Advancement within the Los Angeles Airport Police Division is of two types: (1) promotion and (2) assignment to a higher pay grade. The word "promotion" refers to an advance from one Civil Service class to another, such as from Police Officer to Detective or Sergeant. Promotion is always from an eligible list established by the Personnel Department as the result of a Civil Service examination. "Assignment to a higher pay grade" is assignment to a position carrying greater responsibility or expertise, without a change in Civil Service class. Examples would be reassignments from a Police Officer II to a Police Officer III position.

After completion of the six-month Police Academy training, Police Officers are assigned to Patrol Services Section. Probationary officers are assigned to a Training Officer during their 22 week field training period. The next two to three years are spent in patrol assignments.

The basic Sergeant position is a field supervisor position; this is the position for which Sergeant promotional candidates must demonstrate their qualifications. There are also administrative and specialist assignments for Sergeants.

Requirements and duties descriptions for higher ranks can be found in job bulletins published by the Personnel Department.


The first step in the career ladder with the Los Angeles Airport Police Division is Police Officer I. It is the entry-level classification given to all LA Airport PD recruits upon entering the Police Academy. For six months in the Police Academy, officers are taught criminal law, human relations, Spanish, and report writing. In addition, they are trained in tactics, firearms, and driving. Physical fitness and self-defense play a big part in Academy training. A Police Officer I will automatically advance to Police Officer II upon successful completion of his/her 18-month probationary period.


A probationary Police Officer II assigned to a patrol unit performs basic duties such as: responding to the scene of a crime or an accident; interviewing suspects and witnesses; writing crime reports; responding to radio calls; monitoring any suspicious activity of ongoing crimes; coordinating vehicular traffic; booking suspects, evidence and transporting them to the appropriate Police Department facility; responding to citizens' and visitors' questions; preparing Daily Field Activity Reports; and performing numerous other activities in support of the community aviation policing philosophy.


With three years of experience as a Police Officer II, officers advance to the next step in the promotional ladder, Police Officer III. A Police Officer III is responsible for enforcing laws and ordinances; protecting life and property; issuing citations, making arrests, preparing reports; meeting with community members; working as a team member; and providing information to the public and departmental units. This position may also supervise as a Field Training Officer.


Much like a department manager, a Sergeant I supervises a squad or detail of Police Officers and/or civilian employees. A Sergeant I is required to provide instruction to assigned staff in the operation of their required duties. The basic capacity of a Sergeant I is field supervision, but administrative and specialized assignments are also available. Some Sergeants perform initial and follow-up investigation of crimes and perform surveillance work to detect or prevent crime.


Promoting from a Sergeant I to a Sergeant II only requires a pay grade advancement interview. A Sergeant II position is a supervisory position with specialized and administrative assignments. A Sergeant II supervises a group of Police Officers and/or civilian employees and instructs them in the performance of their assigned duties.


After serving two years as a Sergeant, one is eligible to promote to the next classification on the ladder upon a successful completion of a competitive Lieutenant's examination and interview. Similar to a Second Level Manager for a large corporation, a Lieutenant I manages, plans, organizes, and directs the work of both sworn and civilian employees engaged in the operation of an assigned watch or a 24-hour team in a police division or an investigational unit or detail. They are in-charge of a specialized division or section, where he or she must apply sound supervisory principles and techniques to build and maintain an effective work force.


Upon completion of one year as a Lieutenant, one can advance to a Captain level, after passing a competitive Captain's examination and interview. A Captain, resembling a District Manager of a large corporation, serves as a Commanding Officer of a patrol division. The Captain is responsible for inspecting and overseeing the functions of the patrol officers and detectives to ensure compliance with the Department policies, procedures, regulations, and standards; supervising the administrative and support functions of non-sworn personnel; inspecting personnel, facilities, and tactics for safety and/or training needs; maintaining liaison with numerous municipal, governments, civic organizations, and private citizens to establish and maintain rapport to facilitate Department functions and to promote neighborhood safety and aviation community policing programs.


After one year of experience as a Captain, one can promote to a Assistant Chief position. A role similar to an Assistant General Manager or Vice President of a corporation, the Assistant Chief is the second highest rank in the Police Department and reports directly to the Chief of Police. They direct the activities of a geographic area or work in an office consisting of several divisions of the Los Angeles Airport Police Division.


The Chief of Police (COP) is the highest-ranking officer in the Police Division. As a General Manager of the Police Division, the COP is responsible for the planning, efficient administration, and operation of the Police Division under the authority of the Board of Police Commissioners. In this capacity, the COP directs, plans, and coordinates the enforcement of the penal divisions of the City Charter, the ordinances of the City, and the laws of the state and nation for the purpose of protecting persons and property and for the preservation of the peace of the community. The COP is responsible for testifying before the City Council, the state and national legislative bodies on law enforcement matters of importance to the City of Los Angeles; and, proposing new or amending existing legislation which could have an impact on law enforcement.


