Glossary of Law Enforcement Terms and Abbreviations

Associative Memory - Some police exams include memorization questions, such as memorizing information from wanted posters that requires later recall.

Attitudinal Testing - See Personality Profile

Barron's - Barron's is a publisher of books on test preparation. Their book titled, "Police Officer Exam" presents information, practice tests, and strategies for the different question types used by police departments. Barron's book has been around for decades, but is considered inefficient and antiquated by modern online prep courses.

BART Police - The Police Department dedicated to protecting the Bay Area Rapid Transit in the San Francisco Bay area.

Behavioral Testing - See Personality Profile

Bio Data - In addition to testing an applicants cognitive abilities (the stuff you learn in school) there are a variety of tools used to collect and measure an applicant's personality, work experience or attitudes. These tests, in general, are known as Bio Data.

B-PAD Group Inc. - to be added

CJBAT - The Criminal Justice Basic Abilities Test (CJBAT) is the entry level test used by many law enforcement agencies in Florida. The other most commonly used exam is FBAT. The two tests are similar.

CLOZE - The CLOZE reading test is a powerful form of reading test where the student must fill in missing words in a passage. The blank words indicate how many letters are in the desired word. This letter count, plus the context of the passage, are the only clues the student has for determining the correct words. The test measures vocabulary, spelling and grammar concurrently. The CLOZE is found on the California PELLETB exam, but is less common in other parts of the U.S.

Cognitive Abilities - When you hear a test refer to sections as Cognitive Abilities, this means stuff that you learned in school, like reading, writing, math, etc.

Computer Voice Stress Analysis - The Computer Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA) is a type of lie detector or truthfulness test used by some law enforcement agencies. The test measures changes in the applicant's voice while answering questions.

Cooper Standards - The majority of police, sheriff and state trooper departments in this country use all, or parts of, the "Cooper Standards" when setting their entry-level standards for physical fitness. The purpose of the standards is to insure that physical fitness requirements match practical job requirements and give a fair opportunity to all applicants to qualify, independent of sex, height, and weight.

CVSA - The CVSA or Computer Voice Stress Analysis is a type of lie detector or truthfulness test used by some law enforcement agencies. The test measures changes in the applicant's voice while answering questions.

CWH Research - CWH Research Inc. is a Colorado-based company that offers assessment solutions to police departments. It provides an entry-level law enforcement test that is referred to as the CWH Next Generation Entry-Level Law Enforcement Aptitude Test.

Darany and Associates - Darany and Associates is a California based company that provides tests for entry level hiring and promotions for police officers, deputies, and dispatchers. The Darany and Associates police exam is called Darany Entry Level Police Officer Examination (DELPOE).

DART Police - The Police Department dedicated to protecting the Dallas Area Rapid Transit in Texas.

Deductive Reasoning - A class of Logical Reasoning questions often found on police written exams. Deductive Reasoning is the ability to apply general rules or regulations to specific situations or to proceed from stated principles to logical conclusions. An example of this ability might include a decision to tow a vehicle from a residential street based on rules and regulations provided by the department that detail what conditions must be met to tow the vehicle.

DELPOE - The Darany Entry Level Police Officer Examination (DELPOE) is an entry level exam used for screen applicants for law enforcement positions. The exam is published by Darany and Associates.

EMPCO - Empco, Inc. is a Michigan based company specializing in testing services for public safety and municipal government agencies. Police applicants may be instructed to register with EMPCO in order to take their entrance exams.

Ergometrics - Ergometrics & Applied Personnel Research, Inc. is a human resource management firm specializing in personnel selection and training. They publish the popular police entry exam known as Frontline National. Ergometrics also owns NTN - the National Testing Network, that allows police agencies to outsource the administration of their entry level testing.

FBAT - The Florida Basic Abilities Test (FBAT) is the entry level test used by many law enforcement agencies in Florida. The other most commonly used exam is CJBAT. The two tests are similar.

FBI Police - FBI Police Officers help keep the FBI Bureau secure by providing protection to FBI personnel and property.

FLETC - The Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia, serves as an interagency law enforcement training body for 91 United States government federal law enforcement agencies. It also provides training to state, local, campus, tribal, and international law enforcement agencies.

Flexibility of Closure - A class of test questions often found on police written exams. Flexibility of Closure involves someone’s skill at finding an object that is somehow hidden within a group of other objects. This would involve picking out a particular face in a crowd of faces. In this case, the individual knows what he or she is looking for; the task is to identify the one pattern that is buried in a larger pattern. Speed is not important in this ability.

