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  #1  
Old 06-24-2013, 8:31 AM
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Default Will my background disqualify me from becoming a LEO?

Hello guys and gals, I am at a crossroads in life and strongly considering a change of careers. I'm 25 years old and currently have an AA degree that I have decided to finish and get a Bachelors. I can go one of several ways but my biggest priorities are stability and making enough money to support a family. Currently I make around 60k a year (Hourly so it varies) but I am in a field that is constantly working itself out of a job and stability is pretty much out the window. Becoming a LEO isn't the highest paying option I have, but it's probably the most stable and out of all options, it's the one I want to do. My grandfather was a SD Sherrif's Deputy and eventually went on to become Chief of Police for the Sycuan Indian Reservation and casino. It was always my childhood dream to become a Deputy, but I guess that faded away a bit in high school. Anyway, I've pretty much talked myself out of trying because of my background, but what do you guys think?

Here's a list of the good and bad that I can think of

Good
- No criminal history.
- No traffic tickets, one or two fix it's and a parking ticket - all taken care of promptly.
- Good grades throughout high school and college. Currently holding a 4.0 and highest GPA in my class.
- Will have a Bachelor's degree at the time of applying, undecided if I want to follow a LEO degree or stick with engineering.

Bad
- Smoked marijuana off and on throughout high school and although I stopped smoking for the most part after that, still took a hit here and there until about 4 years ago. I also sold marijuana for a friend at one point - about 6 small transactions.
- Tried cocaine once, ecstasy once (Same night 4 years ago) and mushrooms once back in high school.
- A lot of my high school friends went on to become drug addicts.. I do not speak to them and haven't in a long time but unsure if this could hurt me.
- I have an uncle who is 5150 and in and out of jail on possession charges.
- Less than perfect credit but I have been actively repairing it for a few years now and I expect the dings to roll off within the next 2 years or so, which is when I would be applying.

So what do you guys think? Background a little "too colorful?

Flamesuit on..
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Last edited by Meety Peety; 06-24-2013 at 8:34 AM..
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  #2  
Old 06-24-2013, 8:45 AM
tnlrat37 tnlrat37 is offline
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Selling pot is a big one. So is the shrooms and ecstasy. Remember depts. right now have a huge field of applicants, and can be very picky. I would email a few dept recruiters and ask them what their disqualifies are. That being said the worst they can do is say no, good luck
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  #3  
Old 06-24-2013, 8:48 AM
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Right now there are TONS of applicants for every position. A lot of departments are laying people off.

It boils down to: What sets you apart from everyone else that will make them want to hire you with your background?
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  #4  
Old 06-24-2013, 8:53 AM
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Originally Posted by PolishMike View Post
Right now there are TONS of applicants for every position. A lot of departments are laying people off.

It boils down to: What sets you apart from everyone else that will make them want to hire you with your background?
I'm not cocky, but I'm smarter than everyone else. (Kidding) But I'm unsure if that is even important to those that will be hiring. In fact I've heard horror stories that would suggest the opposite. I guess my two big selling points would be that I will have a degree and I would be willing to relocate to pretty much anywhere as long as I could afford to buy a house on a LEO salary.
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  #5  
Old 06-24-2013, 9:02 AM
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go engineering ....much successful career .
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  #6  
Old 06-24-2013, 9:04 AM
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Enviormental engineer! pays great!

the ecstacy will screw u

Last edited by nhr310; 06-24-2013 at 1:39 PM..
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  #7  
Old 06-24-2013, 9:15 AM
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Enviormental engineer! pays great!

