Trooper Selection Process Description

The Pre-Employment testing portion of the Trooper Selection Process is comprised of several phases, including a written examination, a physical fitness for duty assessment, polygraph examination, background investigation, oral interview board, medical examination, drug screening, and a psychological examination and interview. You are expected to successfully complete each phase of the selection process to be considered for employment.

After each testing phase, you will receive written notification of your status. Due to this, it is imperative the Human Resources Division has a current mailing address and telephone number on file for you. You are responsible for immediately notifying Human Resources of any address or telephone number change. All individuals are notified of their status and informed of the application procedures for future testing periods.

An explanation of each phase of the selection process is listed below:

Written Examination

The National Criminal Justice Officer Selection Inventory (NCJOSI) consists of a series of multiple-choice questions, true-false questions and rating scales designed to test important cognitive abilities and personality attributes that are necessary for effective job performance as a criminal justice officer.

In developing the NCJOSI, a group of law enforcement experts from criminal justice agencies throughout the United States identified many of the tasks essential to the performance of the job of a criminal justice officer. From these tasks, five essential areas for entry-level testing were determined. These five areas are as follows:

  • Problem Solving Ability
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Mathematics
  • Writing Ability
  • Personality Characteristics

These five test areas have been clustered or grouped into two sections on the NCJOSI. The cognitive section, which includes problem solving, reading comprehension, mathematics, and writing ability is the first part of the exam and includes a total of 45 questions. Various attitudes and personality characteristics are clustered together to form the second section of the NCJOSI, which includes a total of 42 questions. The total time allowed for taking the NCJOSI is one-and-a-half (1 1/2) hours.

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Fitness for Duty Assessment

Physical Assessment Video

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This phase consists of five events: push-ups, trigger pull, sit-ups, 300 meter run, and 1.5 mile run. (Click for the instructions for each event.) The events will be scored individually as a pass/fail. Failure of an event will result in disqualification for that particular selection process, and the applicant will not be allowed to participate in the remaining events. Applicants will not be allowed to retest, but may reapply for the next selection process, if eligible.

The fitness battery and its pass/fail thresholds are based on normative data gathered by the Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas. The Cooper Institute's normative data provide substantial evidence that both the exercises and pass/fail thresholds used in the fitness test are appropriate for law enforcement jobs. (Click for the minimum score chart for each event.)

NOTE: Only the top scoring applicants are selected to proceed within the selection process and placed on the preliminary eligibility list. Candidates for the polygraph examination and background investigation phases are selected from this list.

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Polygraph Examinations

The applicant must undergo and successfully complete a polygraph examination, administered by a Patrol polygraphist. The examination is used to assist the background investigator in conducting a comprehensive investigation of an applicant. The main recording in the polygraph examination is blood pressure. The polygraph examination can be stressful for some applicants. Conditions such as hypertension, pregnancy, respiratory or heart ailments, etc., may affect the results of the polygraph examination. While there is no medical evidence that a polygraph examination effects a person's health, applicants are encouraged to discuss this step with their physician prior to the examination to determine if it is suitable to be tested. If an accommodation is needed, the applicant must discuss that with the Human Resources Division at the time the examination is scheduled. Those applicants who are pregnant will not be tested until after the birth of the child. All applicants are required to sign a waiver form prior to taking the polygraph examination. The areas covered in the polygraph examination are as follows:

  • Employment History
  • Traffic Record
  • Financial History
  • Current Illegal Drug Usage
  • Record of Criminal Convictions
  • Basic Honesty

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Background Investigation

A uniformed member of the Patrol conducts an extensive pre-employment background investigation, in order to determine the applicant's character and overall suitability for employment. Information obtained through the background investigation is held strictly confidential. To assist the background investigator, applicants are required to obtain a standard list of documents, such as:

  • Certified copy of birth certificate obtained from the birth states' Department of Health (an original birth certificate, photocopy of the original or certified copy, or a notarized copy are NOT acceptable)
  • Valid driver's license (photocopy)
  • Military service discharge papers, if applicable (DD214 and/or DD215)
  • High school diploma or GED certificate (photocopy)
  • High school transcript (official copy)
  • College diploma(s) (photocopy)
  • College transcript(s) (official copy)
  • Peace Officer Standard Training (POST) certificate

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Background Review and Structured Oral Interview Board

Each applicant's background investigation is submitted to a board comprised of uniformed members who evaluate the information presented and assess the applicant's suitability for the position. Independent of the background investigation assessment, the applicant will participate in a structured oral interview. During the interview, the interview board will rate the applicant's oral communication skills and responses to questions in predetermined dimensions.

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Conditional Offer of Employment

  • Medical Examination - Contracted doctors conduct the medical examinations. Applicant must meet minimum medical standards and be determined to be medically capable of performing the job. The initial medical examination, as prescribed by the Superintendent, is given at Patrol expense. However, additional examinations to prove an applicant's eligibility may be at the applicant's expense.
  • Drug Screening - Applicants must successfully pass a Patrol administered drug test. The drug screening consists of a urine sample, tested for specific drugs, using cutoff levels established by the Patrol and/or the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
  • Psychological Examination and Evaluation - A battery of psychological tests, that measure individual responses to law enforcement, behavioral, and societal psychodynamic factors, are administered. A contracted clinical psychologist completes the evaluation during a one-on-one interview.

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Final Offer

Budget constraints and the number of vacant openings determine the exact number of applicants who receive a Final Offer of Employment. This offer is extended to applicants who successfully completed the medical examination, psychological evaluation, drug screening, and an overall final review. Additionally, applicants must sign a three-year commitment contract. This contract requires the applicant to remain employed with the Missouri State Highway Patrol for at least three years; otherwise, the applicant must reimburse the Patrol the cost of training and uniform expenses based upon a prorated basis.

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The Missouri State Highway Patrol is an Equal Opportunity Employer