Force Continuum - A use of force continuum is a standard that provides law enforcement officers with guidelines as to how much force may be used against a resisting subject in a given situation.

FPSI - Fire & Police Selection Inc. (FSPI) is a testing company that provides personnel testing to fire and police agencies.

FPSI Police Test - An police selection test published by Fire & Police Selection Inc. (FPSI)

Frontline - The  Frontline National law enforcement test is an entry level police written exam published by Ergometrics and used by many Police departments in the U.S. It emphasize video-based, situation judgment testing (SJT).

I/O Solutions - I/O Solutions (IOS), or Industrial/Organizational Solutions, Inc. is a human resources consulting firm that specializes in personnel selection. It publishes popular police entry exams including the NCJOSI and LST.

Incident Report Writing - A class of test questions often found on police written exams that ask the student to write a clear, grammatically correct, and complete summary of information presented about a police incident. This is very similar to writing a police report, but the police report is a more formal document that usually follows an incident report.

Inductive Reasoning - A class of Logical Reasoning questions often found on police written exams. Inductive reasoning is the ability to find a rule or concept that fits the situation. It also involves understanding how a string of events might be connected. One example of this ability is tracing a suspect based on a series of related crimes.

Information Ordering - Information Ordering is the ability to apply rules to a situation for the purpose of putting the information in the best or most appropriate sequence. In order to use this ability, rules or instructions must exist for the person to know the correct order of information. It involves the application of specific sequences or procedures to a given situation. An example of the use of this ability might be when a police officer is piecing together the order of events related to a crime.

IPMA-HR - The International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) is a large organization that represents the interests of human resource professionals at the federal, state and local levels of government. Part of their offering is the Police Officer Entry-level (PO-EL) exam that comes in a half dozen formats.

Job Simulation - See Situational Judgment Testing

Jobtestprep - Jobtestprep is a large company based in the U.K. that specializes in providing practice tests for a wide variety of occupations, including law enforcement. Feedback from police applicants in the U.S. indicates that their offering is restricted to generic, antiquated test questions, lacks any tutorials for how to improve one's performance, and lacks support for their students.

LEAB - The  Law Enforcement Aptitude Battery (LEAB) is an entry level police written exam published by EB Jacobs and used by many Police departments in the U.S.

LESI - The LESI® Multi-domain Assessment System is an exam used in the early stages of police officer selection to measure 3 areas: (1) Cognitive skills like basic math, reading and writing, (2) Personality Trait test, and (3) a Life History report to be used as part of background investigation.

Life Experience Survey - The Life Experience Survey consists of a series of multiple-choice questions related to candidates' past history and experience of potential relevance to successful performance of entry-level law enforcement officers. This is a type of Bio Data included in the LEAB.

Logical Reasoning - Many police exams include Logical Reasoning questions. See Deductive Reasoning and Inductive Reasoning.

LST - The Law Enforcement Selection Tool (LST) is an entry level police written exam published by I/O Solutions (IOS). It is no longer promoted by IOS, but may still be in use by many police agencies.

Mathematical Reasoning - A class of test questions often found on police written exams. Mathematical Reasoning is the ability to reason abstractly using quantitative concepts and symbols. It encompasses reasoning through mathematical problems in order to determine appropriate operations that can be performed to solve them. It also includes the understanding or structuring of mathematical problems. The actual manipulation of the numbers (we call Basic Math) is not included in this ability.

McCann Associates - McCann Associates is a company specializing in career assessment tools, including the McCann Public Safety Exam. The company has been around a long time and is moving away from police testing.

McCann Police Test - See McCann Associates

Memory for Ideas - A class of test questions often found on police written exams, such as reading and understanding the main ideas and themes from written articles.

Memory for Relationships - A class of test questions often found on police written exams, such as step by step instructions and operating procedures used in filling out an incident report.

Morris & McDaniels - Morris McDaniels is a company specializing in organizational development and personnel selection. The offer a police entry exam called SHIELD.

National Testing Network - NTN is a company run by Ergometrics that enables police departments to outsource the administration of their testing. Applicants may find that they must register with NTN in order to take their entry level exams.