the ecstacy will crew u
Haha, that's really what I've been thinking this whole time. I guess part of me really just wants to follow the dream even though it really doesn't make sense for me to pursue it.
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  #8  
Old 06-24-2013, 9:18 AM
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The cocaine and ecstasy are automatic DQs for most departments, even if it's just once. Even if you do try to become an LEO stick with the engineering degree.
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  #9  
Old 06-24-2013, 9:26 AM
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Well, thanks for the input guys, guess I'm just not cut out for LE I will say it's kinda crazy when you think about how a single night can put you in the doghouse forever. I guess for most people in that situation, being a LEO isn't even on the radar though. Of all the people I know and work with etc, even the people my fiance works with.. I'm the guy who is "straight and narrow" lol.
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  #10  
Old 06-24-2013, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Meety Peety View Post
I will say it's kinda crazy when you think about how a single night can put you in the doghouse forever.
Welcome to the Big Boy World where your actions have consequences.
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  #11  
Old 06-24-2013, 11:31 AM
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Even though you don't have a criminal record, keep in mind that you have committed a few felonies (as an adult) already with your drug experimentation. You were just never caught. I'd say the chance of a city or county entrusting you with a badge, gun, and powers of arrest are slim.

PS that must of been one hell of a night four years ago

Last edited by HP911; 06-24-2013 at 11:33 AM..
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  #12  
Old 06-24-2013, 12:58 PM
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A lot of folks with similar backgrounds have been hired as LEO's in years past under various versions of the "Whole Applicant" concept. That was when the economy was good, and good LEO applicants were hard to find.

Many police executives would still rather go with an applicant who has a lot of life experience and who realize the good comes with the bad.

At the same time, a lot of agencies are now having some major problems with the "Whole Applicants" that they hired.

If you pursue the goal, be candid and honest about your background. A good BI is going to reveal it anyway. Be able to clearly show the poor conduct is in the past, and be able to show a history of stable conduct since.

At same time be realistic, your background is going to compromise you, and in this economy there isn't much room for compromise.
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  #13  
Old 06-24-2013, 1:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Meety Peety View Post
Well, thanks for the input guys, guess I'm just not cut out for LE ...
Why not join the Army and see what you are made out of?
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  #14  
Old 06-24-2013, 1:11 PM
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Don't sell yourself short. Yes, the coke and X might screw u, but you'll never know if you don't try. If you are after $, try for LA county sheriffs- lots of OT in the jails due to overcrowding. Also they are more lax in thier hiring than most other deptmts.
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  #15  
Old 06-24-2013, 1:21 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorRichRichard View Post
Don't sell yourself short. Yes, the coke and X might screw u, but you'll never know if you don't try. If you are after $, try for LA county sheriffs- lots of OT in the jails due to overcrowding. Also they are more lax in thier hiring than most other deptmts.
And your source for this is?
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  #16  
Old 06-24-2013, 1:35 PM
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Been out of it for a little while now but I believe the use of any hallucinogenic is an auto DQ.
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  #17  
Old 06-24-2013, 2:17 PM
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There are agencies that are hiring but can not get enough people to qualify. RSO is having a hard time getting people to pass backgrounds so they are not even sweating credit issues as long as you are attempting to get caught up on your debts.

The cocaine and ecstasy use might be the deal breaker. However I know for a fact that there has been people hired that had done cocaine and mushrooms but not sure what the time span from the time they used it to the time they were hired. The other things you mentioned would be okay. I say apply because you have nothing to lose but if you don't try you will never know.
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  #18  
Old 06-24-2013, 3:53 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorRichRichard View Post
. If you are after $, try for LA county sheriffs- lots of OT in the jails due to overcrowding.
dang thats news to me....and i work in a la county jail.

dont believe everything you hear
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  #19  
Old 06-24-2013, 6:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoorRichRichard View Post
Don't sell yourself short. Yes, the coke and X might screw u, but you'll never know if you don't try. If you are after $, try for LA county sheriffs- lots of OT in the jails due to overcrowding. Also they are more lax in thier hiring than most other deptmts.
So much in this thread...

Yeah the biggest sheriff's department in the world has more "lax" standards than most other departments. I think if you are not a leo you should not be answering questions directed towards leo's.

