Seattle police officers and firefighter first responders are critical to keeping Seattle residents, businesses, and visitors safe. They are entrusted by the community to enforce laws and respond to emergent situations. It is of paramount importance that our first responders can do their jobs competently.  

Seattle voters established a civil service system in 1896 to ensure that the workforce providing these critical services are qualified to carry out their duties, and that employment is free from political pressures by elected officials.  A civil service approach to public employment helps ensure that crucial and competent public safety services are available to residents and visitors and ensures fairness for employees.  

Today, the civil service system for sworn police officers and fire personnel is overseen by the Public Safety Civil Service Commission (“PSCSC”).  The PSCSC is housed in the Civil Service Commissions department (“CIV”), and is staffed by three employees.  

The PSCSC is an independent body, authorized by the Revised Code of Washington and the City Charter.   

The PSCSC is comprised of three commissioners that can serve multiple three-year terms. The Mayor and the City Council each appoint one commissioner, and the third commissioner is elected by the members of the Public Safety Civil Service. 

Additional information about PSCSC Commissioners can be found at the Commissioners and Staff  website


  • Makes and enforces rules for examination, appointments, promotions, transfers, demotions, reinstatements, suspensions, layoffs, discharges, and connected matters, 
  • Directs development and administration of 11+ merit-based entry-level and promotional civil service exams for the Seattle Fire and Police departments (with the support of Seattle Human Resources), and
  • Provides sworn police and uniformed fire employees with a quasi-judicial hearing process for appeals of alleged violations of the Rules and authorizing legislation – most commonly, serious disciplinary actions.

The PSCSC conducts its business in monthly meetings that are open to the public. A meeting schedule can be found here

The following ranks in the uniformed services of the Seattle Police Department and Seattle Fire Department are covered by the public safety civil service system:  

  • Police Recruits & Special Recruits, Police Officers, Police Sergeants, Police Lieutenants, Police Captains
  • Fire Fighter Pre-Recruits, Fire Fighters, Fire Lieutenants, Fire Captains, Fire Battalion Chiefs, Fireboat Pilots, Fireboat Engineers, Assistant Fireboat Engineers

Public Safety Civil Service Commission

Address: 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1670, Seattle, WA, 98124
Mailing Address: PO Box 94729, Seattle, WA, 98124-4729
Phone: (206) 233-7118
Phone Alt: (206) 437-5425
Fax: (206) 684-0755

Seattle’s Public Safety Civil Service Commission (PSCSC) is a three member, impartial, quasi-judicial body.