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Calguns LEOs LEOs; chat, kibitz and relax. Non-LEOs; have a questions for a cop? Ask it here, in a CIVIL manner.

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  #1  
Old 11-11-2012, 7:30 PM
ssteve ssteve is offline
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Default Any BI's here that would like to listen to me ramble?

Looking for some honest insight on weather to pursue a career in LE(at this time).


So heres my situation, as black and white as I can make it, and hopefully someone can let me know if Im wasting my time dreaming of starting a career as a sworn officer at this time in life(cause I will one day).

Im 28yrs old, will be 29 in april when the academy starts. I have 26 units in AJ from taking night classes over the last 5yrs but havent been able to attend school in the last two due to work/life etc, as well as being discouraged by things that at the time would have been automatic disqualifies imo. Im in a position now, with help from family and friends to take a five month leave from work, and put myself through the academy without worrying about my current bills, so I would really like to take advantage of this amazing opportunity and do something I have been dreaming of for years.

-Those things being a bankruptcy due to some bad decisions, as well as medical bills. Its now been two years and will be three by the time I graduate the academy. All finances are in perfect order with a 700+ credit score again, no credit card debt etc.

-several traffic violations including 4-5 speding tickets, one redlight, and one stop sign. All were at least three years ago now, and most were over 4yrs ago, and will be another year out by graduation. I have since got rid of the flashy/loud/fast cars and drive a diesel truck at under max posted speeds, and have not been pulled over(*knock on wood) for over 3 years.

-GED/poor high school transcripts. I wasnt a great student, and just didnt apply myself at that time in life, unless it was something that interested me. I took, intro to AJ, criminal law concepts, criminal law, community relations, criminal procedures, and juvenile procedures and got good grades in all of them, and feel confident that I will test well in the academy come this spring.

-Criminal history, I have none minus a petty theft when I was 9yrs for changing a price tag on a hat to save myself $5. Zero drug use of any kind at all, and zero run ins with the law of any kind. However I did have several violent/aggressive incidents in middle school and high school, due to me being arrogant and carrying a chip on my shoulder after several years of martial arts. While I have trained in mma over the years, I have no complex in my mind that makes me feel as if I have anything to prove.

-I am now in a steady relationship for over three years, a steady job for over two years, and feel great about my life in general. I have made many poor decisions that have forced me to put of my dream career for a long time now, but am hopeful I can find an agency willing to take a chance on my. If anyone has some insight, story that might relate etc, I am all ears and would love to hear what you have to say, good or bad.
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2012, 12:38 AM
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fullrearview fullrearview is offline
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People with backgrounds far worse than yours have become cops. The biggest thing you need to work on is your communication skills. You will have to sell yourself a bit, but it is in no way shape or form a daunting task... Some departments want people with squeaky clean backgrounds thinking they are better for liability... They are generally wrong. I want to work with guys who have been through hell and made it out with scars, and life lessons... Not some kid who has never had a job and lived at mom and dads house while he got his BS in women's literature. I don't want his 1st fight to be with the 6'3" 250 pound chunk of solid muscle, two strike parolee who just raped a 15 year old girl.

For the record, I am not a BG investigator, but I have been through a few backgrounds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssteve View Post
Looking for some honest insight on weather to pursue a career in LE(at this time).


So heres my situation, as black and white as I can make it, and hopefully someone can let me know if Im wasting my time dreaming of starting a career as a sworn officer at this time in life(cause I will one day).

Im 28yrs old, will be 29 in april when the academy starts. I have 26 units in AJ from taking night classes over the last 5yrs but havent been able to attend school in the last two due to work/life etc, as well as being discouraged by things that at the time would have been automatic disqualifies imo. Im in a position now, with help from family and friends to take a five month leave from work, and put myself through the academy without worrying about my current bills, so I would really like to take advantage of this amazing opportunity and do something I have been dreaming of for years.
That's good. You will need to devote yourself 100% while going through. Having said that, you will need to make time for the family. They come 1st.

