Selection Process – Testing and Hiring Procedures


The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office administers a thorough testing and selection process in its hiring procedures. It is incumbent upon the Sheriff’s Office to make sure only those people with the highest level of integrity are placed in a position of public trust and to ensure the best applicant is chosen for the position of Deputy Sheriff.

Per our appearance policy, applicants must have all tattoos completely removed BEFORE showing up for Physical Testing. Body piercings, gauges, or other intentional mutilation must be removed and closed up enough that they cannot be seen through BEFORE showing up for Physical Testing. If there are any questions, please contact Human Resources at 505-334-4522 or Recruiting at 505-334-6107.

The testing process consists of the following sections:

WorkKeys Assessments:

As outlined in the supplemental questions section of the on-line application form, to proceed in this recruitment you will be required to complete three WorkKeys assessments:

  1. Business Writing (passing score – 3)
  2. Listening for Understanding (passing score – 2)
  3. Workplace Observation (passing score – 3)


New Mexico applicants will first need to register as a participant by visiting, and then use the on-line scheduler to reserve a testing day, time, and location.

Applicants from out of the area should visit (for job centers) or to find a testing center nearest your location.

Please arrive 15 minutes before your first scheduled assessment. You will need to bring a photo ID with you. A testing proctor will verify who you are and what assessments you will take.

If you score below the required minimum score indicated above, you will need to wait 24 hours before taking the test again. The Workforce staff can assist you with KeyTrain training if you need assistance with a particular skill area (the recruiter can also set you up with KeyTrain prior to taking the assessments if you would like to practice before taking them). If you do not pass all three tests within two attempts, you will be required to wait six months before taking the tests again.

Physical Ability – Entry Level Candidates:

The physical ability test for entry level deputy sheriff will require an applicant to complete several specified physical tasks in a given sequence within an allotted time frame. An orientation is conducted prior to testing.

The Physical Ability Assessment consists of four segments:

  • the 1.5 mile run
  • the 300 meter dash
  • the number of push-ups properly performed in 1 minute
  • the number of sit-ups properly performed in 1 minute

Passing requirements are in accordance with the New Mexico Law Enforcement Single Entrance Standards, as follows:

1.5 mile run  – 15:14

300 Meter Dash – 71 seconds

Push-ups (1 minute) – 15

Sit-ups (1 minute) – 27

The New Mexico Law Enforcement Single Exit Standards (post-academy) are as follows:

1.5 mile run  – 14:15

300 Meter Dash – 64 seconds

Push-ups (1 minute) – 25

Sit-ups (1 minute) – 37

Applicants should strive to meet the exit standards for their physical testing even though entrance standards will be accepted.

Physical Agility – Lateral (Certified LEO’s) Candidates:

Lateral applicants who are currently certified peace officers in the State of New Mexico are exempt from the physical fitness requirement for testing purposes.

Lateral applicants who are currently certified law enforcement officers (LEO) in any other state must complete an obstacle course style Physical Agility Examination in a specific time allotment to continue in the selection process. The obstacle course has been adopted from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Training Center. The examination will proceed as follows:

Officer is seated in his/her vehicle with the seat belt in use and wearing a 10 pound weight belt or vest to simulate gun belt.

As the timed exercise begins the officer will:

  • Undo seat belt and open the vehicle door.
  • Run 30 feet and open building door.
  • Cross threshold (4 feet) and run up two flights of stairs. Run down the stairs and out the door.
  • Run 100 feet from door to a 5 foot high platform, run up steps to the top of the 5 foot platform and jump down.
  • Run 37.5 feet, turn & reverse, run 25 feet to a 6 foot high wall and scale it. If the applicant chooses, he or she may drag a rigid aid or object 10 feet from the side of the wall and use it as a platform to scale the wall. The rigid aid or object will have handles, a flat top, weigh 50lbs. and be 25” tall.
  • After scaling the wall, run 50 feet to a handcuff/arrest simulator, pull arms down and touch ends.

Time Allowed: 2 minute 5 seconds

Written Evaluation

Both entry level as well as lateral applicants will be required to complete a written evaluation. This consists of writing a few paragraphs about a specified topic. Applicants are allowed 45 minutes to complete the written evaluation.

Panel Interview:

Once an applicant has passed both the WorkKeys and physical portions of the testing process, he or she is scheduled for an interview. The interview panel will consist of three Sheriff’s Office members and will take approximately one hour.

Background Investigation:

Upon successful completion of the panel interview, applicants may be moved forward to the background investigation. An intensive investigation is conducted to ensure the applicant meets the standards and expectations set forth by the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office.

Polygraph Examination, Psychological Evaluation and Medical Exam:

The polygraph, psychological and medical exams are the final tests before a final offer of employment is made. A comprehensive drug screening and TB test are performed at the medical exam.


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