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  • PD hiring question

    Hello,

    I have an interview for the Wichita Police Deaprtment next Tuesday, the 17th. I will be graduating from college next May with a BA in Criminal Justice. I live in North Dakota so I am an out ot state applicant. I have to drive down there for the entrance exam, the physical agillity test, and the contact interview.

    I am a little confused, because I have relatives who are police officers and they have given me some advice. Advice that I'm not sure is correct. One said that if they ask you if you have ever driven under the influence, just say no. He said there have been people denied consideration because they said they have. Of course the interviewer is going to be understanding and will try his hardest to get you to open up about your past, but how much should you be willing to tell?

    Questions like, have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony?
    No, I have not, but what if I did steal something from a friend that could of been a felony or misdemeanor?

    Questions like, have you ever smoked marijuana? Of course many people have, but should you confront the exact involvement with drug usage? Like maybe you did in high school, but you haven't since. Which I'm only 22 and high school was only 3-4 years ago.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Tell them everything, everything!!!! Most agencies want, and secretly require, you to be upfront with them about all past instances. They will not frown on honesty, it is what they are looking for.

    Comment


    • #3
      Tykimeister,

      I would be as truthful as you can. Any convictions will be discovered during your BI. If the department has a complete BI process, the investigator will also speak with people that know you and your habits. This includes people that you did not include in your PHQ (background packet).

      Now if you went out with your friends one night and had a few drinks, and drove home afterwards, were you under the influence? Depending on the legal limit, maybe, maybe not. How would you know?

      Be up front about drug use- this will be asked during your Poly. All departments know that it is very difficult to find a 20 (something) year old just out of college who has not used an illegal substance. The use is not the disqualifer (can depend on the substance and frequency of use), being untruthful will disqualify you from the process.

      You can take advice from your relatives, but the testing/evaluation process has probably changed since their date (time) of hire.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks so much for the reply. I appreciate it.

        I have no criminal record, and have never been arrested or spent time in jail. However, that does not mean I never did something illegal; such as stealing, lieing, or doing various other things. Is this information I should share with the interviewer, or should I just keep things straight about what could be on my record some place along the BI? I don't see how my past drug use would be an issue since it was only a handfull of times and over 3 years ago. Besides what I put on my BI packet, what other types of questions does the polygraph examiner ask?
        Thanks,
        Ty

        Comment


        • #5
          I doubt that stealing a candy bar, or shoplifting while in high school will even become an issue. Again, be truthful in regard to what is asked. Do not read too much into what is being asked. Be truthful about your recreational drug use (will be expected) and any major issues that will be discovered during your BI.

          It is very difficult in today's society to actually locate an applicant who has not commited theft, used illegal substances, or broken the law at one time or another. Department's are very aware of this issue, and have changed the focus of their recruitment procedures based on this fact. You are not any different from most other college students/applicants.

          The poly may asked if you have been truthful during the recruitment process. As I have stated, be truthful.

          As an applicant, you will worry about everything that you MAY have done while growing up and attending college. Focus on what they are asking in the PHQ. Again, you sound no different from every other applicant that is competing for a position.

          Comment


          • #6
            This interview did not go well at all. I passed the entrance exam and I went to the first contact interview. After spending about 2 hours filling out the background packet, the detective took a look and said there wasn't a need to even take the fitness examination.

            Are you only supposed to put stuff in the background packet that they could find out? Because, I put things in it that never would of been found out; while under the impression that I must be honest, I farked myself over. My criminal history is non existant and I felt that I needed to be honest with the background packet. I wrote things concerning a fight I had with a sibling in high school, eating chicken while at work at my current job, and taking a soda or two without paying for it. Are these really grounds for being elliminated as an applicant? The packet stated that it is reasonable to assume that all people have done something illegal and that the purpose of the packet was to only find if applicants can be truthful. Now, I realize that if I had just checked no on all the 40 pages of questions and let them do their "background check" I would have been fine. Lieing about everything bad I have done would have gotten me farther that actually telling the truth. This whole experience, not to mention driving 2,000 miles to the interview, was very dissapointing.

            I plan to apply at other departments, but I have a question. Must I tell them that I previously applied for a Police Officer position at another department? I was never hired or worked for any department, but do I need to tell them I have applied?

            Also, what should be done if you feel you have been cheated during the interview? The whole time she was interviewing me she always was interupted by her cell phone, talking to other people in the room, and trying to get things done for some job fair. It was very unprofessional and I don't see how anything I said in my BG packet was any different than anyone else. Maybe, of course, if I was stupid enough to say things I shouldn't have.

            Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
            Ty

            Comment


            • #7
              Ty,

              First of all, NEVER feel bad about being truthful. Honesty and integrity is of the utmost importance; especially in law enforcement.

              From what you have shared with me, I do not see a reason for the department discontinuing/terminating you from the hiring process. However, I do not know the department's policy. One thing to remember is that agencies all over the country are cutting back due to budgetary restraints/recession. There are a large amount of applicants attempting to enter the hiring phase for police departments. This may have been the reason for what happened (a quick denial based on dishonesty- poor excuse, especially in this case).

