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Police Officer Job Summary

Under the general supervision of the shift supervisor, a Newton police officer is charged with protecting life and property, preventing crime, apprehending criminals, and enforcing laws and ordinances in a designated area on an assigned shift. The position is subject to shift assignment and working weekends and holidays as scheduled.

Salary & Benefits

  • Starting Salary: $59,016 for Entry Level Non-Certified, $70,752 for Iowa Certified Officers, and up to $92,832 after six years.
  • $2,000 Bonus for Entry Level Candidates — $1,000 upon successful completion of Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and $1,000 upon successful completion of 9-month probation period.
  • $8,000 Bonus for Lateral Certified Officers — $2,000 upon hire, $2,000 upon successful completion of 9-month probation period, $2,000 following 1 year of service, $2,000 following 2 years of service.
  • Paid Leave — Vacation (6 Days First Year, 11 Days Second Year; 11 Days First Year for Certified Officers); 11 Personal Days, 12 Sick Days and 11 Holidays Annually; Maternity and Funeral.
  • Health, Dental, Vision and Life Insurance.
  • Municipal Fire and Police Retirement System of Iowa (MFPRSI).
  • 5/4 Schedule (5 Work Days, 4 Days Off) with 10-Hour Shifts.
  • Shift Differential Pay ($0.45 Second Shift / $0.55 Third Shift) & Bilingual Pay ($50 Per Month)
  • Abbreviated Hiring Process and Field Training for Lateral Certified Officers.
  • Uniform Allowance.
  • No Residency Policy.
  • College Credit Pay Incentive. 

Police Officer Hiring Process Overview

Application and Initial Screening

Candidates must apply online by the designated deadline. All candidate applications will be screened to determine if minimum qualifications have been met and no known disqualifiers exist (see Criteria Standards for Disqualification). Candidates who are deemed qualified to test will be invited to participate in the assessment process. 

Test Prep

Candidates will be invited to participate in test preparation activities in order to prepare for the written and physical fitness exams. Test prep event times and dates will be announced following the close of the application period and will give applicants a chance to learn more about the written test and to practice the push-ups, sit-ups and running portions of the physical fitness test. A study guide for the written test is available upon request from police department administrative staff, and a practice test is available online. 

Written Test (POST)

The National Police Officer Selection Test (POST) is used as an entry-level written test to gauge mental skills, basic intelligence and education level in police applicants. A score of 70% on each section is required according to Iowa Law Enforcement Academy standards. 

The POST exam measures the applicants’ skills in the following categories:

Mathematics — The ability to use math to solve problems, including the basics of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.

Reading Comprehension — Read a passage relating to police duty and answer questions based on the passages. No prior knowledge of law or law enforcement is needed to answer the questions. This demonstrates applicants’ ability to read, understand and retain what they read from a variety of sources such as police reports, witness statements, court documents, etc.

Grammar — This section requires applicants to identify errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling. 

Incident Report Writing — The applicant will read a sample incident report form and use the information to answer questions. This demonstrates the applicant’s ability to write clear and concise sentences and paragraphs using simple correct grammar.

Applicants who are ILEA certified are not required to take the POST exam and will be awarded 100 points in lieu of taking the exam.

Physical Fitness Test

The Newton Police Department utilizes the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy’s physical fitness testing standards as a pre-employment standard. The physical fitness test established by ILEA consists of three events: the one-minute push-up test, the one-minute sit-up test and the 1.5 mile run. 

Candidates are required to meet the standards of the 40th percentile for each age and sex group. A detailed description of each physical test is available from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.

The Newton Police Department may accept passing physical fitness test results from other agencies if the passing test occurred within 30 days of application. A signed letter along with certification of the test results from the testing agency will be required. 

Oral Interview

Upon successful completion of the POST and physical fitness test, candidates will be scheduled for a personal interview. The interview has a one-hour time limit and consists of approximately 12-15 multi-part questions. 

The Newton Police Department utilizes the behavioral interview style of assessment. Behavioral interviews are life based and thus require no special knowledge of policing and allow candidates to answer questions based on past life experiences in a structured manner.

Background Investigation

The Newton Police Department conducts a thorough background investigation on each police officer candidate to determine the character of a potential employee. The investigation includes verification and review  of identity, education, employment history, personal references, credit rating, criminal history, driving record and a fingerprint check. 

Conditional Offer of Employment

After careful review and consideration of applicant materials, test scores, oral interview scores, etc., selected candidates are given a “Conditional Offer of Employment.” These candidates are invited to continue in the selection process and complete the remaining test phases.

Psychological Testing (MMPI-2)

The Newton Police Department utilizes the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) to assess candidates during the hiring process. The MMPI-2 is the most widely used and researched test of adult psychopathology as well as the most widely used and researched tool for pre-employment psychological testing for high-risk public safety positions. The test is also used by clinicians to assist with the diagnosis of mental disorders and the selection of appropriate treatment methods. 

The MMPI-2 consists of 567 true-false questions and takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes to complete. The Newton Police Department administers the test online to candidates who have successfully completed the written and physical fitness tests, oral interview and background investigation.


Candidates selected as finalists for police officer positions are required to undergo a polygraph examination as part of the background investigation process. The polygraph is used as an investigative tool to verify the truthfulness of a candidates’ responses on application and background investigation materials.

Physical Exam

Following successful completion of the psychological and polygraph exams, candidates for employment are scheduled for a pre-employment physical to determine whether they are physically able to perform the duties of a law enforcement officer. 

The pre-employment physical includes a vision exam, urinalysis, bloodwork, ECG, treadmill stress test and chest X-ray and is completed in accordance with MFPRSI and Iowa Law Enforcement Academy protocols.

Final Offer

Select police officer candidates who successfully complete the written exam, physical fitness exam, oral interviews, background investigation, psychological exam, polygraph exam, drug screen and physical exam will be provided a final offer of employment and, upon acceptance, will be given a start date and shift assignment.

Police Academy

Upon hire, all non-certified Newton Police Department recruits will be enrolled in the next available 16-week police officer training program at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa.

ILEA tuition is paid for by the City of Newton. The training program runs Monday through Friday, and officers are dismissed over the weekends. Learn more about the ILEA.

Field Training

The 14-week Field Training Program is an extension of the law enforcement selection process that combines pre-field training with objective evaluations to ensure that the standards of a competent law enforcement officer are met. 

Police officer trainees are assigned to a specially trained Field Training Officer throughout the Field Training Program who will teach, mentor and evaluate the trainee toward a successful completion and solo patrol assignment. 

Certified lateral candidates will participate in an 6-week Field Training Program. 

Probationary Period

All Police Officers hired by the Newton Police Department are on probation for 9 months after graduating from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy or 9 months post hire for certified lateral candidates.