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Posted: 8/7/2001 3:10:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/7/2001 3:09:59 AM EDT by Jeeper21]
I'm applying for Recruit police officer at the local PD, and while looking through the application it asks: "Have you ever been arrested for any crime or violation of any law or statue other than minor traffic violations? Yes Or No. In smaller print underneath it says "You must include all arrests, detentions, convictions. If any arrest or conviction has been reduced, dismissed, sealed, or expunged, or pardoned, list the original arrest or conviction charge. My dilemma is, when I was about 15yrs old, I got caught with the wrong crowd of friends that often liked to steal from the mall. And being gullible at the time, tried it myself while with them and got caught. Since this happened while I was a juvenile, does this still apply as a yes? I never got charged or had to go to court or anything. I just had to pay a $500 penalty to the store and do 50hours community service and was not allowed to go there for a year. Also more recently... I got in trouble with the law. I would rather not talk about the details in this one. All I'd like to say is: police came to my house and questioned me for something that happened in another state, involving me. The said I was not under arrest, just wanted to ask questions. Then about 4-5 months later. The court in the other state issued a felony & misdemeanor warrant for my arrest. So I went back to that state, saw a lawyer, got the warrant dropped and picked up my court papers for trial. I waived my pre-liminary hearing because the DA offered me a deal, and I had until the trial date to decide. But before trial day actually came around, the DA dropped the charges and I didn't have to go to trial. Would I still have to put this on even though I was never actually convicted? I don't want the board to thing ill of me for the charges issued, it was really a stupid thing considering the fact that the supposed "victims" are like family now and all was settled & forgotten before for ANY warrants where issued. Even my lawyer thought it was ridiculous considering circumstances. But it happened non the less. I'm just afraid that if I have to say YES on the app and explain the situation, I'll automatically be disqualified regardless of the details (which I'm sure is not far-fetched). I'm leaning towards NO...
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 5:59:08 AM EDT
Honesty is always the best policy. Police Officer candidates are human, too, and the background investigators understand that you may have been in trouble in the past. That will not automatically disqualify you from being hired, as long as the trouble was not too severe. You need to do some soul searching, however. Not to sound harsh here, but the mere fact that you are thinking about not being honest about this should cause you to question whether you are suited for this line of work. You need to be unflinchingly honest to be a law enforcement officer. You need to be faithful to your oath of office, and always tell the truth to your supervisors, coworkers and the court. The fact that you entertained the idea of lying on an application should make you wonder if you have the right amount of moral integrity at this time to be a good officer. Remember, its usually not the original sin that gets public officials in big trouble(everyone makes mistakes), but the cover-up.
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 6:08:46 AM EDT
Tell the truth, it was juvenile, so it is a no big deal. It will come up anyway when they run you. Lying is a greaterr offense.
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 7:23:36 AM EDT
I understand telling the truth is best, but usually employers use you're own honesty against you, but if they would find out anyway, I'd rather it not be after I got hired. The circumstances where not severe in the case... but the fact that I was being accused of a felony seems kind of dammaging to my character.