Quote:

-Those things being a bankruptcy due to some bad decisions, as well as medical bills. Its now been two years and will be three by the time I graduate the academy. All finances are in perfect order with a 700+ credit score again, no credit card debt etc.
I was hired by two different agencies with piss poor credit. I was however, able to explain the reasons that got me there, and I provided a detailed plan that I used to get me out of it.

For some departments, this is a DQer, but most understand the reality of life and want to see a few years of bills being paid on time, good financial decisions, etc. Based on what you posted, I'm certain your fine here.

Quote:

-several traffic violations including 4-5 speding tickets, one redlight, and one stop sign. All were at least three years ago now, and most were over 4yrs ago, and will be another year out by graduation. I have since got rid of the flashy/loud/fast cars and drive a diesel truck at under max posted speeds, and have not been pulled over(*knock on wood) for over 3 years.
This will be something they look at. "Risky" behavior... Yeah, like cops drive perfect all the time. Just fall on your sword and let them know you do not take those kinds of risks anymore. You have seen the videos were people have taken the risks and paid the consequences. You learned from those mistakes as well as your own.

Quote:

-GED/poor high school transcripts. I wasnt a great student, and just didnt apply myself at that time in life, unless it was something that interested me. I took, intro to AJ, criminal law concepts, criminal law, community relations, criminal procedures, and juvenile procedures and got good grades in all of them, and feel confident that I will test well in the academy come this spring.
Depending on the department, this may or may not be a factor. More than likely it wont hurt you at all. Some want squeaky clean, some want life experience. I have both my GED and HSD. I was a cop for 4 months and found out my HSD was not CA accredited and had to get my GED. Talk about scary! Just apply yourself in the academy and you should be fine.

Being book smart doesn't mean your going to be street smart.

Quote:
-Criminal history, I have none minus a petty theft when I was 9yrs for changing a price tag on a hat to save myself $5. Zero drug use of any kind at all, and zero run ins with the law of any kind. However I did have several violent/aggressive incidents in middle school and high school, due to me being arrogant and carrying a chip on my shoulder after several years of martial arts. While I have trained in mma over the years, I have no complex in my mind that makes me feel as if I have anything to prove.
Kids fight and steal stuff. It's part of growing up. By California law, at 9 years old, you are not capable of committing a crime. However, don't omit that incident in your background. Tell the truth about everything you ever did.

Fighting is something they will look at as both good and bad. Just be truthful, explain the circumstances, and you should be fine.

No drug history is great, but be ready for them to call you on it. I was. Mine reason was pretty simple. It's easy to say no to drugs when you grow up seeing the effects it has on your parents. Having to pick them up and put them in bed because they were too high to take of themselves will do that to you.

Quote:
-I am now in a steady relationship for over three years, a steady job for over two years, and feel great about my life in general. I have made many poor decisions that have forced me to put of my dream career for a long time now, but am hopeful I can find an agency willing to take a chance on my. If anyone has some insight, story that might relate etc, I am all ears and would love to hear what you have to say, good or bad.
I can think of 20 plus cops, all great people and great cops, that have had worse records than you. Be truthful, and be confident. You will be fine. And start applying as soon as you get your acceptance letter into the academy. I just started with a new department and even being a lateral, the process took a long time.
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Last edited by fullrearview; 11-12-2012 at 12:40 AM..
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  #3  
Old 11-12-2012, 8:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fullrearview View Post
People with backgrounds far worse than yours have become cops. The biggest thing you need to work on is your communication skills. You will have to sell yourself a bit, but it is in no way shape or form a daunting task... Some departments want people with squeaky clean backgrounds thinking they are better for liability... They are generally wrong. I want to work with guys who have been through hell and made it out with scars, and life lessons... Not some kid who has never had a job and lived at mom and dads house while he got his BS in women's literature. I don't want his 1st fight to be with the 6'3" 250 pound chunk of solid muscle, two strike parolee who just raped a 15 year old girl.

For the record, I am not a BG investigator, but I have been through a few backgrounds stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Fixed it for you!!!

In all seriousness, What is said above is very true. The single BIGGEST thing is that you have not allowed those patterns of behavior to continue. It is absolutely necessary to show you have corrected the errors of the past and it will be very important to stress that during your interview(s). Be honest and forthright during the entire process because they will know if you are not.