To get back on topic, op you will never get hired by any first rate law enforcement agency in California. There are second tier departments, often referred to as "second chance" departments that pay poorly and usually located in the middle of bfe if you really want to be a "cop".

It might sound harsh to you but it is nicer telling you up front than have you sit through countless written tests, pat's, and background interviews only to be turned down each time.

Best of luck to you whatever career path you choose...

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Originally Posted by brl0301 View Post
dang thats news to me....and i work in a la county jail.

dont believe everything you hear
Silence! No input needed from someone who actually works for the department lol...
Unless you are going to tell us how easy the hiring process is
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  #20  
Old 06-24-2013, 6:58 PM
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Originally Posted by cuchillo negro View Post
There are agencies that are hiring but can not get enough people to qualify. RSO is having a hard time getting people to pass backgrounds so they are not even sweating credit issues as long as you are attempting to get caught up on your debts.

The cocaine and ecstasy use might be the deal breaker. However I know for a fact that there has been people hired that had done cocaine and mushrooms but not sure what the time span from the time they used it to the time they were hired. The other things you mentioned would be okay. I say apply because you have nothing to lose but if you don't try you will never know.
Auto dq all day long with rso's current hiring standards.
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  #21  
Old 06-24-2013, 7:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meety Peety View Post
Hello guys and gals, I am at a crossroads in life and strongly considering a change of careers. I'm 25 years old and currently have an AA degree that I have decided to finish and get a Bachelors. I can go one of several ways but my biggest priorities are stability and making enough money to support a family. Currently I make around 60k a year (Hourly so it varies) but I am in a field that is constantly working itself out of a job and stability is pretty much out the window. Becoming a LEO isn't the highest paying option I have, but it's probably the most stable and out of all options, it's the one I want to do. My grandfather was a SD Sherrif's Deputy and eventually went on to become Chief of Police for the Sycuan Indian Reservation and casino. It was always my childhood dream to become a Deputy, but I guess that faded away a bit in high school. Anyway, I've pretty much talked myself out of trying because of my background, but what do you guys think?

Here's a list of the good and bad that I can think of

Good
- No criminal history.
- No traffic tickets, one or two fix it's and a parking ticket - all taken care of promptly.
- Good grades throughout high school and college. Currently holding a 4.0 and highest GPA in my class.
- Will have a Bachelor's degree at the time of applying, undecided if I want to follow a LEO degree or stick with engineering.

Bad
- Smoked marijuana off and on throughout high school and although I stopped smoking for the most part after that, still took a hit here and there until about 4 years ago. I also sold marijuana for a friend at one point - about 6 small transactions.
- Tried cocaine once, ecstasy once (Same night 4 years ago) and mushrooms once back in high school.
- A lot of my high school friends went on to become drug addicts.. I do not speak to them and haven't in a long time but unsure if this could hurt me.
- I have an uncle who is 5150 and in and out of jail on possession charges.
- Less than perfect credit but I have been actively repairing it for a few years now and I expect the dings to roll off within the next 2 years or so, which is when I would be applying.

So what do you guys think? Background a little "too colorful?

Flamesuit on..
I don't know exactly how accurate it is but one of my PC832 teachers told me his son had a bad background and couldn't get through the questionnaire portion in any CA agency but he went to showlow AZ and got offered a job by Winslow PD, show low PD and dept. of corrections because there background processes were less strict. May be worth looking into.
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  #22  
Old 06-24-2013, 8:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ls2monaro View Post
Auto dq all day long with rso's current hiring standards.
Really. ...you do backgrounds for RSO?
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  #23  
Old 06-24-2013, 8:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meety Peety View Post
Hello guys and gals, I am at a crossroads in life and strongly considering a change of careers. I'm 25 years old and currently have an AA degree that I have decided to finish and get a Bachelors. I can go one of several ways but my biggest priorities are stability and making enough money to support a family. Currently I make around 60k a year (Hourly so it varies) but I am in a field that is constantly working itself out of a job and stability is pretty much out the window. Becoming a LEO isn't the highest paying option I have, but it's probably the most stable and out of all options, it's the one I want to do. My grandfather was a SD Sherrif's Deputy and eventually went on to become Chief of Police for the Sycuan Indian Reservation and casino. It was always my childhood dream to become a Deputy, but I guess that faded away a bit in high school. Anyway, I've pretty much talked myself out of trying because of my background, but what do you guys think?