NBAT - The National Basic Abilities Test is published by Industrial/Organizational Solutions, Inc.(IOS) for police officer selection. This test has been relabeled by IOS and is less common nowadays (See NCJOSI)

NCJOSI - The National Criminal Justice Officer Selection Inventory (NCJOSI) is an entry level police written exam published by I/O Solutions (IOS) and used by many police departments throughout the U.S.  There are TWO versions, NCJOSI-1 and NCJOSI-2.

NDRT - See Nelson-Denny Reading Test (NDRT).

Nelson-Denny Reading Test - The Nelson-Denny Reading Test (NDRT) is a basic reading test that is sometimes (not often) used as part of the entry-level testing by law enforcement agencies. The purpose of the test is to measure reading ability among high school and college students.

NPOST - The National Police Officer Selection Test. NPOST is a clever marketing label given to an entry level police test published by a company known as Stanard & Associates, Inc. (not to be confused with the word "standards!") Don't let the name fool you - there is no true standard police officer selection test in the U.S.

NTN - See National Testing Network.

Number Facility - A class of test questions often found on police written exams. Number Facility (more commonly called Basic Math) is the ability to manipulate numbers in numerical operations, such as addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. This ability also involves the speed and accuracy of computation. An example is calculating the area that should be roped-off at a crime scene for evidence collection.

Observational Judgment - A class of test questions often found on police written exams, such as when observing an accident scene, an officer is required to “sift” through the information, visually and verbally, in order to determine what is relevant and important.

PAA - PAA stands for Physical Abilities Assessment and is one label for the tests used for screening entry level applicants for law enforcement positions.

PAT - PAT stands for Physical Abilities Test, or Physical Agility Test, and is one label for the tests used for screening entry level applicants for law enforcement positions.

PELLETB - PELLETB  stands for POST Entry Level Law Enforcement Test Battery and is the entry level Written Exam recommended by the California Police Officer Selection Test Commission.

Personality Exam - A Personality Test determines your strengths and talents. It is one part of what may be referred to as BioData. There are different types of personality tests, but they usually ask the subject to rate themselves on a 5-point scale (Strongly Agree, Agree.... Strongly Disagree) in response to a long list of questions. Most personality tests will measure the underlying traits that make up an individual’s overall personality. The important traits are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.

PO-EL - The Police Officer Entry-level (PO-EL) exam that comes in a half dozen formats is published by The International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR).

Polygraph - The polygraph is a type of lie detector or truthfulness test used by most law enforcement agencies. A polygraph machine is a diagnostic instrument that records physiological changes in a person caused by stress, like answering questions that make or break your dream of becoming a police officer.

POPS - POPS stands for Peace Officer Professional Standards and is the name of the physical test used by law enforcement agencies in Kentucky.

POSS - The FBI's Police Officer Selection System (POSS) is a hiring process used by the FBI to hire FBI Police Officers. 

POST - POST is a generic abbreviation for Police Officer Selection Test. It may be used to describe any exam used law enforcement agencies for their entry level exam . There are many different specific exams that are referred to as POST.

POST (California) - The term POST means “Police Officer Selection Test” in most parts of the U.S. In California, however, POST stands for Peace Officer Standards and Training. The California POST Commission sets minimum selection and training standards for California law enforcement agencies. 

POWER - POWER stands for Police Officer Wellness Evaluation Report and is the physical test defined by the state of Illinois for screening entry level applicants for law enforcement positions.

Problem Sensitivity - Problem Sensitivity is the ability to recognize or identify the existence of problems. It involves both the recognition of the problem as a whole and the elements of the problem. This ability does not include the ability to solve the problem, only the ability to identify or recognize it. An example of this ability might include the identification of interpersonal conflict between family members in a domestic-related call.

PRT - PRT stands for Physical Readiness Test and is one label for the tests used for screening entry level applicants for law enforcement positions.

Psych Exam - The Psychological Examination is a routine part of the process for joining law enforcement. It usually is conducted towards the end of the hiring process, and assesses the applicants mental and emotional fit with the requirements of the job. This test is administered by professional psychologists and can take several hours to complete.

Psychometric Testing - See Situational Judgment Testing

Reading Comprehension - Reading Comprehension means the ability to understand written language. Sometimes, this is called Verbal Comprehension. This ability involves both the understanding of individual words as well as patterns of words (sentences and phrases). This is the ability to hear a description of an event and understand what happened. This is also the ability to read a sentence or series of sentences and understand the meaning. This ability might be used in reading narrative material, such as an incident report; listening to descriptions of events, places or people; receiving radio communications; following verbal work orders.