As FRV said above, I'd rather have someone with a few scars from life going into battle with me (us) rather than Joey Perfect who can fix your computer but has no idea what real life is about!! Keep a positive attitude and stress the good things you have done in your life to get back on the right track.
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2012, 9:27 AM
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Nothing you have done is an automatic DQ but given this job market, there will be heavy competition for any job you want. We've hired people with worse backgrounds, I'll tell ya right off the bat. But it also has a lot to do with what else you bring in addition to the negative that can offset it.

For example, we hired people with bankruptcies, but he had some life skills and degrees, plus work experience, and he was making good on his debts to creditors, so that showed he picked up and was being responsible.

In my honest opinion, you have to be lucky though, because more likely than not, you will run into departments who want you to put more time between all the incidents and hiring you, say like 5-7 years. There is no hard and fast rule, but those numbers seem like the magical break for some reason.

Small minded hiring administrators can't see past liability and just want to hire his whole crew of squeaky clean never done nothing in life lived at home no job 21 year olds to put through the academy. That mentality is the biggest disservice to this profession. We don't need a whole squad of guys whose biggest challenge in life prior to LE was whether or not to order extra pepperoni on the pizza because his girlfriend was on a diet but he really liked pepperoni.
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Old 11-13-2012, 9:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fullrearview View Post
People with backgrounds far worse than yours have become cops. The biggest thing you need to work on is your communication skills. You will have to sell yourself a bit, but it is in no way shape or form a daunting task... Some departments want people with squeaky clean backgrounds thinking they are better for liability... They are generally wrong. I want to work with guys who have been through hell and made it out with scars, and life lessons... Not some kid who has never had a job and lived at mom and dads house while he got his BS in women's literature. I don't want his 1st fight to be with the 6'3" 250 pound chunk of solid muscle, two strike parolee who just raped a 15 year old girl.
Exactly.

Stick to it and good luck
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  #6  
Old 11-15-2012, 11:24 AM
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Why not just start applying for agencies now and actually find out if your background is going to be an issue before you put yourself through a self-sponsored academy? It seems like there is a pretty good ammount of hiring going on right now, or at least in So Cal. It would really suck to take the time off of work and spend the money for the academy to only find that no departments are even willing to hire you. If it were me I would keep working for the time being and put in as many application as you can and see where that takes you.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:48 AM
ssteve ssteve is offline
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Only places hiring non grads are two big cities. However almost all departments near me are hiring post grads. I have apps pending at the two big cities but I'm told it can be another 4-6months before tests are done, and they place people for interviews. I am also pending a interview for a CO position, but my T score placed me just outside the first wave of interviews. Hopefully they don't find their hires and I can get an interview, but I don't want to just sit around and wait.

I figure that I have three years to find a sworn position. If my background is an issue at first, I'm pretty confident that it won't be by the end of the three year span.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:08 PM
brl0301 brl0301 is offline
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That makes sense and like others have said there doesnt seem to be anything in your background that would be an automatic dq. I had a pretty bad driving history 3+ years prior to me applying and that didnt cause any probems. As far as the BK goes, I know every department is different on how much weight they put on your financials. The academy is a good time that you wont forget
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Old 11-15-2012, 1:57 PM
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We're hiring one preservice/lateral. Can't afford a recruit right now, in both money and time.
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Old 11-15-2012, 3:34 PM
ssteve ssteve is offline
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....

Last edited by ssteve; 11-15-2012 at 4:11 PM.. Reason: Stupid question removed.
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  #11  
Old 11-15-2012, 4:06 PM
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We're hiring one preservice/lateral. Can't afford a recruit right now, in both money and time.
Surprised you are hiring anyone. I can sure see where a non-lateral would be a strain on you guys.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by yzernie View Post
Surprised you are hiring anyone. I can sure see where a non-lateral would be a strain on you guys.
Took a lot of "persuading" the higher ups... and 1 guy is moving on to another agency, with 1 long term vacancy... so getting one is a much needed move.
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