Here's a list of the good and bad that I can think of

Good
- No criminal history.
- No traffic tickets, one or two fix it's and a parking ticket - all taken care of promptly.
- Good grades throughout high school and college. Currently holding a 4.0 and highest GPA in my class.
- Will have a Bachelor's degree at the time of applying, undecided if I want to follow a LEO degree or stick with engineering.

Bad
- Smoked marijuana off and on throughout high school and although I stopped smoking for the most part after that, still took a hit here and there until about 4 years ago. I also sold marijuana for a friend at one point - about 6 small transactions.
- Tried cocaine once, ecstasy once (Same night 4 years ago) and mushrooms once back in high school.
- A lot of my high school friends went on to become drug addicts.. I do not speak to them and haven't in a long time but unsure if this could hurt me.
- I have an uncle who is 5150 and in and out of jail on possession charges.
- Less than perfect credit but I have been actively repairing it for a few years now and I expect the dings to roll off within the next 2 years or so, which is when I would be applying.

So what do you guys think? Background a little "too colorful?

Flamesuit on..
No chance. Slinging is the biggest...
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  #24  
Old 06-24-2013, 9:33 PM
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Originally Posted by POLICESTATE View Post
I would never admit anything to a government official that wasn't proven in court. Period.

As for your credit, you are repairing it, and that shows you are taking some responsibility.

Posting all this stuff on a public forum probably not going to help.
^^^^
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Old 06-24-2013, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by POLICESTATE View Post
I would never admit anything to a government official that wasn't proven in court. Period.

As for your credit, you are repairing it, and that shows you are taking some responsibility.

Posting all this stuff on a public forum probably not going to help.
And this train of thought is the reason many people fail backgrounds.
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Old 06-25-2013, 4:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuchillo negro View Post
Really. ...you do backgrounds for RSO?
No but I stayed at a holiday inn express once

Just trying to help the op out with serious advice. If he applies with rso, laso, sbso, any other 1st rate Leo agency and gets hired, graduates the academy, passes fto, and gets off probation I will admit I was wrong. He is free to apply anywhere hiring and I wish him the best of luck.

Last edited by ls2monaro; 06-25-2013 at 4:32 AM..
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Old 06-25-2013, 4:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by POLICESTATE View Post
I would never admit anything to a government official that wasn't proven in court. Period.

As for your credit, you are repairing it, and that shows you are taking some responsibility.

Posting all this stuff on a public forum probably not going to help.
I hope this is a sarcastic response because it's hard to tell on the internet sometimes.

If not, then I just don't have the words...
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Old 06-25-2013, 5:42 AM
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For what it is worth, I used shrooms once prior to entering the LE world and it was not big deal. I would agree with other posters that your dealing and cocaine use might be the big D. Rather than listening to any of us fools, go talk to the hiring folks at the department you are looking at and see what they say. Get it from the horse's mouth...
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Old 06-25-2013, 6:18 AM
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I am not a LEO. I am a retired Director that did a lot of hiring. I wish you could see each year during evaluations I would ask did you see the opening for job x and the response was always the same "I am not qualified for that position"

Advice is worth what you pay for it> I would always apply and let the people doing the hiring decide if you are qualified. When applying you get experience in presenting yourself regardless of what position it is. More than once I have interviewed people found them not what I was looking for in the open position but had an opening coming up that was a perfect match.

Interviews make or break people where I worked. Come in chewing gum and ask to borrow a pen to sign a non disclosure statement and you have put yourself in the not prepared category.

