement agency to assist with the selection of their applicant.

What are the requirements a peace officer must meet to become certified?

RCW 43.101.095 requires as a condition of continuing employment. All Washington peace officers shall:

  1. Meet the basic law enforcement training requirements or meet exemption requirements under RCW 43.101.200.
  2. Have not been denied certification or have had your certification revoked in this or another state.
  3. Meet all requirements set forth in RCW 43.101.080 (19).
  4. Have a signed Peace Officer Application Form CJ-1904 form on file with the WSCJTC.

How will you know if a peace officer is terminated?

RCW 43.101.135 requires the agency of termination to notify the WSCJTC on the “Termination” form of any separation of a peace officer or any reason including resignation. The agency has within fifteen days of the termination action being final to submit the form. 

What are the reasons a peace officer certification is denied or revoked?

RCW 43.101.105 explains that a peace officer’s certification can be denied or revoked by the WSCJTC upon request by the peace officers employing agency or on its own initiative after written notice and hearing for the following reasons:

  1. Failing to timely meet all requirements for obtaining basic law enforcement training, a certificate of equivalency, or a certificate of exemption.
  2. Knowingly falsified or omitted material information on an application for training or certification to the WSCJTC.
  3. Convicted of a felony under the laws of this state or convicted of a federal or out-of-state offense comparable to a felony under the laws of this state.
  4. Discharged for disqualifying misconduct, the discharge is final, and the acts or omissions forming the basis for the discharge occurred on or after January 1, 2002.
  5. The certificate was issued in error on the part of the WSCJTC.

Interference with an investigation or action for denial or revocation of certificate by: Knowingly making a materially false statement to the WSCJTC; or Tampered with evidence or tampered with or intimidated a witness in any matter under investigation by the WSCJTC.