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 10:42:02 AM EDT
I am a cop who had done background investigations. Everything you mentioned is available to an investigator, regardless of what you were told. Community service and monetary fine means that you were guilty. I don't know the specifics of your state, but here my applicants (and I when I applied to each of my prospective cop jobs) are required to sign a form authorizing the agency to get copies of "confidential" paperwork. You basically sign away your privacy rights when you go into this background investigation. The general consensus is also correct. A squeeky clean candidate is so infrequent that it arouses suspicion. Everyone has something in thier past where they may have technically violated a law. I was barred from employment at one location for a juvanile prank that other agencies really don't care about. We cannot get a pool of perfect applicants. We look for patterns of behavior. A pattern of behavior shows you don't learn well. Our applicants are human, and will have problems. DWI, Domestic Violence, and felony convictions are automatic disqualifiers by state law. All other run ins are looked at on a case by case basis. I have never done drugs. Ever. That is a rarity in todays world, and it earned me a hell of a time on the polygraph, not because I was dishonest, but because the polygrapher thought I was beating the machine. Just because the machine says you are telling the truth doesn't mean that you are. My job was in jeopardy because the polygrapher thought I was beating the machine and he launched into two hour interrogation to find out if I was lying. After four years of trying to get hired, I did. Different agencies rejected me for different reasons, only one failed me during the background investigation/polygraph. I wanted to be a big city cop, and I was applying in big cities. The applicant pool was rather large, and they had no reason to process what might be a "marginal" applicant when there are more, better qualified persons already in the process. It is not that bad to make a mistake. It is not bad to make an error of judgement. It is very bad to lie and try to cover it. An officer that I know was fired in a situation were he was commiting a misdemeanor crime, one that we investigate daily, and take action on after a lenient warning. (basically this crime is a petty misdemeanor, and when we come into the situation we warn. Many people get breaks on this one). He would have recieved a substantial suspension, and possible reassignment, but he would have kept his job IF he had come clean. He lied. He was fired. A rookie on probation was arrested in another state for a misdemeanor, and was honest. He kept his job, even though while on probation you can be fired for anything! Also, it is human to want to hide things that make you look bad. It is natural. If you don't have the courage to be honest (and face the chances of not getting hired by that department), then you won't have the courage to chase down the felon running around trying to hurt people, either. lemme pick up my soap box and I will go. pat
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 10:54:25 AM EDT
Jeeper21, Honesty is definitely best. List both occurences and what happened afterwards (charges dismissed). If they try and use it against you, tell them where to stick their job, blackmail is also a serious crime, even if the Police Department is doing it. Sometimes the blue veil needs to be used and sometimes it needs to be exposed. I ain't with IA, but I don't like dirty cops or bosses. Good luck, Ice
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 3:49:39 PM EDT
Ic69, I have never done drugs in my life either. I suppose I will encounter the same problems you did. Its wonderfull, I now have more than one strike against me in this one :( I may as well just lie for them to believe me if telling the truth is going to be so difficult prove. btw, I appreciate everyones advice and encouragment to do the right thing. Wish me luck...
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 4:02:55 PM EDT
Short answer: tell the full, unblimished truth. Long answer: If you lie on the application, you will be automatically disqualified. Tell the truth, you should get the oppertunity to explain what happened. All applicants here are required to undergo a complete background investigation. They take a CVSA (computer voice stress analysis) and one of the questions is "is your application complete and factual". They also take a psyh. exam, and drug screen. This is all prior to the physical agility test and oral board. Any lie, even that of omission will eventually come back to haunt you. It is also grounds for immediate dismissal even if discovered at a later, post hire date.
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 6:13:43 PM EDT
Definetly put everything you've been charged with and the results. They will conduct a background check and this info will come up. If you leave it off, it's the same as lying and your application will end up in the trash can. There's nothing wrong with having charges that end up being dismissed or no conviction etc.
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 6:36:46 PM EDT
I have been a LEO for 15 years now, and I must concur with the previous replies. If you tell the truth and provide a detailed explanation (including any corroborating paperwork), your application may be rejected, but you will at least be considered. If you lie and are found out (and it WILL happen, even if it is several years down the road), you will be canned without a second thought. In addition, depending on the jurisdiction that you are applying for, lying on your application may constitute a separate CRIMINAL offense. Save yourself a lot of grief. Be completely forthright with the agency you are applying with. Your character and honesty will show through. Good luck to you.
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 6:56:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By natez: You need to be unflinchingly honest to be a law enforcement officer.
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At least on the application, once your hired you can through it out the window.
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 7:00:42 PM EDT
Originally Posted By lc609: DWI, Domestic Violence, and felony convictions are automatic disqualifiers by state law.
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DWI's are? Since when are DV's?
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 7:16:27 PM EDT
DWI's always have been, as are non-criminal things such as excessive debt, bouncing around from job to job, even how neatly you fill out the application. Domestic violence is a disqualifier because of Lautenberg. Does no good to hire a cadet when they can't be issued a weapon. In answer to the original question, complete and total honesty is the only way to go. The background investigation isn't over when you're hired. It could still be active years later. We just fired a guy with 2 years in because he falsified his address list to hide the fact he was living with a convicted-felon girl friend in 1993.
Link Posted: 8/7/2001 8:17:52 PM EDT
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