The thing I noticed in your thread is a lack of job experience and what you have been doing for the seven years since you got out of high school?
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Old 06-25-2013, 7:10 AM
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Not LE here but after following this thread since its inception I cant help but add my measly 2 cents. As mentioned apply and let them tell you no. There are those of us applying who have not done what you have, and have yet to be hired but we still keep trying.

Competition is stiff, my mentality is as I mentioned to keep trying and realize that departments are looking for the best for for their agency, I won't fake who I am and do my best and eventually I hope to find the agency who feels I would be the asset to them I see myself as. I also realize I may not, and that's just life because while I feel LE is my calling to proactively serve the public others in key positions may continue to disagree and there's nothing I can do about it. My last chiefs interview opened my eyes to this concept...

Best of luck to you in whatever endeavors you pursue.
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Old 06-25-2013, 8:28 AM
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Here is my $.02. I spent many years as a trainer and recruiter for my department, and being honest with you, your story is typical of young kids today. I'll get right to the point, at 25 years old, you'll probably won't get picked up by any of the major departments with your history. If you were in your 30's, repaired your credit, had not touched any drugs since mentioned, and no criminal record you could have a chance at a smaller department, since most applicants want to get hired with the big departments. Now a days, unless your prior military, already have an education, or are just squared away at 25 years old no one is getting hired. Most agencies are looking for the older applicants, and like everyone else has stated, are already educated, stable, most have families, in short won't be a problem. If you really want to do this, work on your credit, stay away from drugs, and if still wish to do this, be completely honest in your background investigators, hiring panel, etc... about half of the candidates get DQ'd for failure to disclose. lastly look at become a Reserve P.O. (volunteer) somewhere earn your keep and prove your worth and you may get in that way as well. The process is the same but most agencies give Reserve Applicants a chance if they are unsure or want to take a look at a candidate before they commit to a full time position. It won't be easy, but possible.
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  #32  
Old 06-25-2013, 8:43 AM
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There's a lot of action in this thread and I don't have time to respond to all of it, but thanks for the replies.
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The thing I noticed in your thread is a lack of job experience and what you have been doing for the seven years since you got out of high school?
I have been working in a non-related field since high school. I am established in this field but have decided that I want something better and that I'm still young enough to go out and get something better. Becoming a LEO wouldn't make me more money, at least not without putting in massive amounts of OT. The other two options that I'm considering are Engineering and Computer science. Two fairly similar fields that I already have a background in and know I can be good at. They also pay a lot more. Realistically, Engineering is the route I will go, but as stated in the OP, I just wanted to "Ask the question" and reaffirm what I have pretty much always known - that my background will DQ me from becoming a LEO. It's pretty clear that it will, especially with all the excellent candidates flowing in.
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  #33  
Old 06-25-2013, 12:58 PM
Caddis Caddis is offline
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Originally Posted by bc360 View Post
Here is my $.02. I spent many years as a trainer and recruiter for my department, and being honest with you, your story is typical of young kids today. I'll get right to the point, at 25 years old, you'll probably won't get picked up by any of the major departments with your history. If you were in your 30's, repaired your credit, had not touched any drugs since mentioned, and no criminal record you could have a chance at a smaller department, since most applicants want to get hired with the big departments. Now a days, unless your prior military, already have an education, or are just squared away at 25 years old no one is getting hired. Most agencies are looking for the older applicants, and like everyone else has stated, are already educated, stable, most have families, in short won't be a problem. If you really want to do this, work on your credit, stay away from drugs, and if still wish to do this, be completely honest in your background investigators, hiring panel, etc... about half of the candidates get DQ'd for failure to disclose. lastly look at become a Reserve P.O. (volunteer) somewhere earn your keep and prove your worth and you may get in that way as well. The process is the same but most agencies give Reserve Applicants a chance if they are unsure or want to take a look at a candidate before they commit to a full time position. It won't be easy, but possible.
This is your best advice ^^^^
If you have a lot of good vs. the bad it may work but time tells all so another five years or so of being a model citizen will improve your chances a lot. If you really want to give it a try now, do it. I disagree with some of the responses here about bigger agencies being picky, I think it's the opposite based on what I have seen getting hired but each agency has its own standards.
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  #34  
Old 06-26-2013, 9:05 AM
realmswalker realmswalker is offline
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Originally Posted by PoorRichRichard
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Don't sell yourself short. Yes, the coke and X might screw u, but you'll never know if you don't try. If you are after $, try for LA county sheriffs- lots of OT in the jails due to overcrowding. Also they are more lax in thier hiring than most other deptmts.
I worked recruitment for four years, sad to say the standards did get lax to a degree before my very eyes. We used to be able to disqualify the applicants ourselves based on the particular criteria of the pre-screener, but that was taken away and they said shoot everyone to backgrounds, let backgrounds sort them out.