              With no criminal history, and your attempt at honesty (taking a soda, having a fight with a sibling, and eating while on the clock), I can only guess that you are a victim of the country's current crisis.

              As far as listing this experience on other BIs, unless they ask if you have applied at another agency, I do not see any reason why you should have to mention the experience.

              Remember, read the BI packet and provide the information that they are requesting. What you included about the soda (and other issues) was unnecessary.

              Comment


              • #8
                I do realise that the economy is doing poorly and this could be a reason for the quick denial. But from what I have researched, the state of Kansas was cutting back on hiring while the city of Wichita was actually hiring. However, they did mention that they were not 100% sure if they would have an academy this summer, which is a good indicator that they are cutting back.

                In the future I plan to be much more discreet about past information. I think I will stick with information that is likely to be found out during the background investigation.
                Ty

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tykimeister View Post
                  I do realise that the economy is doing poorly and this could be a reason for the quick denial. But from what I have researched, the state of Kansas was cutting back on hiring while the city of Wichita was actually hiring. However, they did mention that they were not 100% sure if they would have an academy this summer, which is a good indicator that they are cutting back.

                  In the future I plan to be much more discreet about past information. I think I will stick with information that is likely to be found out during the background investigation.
                  Ty
                  Ty,

                  Be smart bro.. You are advertising on a LE forum which thousands of LE officers, of which some are no doubt members of departments you will apply to in the future, that you are basically going to lie on future applications because you feel cheated. Based on your depiction of events it does in fact seem a bit sketch your weren't moved on to the next phase of applicant processing. As a cop, I also know there are two sides to every story and we only have yours.

                  There is no faster way to get removed from a hiring process than to be caught lying. Purposely leaving out information is deceit and will eliminate you from any PD hiring process. Most PDs will ask if you've applied elsewhere and the best thing you can do is be up front. A BI may or may not disclose previous applications, but is it worth the risk? The fact another PD turned you down isn't a disqualifier. A BI finding out you did apply and lied about it is. Also, remember you are going to likely be polygraphed on your responses.

                  I don't know anything about your application except what you've placed in this thread. Questionable items I see are prior drug use and theft. Theft, if petty (less than a few dollars) and isolated (one or two instances) shouldn't have been an issue. As for drug use, most departments won't hire you if you've used marijuana within the last two to five years (regardless of written policy, you simply will be deemed less competative) and the use of any other illicit substance will likely permanently DQ you. There was no mention of underage drinking in your previous post, but this question likely came up in the BI and also may have caused you problems. Underage drinking isn't a show stopper, but considering your age, if you did drink underage, there may not have been enough elapsed time to make you a competative candidate.

                  Good luck Ty. Keep doing things that will make you a more competative candidate(advanced degree, internship, military or other professional work, etc). Undoubtedly be honest and watch what you disclose on an open forum. Based on the information you've provided already a single phone call to Wichita PD could ID you. Trust me, I understand and empathize with your frustration, but its not unique. It took me two years to get hired on to my first LE gig and that was with a BA and five years experience as a military officer. In your favor, you've got lots of years and applications ahead of you and undoubtedly, as long as you qualify, you'll end up toting a badge and gun if you are willing to work for it. Cheers bro.
                  Last edited by MeLLoDraMa; 02-19-2009, 02:15 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mello,

                    Thanks for the advice. Yes, I know posting my information isn't the smartest thing I could be doing, but I am in need of advice to make future interviews more successful; not by lying, but by providing only the information that is needed to address my current moral standings. Like others have said, I probably could have left some things out because they were not serious enough to be addressed.

                    I can agree that I am young, though at time inpatient, and have plenty of time to get the ball a rolling. Becoming a police officer isn't my life dream. I sought employment as a police officer so I could gain work experience and attend graduate school at the same time. I still could go to school, but I would likely be working as a probation officer, jailer, or even just at Wal-Mart if I had to. Going to school is still very possible and being a police officer was only a preference. Though this doesn't mean I don't intend to take the responsibility as a LE officer serious.

                    Now, as graduation nears, I have to look at other options that I have considered as backup plans. Since becoming an officer in the AF is quite competitive, I am looking into applying for OCS in the Navy. JAG and Intelligence are two career fields that would be good work experience. Then I could attend college while in the Navy or just go to graduate school when I'm done. These are all things I have considered over the past year, or os.

                    Again thanks for your advice and I intend to stop talking about the interview I attended.
                    Ty
                    Last edited by Tykimeister; 02-19-2009, 02:43 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No problem Ty. All military officer positions you will find competative, though USAF and USN are great choices, as are the other branches. I currently serve in the USAFR as an intelligence officer and the work is very interesting. Intelligence school is no joke so be prepared if you choose to go that route. I also served as a Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations where I got to work closely w/ the JAG corps. Most military lawyers are top notch.

                      FYI.. You will likely run into similar situations where full disclosure is mandatory if you choose to join the military as well, especially with your top career choices being intel and JAG considering they both will require a TS clearance.

                      Again good luck and feel free to use me as a resource.

                      M.

                      Comment

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