Selective Attention - Selective Attention questions are designed to test your ability to concentrate on a task without getting distracted by external stimuli. Law enforcement officers use this ability when sitting in a patrol car doing paperwork while the radio is on or while doing a security check when a lot of commotion is taking place. The following tasks are also relevant when trying to recall license plate numbers or when copying VIN or driver’s license numbers onto other documents.

Semantic Ordering - A class of test questions often found on police written exams. For example, an officer, when arriving at a crime scene, is required to make decisions on what order he/she should set about to accomplish the necessary tasks.

SHIELD - SHIELD stands for Strategic Hiring Instruments for Entry-level Decisions, and is an entry level test for law enforcement published by Morris & McDaniels.

Situational Judgement Tests - Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) or Inventories (SJIs) are a type of psychological test which present the test-taker with realistic, hypothetical scenarios and ask the individual to identify the most appropriate response or to rank the responses in the order they feel is most effective. SJT scenarios can be presented by booklets , audio or video.

SJT - See Situational Judgement Tests

Spatial Orientation - A class of test questions often found on police written exams. Spatial Orientation is the ability to keep a clear idea of where you are in relation to the space you happen to be in. This ability helps an individual avoid getting lost in a particular space whether that space is a city, building or group of structures. With this ability, an individual should be able to look at a map or a layout of an area and determine his or her position in that area. The question that this ability allows the person to answer is “If the environment looks like this, what is my current position?”

Spatial Scanning - Such as finding one’s way through a paper maze, requiring quick scanning of the field for openings, following paths with the eye, and quickly rejecting false leads such as determining the quickest route to take to get to a crime scene.

Stanard & Associates - Stanard and Associates is a publisher of a popular entry level law enforcement test known as the NPOST - National Police Officer Selection Test. (See NPOST)

Truthfulness Test - A test administered during the hiring process to determine if a candidate is truthful. This will usually be done using the either the Polygraph or the CVSA (Computer Voice Stress Analysis test.)

TX-BAT - Texas Basic Abilities Test is published by Industrial/Organizational Solutions, Inc. (IOS) and is their version of their National Basic Abilities Test for police officer selection. This test is aging and is less common in Texas nowadays.

Verbal Comprehension - A class of test questions often found on police written exams. Verbal Comprehension is the ability to understand language, either written or spoken. On most exams, it is known as Reading Comprehension. This ability involves both the understanding of individual words as well as patterns of words (sentences and phrases). This is the ability to hear a description of an event and understand what happened. This is also the ability to read a sentence or series of sentences and understand the meaning. This ability might be used in reading narrative material, such as an incident report; listening to descriptions of events, places or people; receiving radio communications; following verbal work orders.

Verbal Expression - A class of test questions often found on police written exams. Verbal Expression is the ability to use language (either verbal or written) to communicate information or ideas to other people. On most exams, this is called Writing Abilities. Exams include questions about grammar, punctuation, spelling and vocabulary.

VBT - See Video-based Testing

Video-based Testing - A form of testing where a scenario is presented on video and the student then answers questions about what they saw. Ten years ago, this was considered cool. Nowadays, many law enforcement exams use video as part of their presentation.

Visualization - A class of test questions often found on police written exams. Visualization questions assess your ability to imagine how something will look when it is moved around or when its parts are removed or rearranged. This skill requires the forming of mental images of how patterns or objects would look after certain changes. Law enforcement officers use this skill when evaluating equipment for alterations, field-stripping a weapon for cleaning, deciding how faces would look with changes in hairstyles or age, conducting searches and reconstructing the scene of a crime.

Wonderlic - The Wonderlic Personnel Test (formerly known as the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test) is a popular group intelligence test used to assess the aptitude of prospective employees. It is occasionally used by law enforcement agencies for entry level testing.

Work Styles Questionnaire - The Work Styles Questionnaire is designed to assess certain motivational, value-related and attitudinal characteristics that are of potential relevance to successful performance of entry-level law enforcement officers. This is a type of Bio Data included in the LEAB.

Writing Abilities - A class of test questions often found on police written exams. Writing Abilities is the ability to use written language to communicate information or ideas to other people. On some exams, this is called Written Expression. Exams include questions about grammar, punctuation, spelling and vocabulary.

Written Expression - A class of test questions often found on police written exams. Written Expression is the ability to use written language to communicate information or ideas to other people. On most exams, this is called Writing Abilities. Exams include questions about grammar, punctuation, spelling and vocabulary.