All Los Angeles Airport Police Officers start in patrol. While many Officers will choose to remain in patrol, others put in for promotions or for transfer to specialized assignments after a few years in the field. Patrol is the primary provider of police services to the aviation community and is considered to be the backbone of the LA Airport PD.

Patrol officers investigate crimes, make arrests, patrol communities to make them safer, work with the community to solve problems, conduct community meetings, mediate disputes, investigate traffic collisions and provide general police services.

Specialized Assignments

There are many different job assignments within the LA Airport PD.Some of them, like traffic investigator are done by hundreds of officers, but then there are also specialized jobs like motorcycle officers, public information officers, K-9 units, and bike Officers. Most of these require specialized training, and if you are selected, you are paid to be trained.


The first promotion available to Officers is to become a Sergeant and move into field supervision.

Sergeants - Most Sergeants serve as field supervisors. Promotional candidates must demonstrate their qualifications in this area. There are also administrative and specialized assignments for Sergeants. A minimum of five years experience as a Police Officer is required to apply for promotion to Sergeant.

Switching Jobs

Many Police Officers work several different specialized assignments during the course of their careers. All Officers who have finished their probationary period are eligible to apply for specialized divisions. Although some specialties, like Emergency Services Unit (ESU), are very selective and competitive, and will not take every applicant, there are many different jobs to choose from.

Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis Unit (VAAU)

Ensures a safe environment for business and travel at LAX through compliance with the Comprehensive Airport Security Program. This is accomplished through education, self-inspection, enforcement, and the cooperative effort of the aviation community.

Internal Affairs

Investigates incidents and plausible suspicions of law-breaking and professional misconduct attributed to officers on the force.

Bicycle Patrol

Serves in numerous capacities throughout LAX, including engaging in crime suppression and criminal apprehension in the airport parking structures and outer parking lots, offering silent approach to observed or reported crimes in progress and suspicious activity, and providing rapid apprehension of fleeing suspects.


This unit is specially trained to search for and apprehend fleeing suspects, explosive materials, and other evidence. Canine teams provide high-visibility patrols of the terminal areas, respond to unattended-article calls, and provide assistance to nearby law enforcement agencies.

Crime Scene Investigation

Assists in the collection of latent prints and other evidence, prepares crime and evidence reports, assists with preliminary and follow up investigations, testifies in court proceedings regarding the collection of evidence, and provides documentation, including photographs and videotapes.


Investigates airport related crimes, conducts follow-up investigations, interviews criminal suspects and victims, and testifies in court proceedings.

Dignitary Protection

Provides world class protection of dignitaries arriving and departing LAX. This requires liaisons between federal, state, local, and international law enforcement agencies, including the United States Secret Service, the United States Department of State, the California Highway Patrol, the California Attorney General’s Office, and several other agencies.

Critical Infrastructure Protection

Plans, facilitates, and continually updates crisis management protocols for LAX officers. Also handles special event and emergency/disaster planning, establishment of emergency response cadres (i.e. Command Post Operations), and evaluation of critical incidents related to aviation.

Emergency Services Unit (ESU)

Provides the first tactical response to critical events (i.e. a hijacked aircraft or an active shooter). Deploys specialized equipment to aid local and federal law enforcement units in responding to critical incidents.

Commercial Enforcement

Enhances the safety of those using commercial ground transportation at LAX by inspecting the permits and work locations of passenger vehicles for hire. Also investigates traffic accidents and provides support for dignitary protection, along with other transportation-related duties.

Public Information Officer

Serves as the liaison between the LAXPD and the news media. Writes news releases and holds news conferences on major incidents and concerns to the community. Assists with news media access and coordination at crime scenes and critical incidents.

Backgrounds Unit

Conducts background investigations on police officer candidates, including interviews of neighbors, landlords, and employers of candidates. Also responsible for coordinating other aspects of candidates’ pre-employment screening. The investigator makes the initial recommendation as to the candidate’s viability for hire.


Main duty is to try and produce as many qualified applicants as possible for employment testing and mentor them through the process. This is accomplished through presentations, job fairs, and a variety of other recruitment efforts.


This key group provides training for all the personnel of the Airport Police Division, instilling them with the knowledge and skills needed to protect all the people and property at LAX.

Video Surveillance Network

Reviews videotapes for possible identification of suspects involved in crimes and for the possible identification of witnesses to these crimes. Also monitors video surveillance equipment and prepares for court cases involving videotapes.

Motorcycle Patrol

Selected Commercial Enforcement Officers, who have passed motor school, are assigned to this unit as full time motorcycle officers.


Working with Immigration and U.S. Customs in a joint effort to minimize criminal activity on both State and Federal levels.


Working with the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency to stop the illegal transportation of narcotics and controlled substances and/or other criminal activity at LAX through the use of surveillance and search warrants.

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