We did a mass hiring in 2006,2007, and some of 2008. Some people got hired who would not have been hired in a more competetive time, I will leave it at that.

I must add, we did hire many many great people, but as with everything, some slipped through, maybe a little more than would have in a more competetive time.

I can almost guarantee the weed sales will DQ you, but you never know unless you try.

As to the OT, it's there, just gotta sign up.
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  #35  
Old 08-31-2013, 10:04 PM
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This thread is a little stale, but it was an interesting read.

Some replies indicated that allowing time to pass while being a "model citizen" may help with passing his background. Presumably, this speaks to accumulating life experience, learning from mistakes, etc., which is (IMHO) reasonable.

While understanding that this is not a hard and fast rule and that it certainly varies from agency to agency, what would be considered enough (for lack of a better word) time to elapse for the worst of these actions to be sufficiently discounted to not be an auto or maybe even a probable DQ at a tier 1 agency (5, 10, 15 years, never)?

It would stand to reason these actions would also be a DQ for being a reserve officer/deputy as well. However, there was a suggestion that attempting to be a reserve first may be another route to rehabilitate his application.

How viable would this be? Are the character requirements for reserve different than full-time sworn officer/deputy at a tier 1 agency? Would it be better to combine the two suggestions? That is, would waiting 5 or 10 years, then becoming a reserve, then attempt to become a full-time paid tier 1 LEO be more viable in light of his background?

Obviously, this is more hypothetical than anything else given the age of this thread, but the notion of being able to overcome the stupidity of youth (no offense to the OP or anyone else--there are certain decisions I made before I was 21 that I really wish I could change) is compelling and it is interesting to see it applied in the real world.
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  #36  
Old 08-31-2013, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoorRichRichard View Post
Don't sell yourself short. Yes, the coke and X might screw u, but you'll never know if you don't try. If you are after $, try for LA county sheriffs- lots of OT in the jails due to overcrowding. Also they are more lax in thier hiring than most other deptmts.
The ecstasy alone will DQ you from LASD. Coke used to be an auto DQ but now I think it is 10 or 15 years. Selling pot....DQ. Lax standards......I think not.

Overtime? Hah! Maybe in the past, but not now.
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  #37  
Old 08-31-2013, 11:38 PM
infringed711 infringed711 is offline
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Nvm

Last edited by infringed711; 09-01-2013 at 12:12 AM..
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  #38  
Old 09-01-2013, 6:01 AM
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Default If LE doesn't work out, remember there is another option.

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  #39  
Old 09-01-2013, 7:09 AM
infringed711 infringed711 is offline
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Nope he's an auto dq from that for the coke
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  #40  
Old 09-01-2013, 7:23 AM
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I went through LEO training (POST) so I can speak from experience:
You will have to answer all these questions under polygraph, and my educated guess is they will be ok with the marijuana...

But.... as for the Selling pot and use of Coke, shrooms and ecstasy.... There is NO way you will make it through the interview process.... Sorry

Last edited by fighter4cage; 09-01-2013 at 7:26 AM..
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