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  • Political Activist: Could it hurt my chances?

    Greetings!

    I will be graduating with my BA degree next year. My intentions are to apply and be hired at an agency as a LEO. Who I am: I believe that I am a respectable candidate to be hired. I am a former college-athlete with a 3.0gpa , and I am currently a volunteer Firefighter, student-government senator, and elementary school mentor.
    In addition, I am currently a political activist in the "drug-policy reform movement". I recently founded and actively-lead a Students for Sensible Drug Policy(SSDP) chapter at my University. This is where my seeking of your professional opinion is based. Will my involvement with SSDP compromise or endanger my likelihood of being hired by an agency? If so, why?

    Our national website: www.ssdp.org

    Note: I have a completely clean background.

    Thank you for your opinions!

  • #2
    I think you will need to show your ability to distinguish personal opinions from professional duties. If you can do that I'm sure you could get hired. I looked at your groups website and it appears to be a somewhat extreme organization, founded on textbook theory about drug use, with little or none influence from real life effects of narcotics. If you ever do become a Police Officer, especially in a metropolitan area, your outlook on narcotics will most likely change. Once you see first hand (not from a book or classroom) the effects that narcotics have on communities and families, your prior stance may disgust you. I think the first time you take a complaint from a child who was forced into prostitution to support a parents drug habit, your ideals may change. I suggest you do some ride alongs to see if this job is actually something you want to do. There was a guy who I went through the academy with who was big into drug reform. After being on the street for two weeks he quit and pursued a different line of work. I think reality brought into question his entire outlook on life, and it made him extremely uncomfortable. try it though, but make sure its something you want to do.

    Comment


    • #3
      Conflict of Interest Issue

      It is going to call into question you ability to vigorously enforce in an unbiased manner, the very laws you strongly oppose. This will pose a serious conflict of interest. As founder of SSDF, any enforcement action you take you cause you to lose all credibility (and face) with the group you lead. Under the circumstances, such a potential conflict of interest may result in an instant DQ.

      In addition, enough police officers have been injured and killed in the line of duty by narcotics dealers that your "enlightened philosophy" on drug legalization will more than likely be taken as a direct insult by your oral board members and I would anticipate you not making it past your first interview. If you keep your mouth shout about SSDF at the oral, in addition to the conflict of interest issue, I suspect your BI will dig up enough dirt on you that every agency you apply with in the future will merely reinvestigate his findings to complete their own DQ.

      Let's turn the tables a bit. Let's say that as a police applicant, I founded a political action group that called for the legalization of prostitution in my state. It's licensed and legal in Nevada and Mexico, so why shouldn't we cash in on it here as well? Our philosophy might be - Why be hypocrites? Everyone likes to get a little strange every now and then. Plus, it helps empower at risk members of the community by making them financially independent busineswomen.

      Again, I am merely utilizing my 1st Amendment rights to petition the government for change. How far do you think I would make it as a police applicant who is expected to enforce the prostitution laws?
      Last edited by L-1; 05-05-2010, 01:12 AM.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

      Comment


      • #4
        On your website, I think you should add a few more "did you know?" facts above the main page..how about "90% of violent crimes are drug related! legalize it!" or maybe "Drug abuse is a major contributor to mental retardation/illness in children and adults! This is so fun!" please let me know if you would like anymore ideas for your website!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by L-1 View Post
          It is going to call into question you ability to vigorously enforce in an unbiased manner, the very laws you strongly oppose. This will pose a serious conflict of interest. As founder of SSDF, any enforcement action you take you cause you to lose all credibility (and face) with the group you lead. Under the circumstances, such a potential conflict of interest may result in an instant DQ.

          In addition, enough police officers have been injured and killed in the line of duty by narcotics dealers that your "enlightened philosophy" on drug legalization will more than likely be taken as a direct insult by your oral board members and I would anticipate you not making it past your first interview. If you keep your mouth shout about SSDF at the oral, in addition to the conflict of interest issue, I suspect your BI will dig up enough dirt on you that every agency you apply with in the future will merely reinvestigate his findings to complete their own DQ.

          Let's turn the tables a bit. Let's say that as a police applicant, I founded a political action group that called for the legalization of prostitution in my state. It's licensed and legal in Nevada and Mexico, so why shouldn't we cash in on it here as well? Our philosophy might be - Why be hypocrites? Everyone likes to get a little strange every now and then. Plus, it helps empower at risk members of the community by making them financially independent busineswomen.

          Again, I am merely utilizing my 1st Amendment rights to petition the government for change. How far do you think I would make it as a police applicant who is expected to enforce the prostitution laws?
          I respect and appreciate your response sir. The analogy that you present concerning prostitution though, presents little merit. We are political group that advocates legalization of Cannabis.True. This is NOT to say that we advocate the USE of Cannabis or any substance for that matter. Also, I must confess my opinion that I resent the remark that you made stating that enough officers had died in the line of duty enforcing narcotics already, therefore any board would take my interview as an insult. Sir, I am deeply motivated to end the war on drugs in the fact that hundreds of thousands of LEOs are expected to fight a war that they cannot win, therefore greatly risking their lives and well-being unnecessarily. Where do gangs receive their profit??ILLEGAL DRUGS. In fact, over 50% of their profit is based in marijuana alone. Can you imagine what would happen if any enterprise lost half of their assets? They would fail!

          My basis(as would I would openly describe in an "oral interview") for political action in drug reform is centered around the concept of lowering drug abuse rates. My "enlightened philosophy" as you cite, is based on my sociological and political study of society and how certain policies affect our citizens. Is it not noble to stand for what you believe in the land of the free? Represented by the people and for the people?? Call me altruistic and too young and naive, but that is what I was taught to believe in my upbringing and education. The harsh reality that many citizens fail to realize is, since the "War on Drugs" was enacted in the 1970s, drug use/abuse is higher then it ever has been. And for what? Over 60 billion tax payer dollars each year go toward arresting over 800,000 marijuana offenses. Well over half of them are for possession only. Taxation and regulation (like alcohol & tobacco) of Cannabis would "pull the rug" from under the blackmarket's feet. We advocate for Education not Incarceration. This is because we know that educating about and regulating a substance is more effective then leaving it in the hands of the individuals who drug deal right now.

          I want to be a LEO for various reasons. Like many of you, I simply wish to help people, and I know that I can do this as a LEO. In addition, I wish to further my academic study of society from "ground zero", and this can be accomplished as a LEO. Finally, although it does appear to be a conflict of interest, I believe that just like every other working American, I leave my personal convictions and beliefs at the professional-door. Enforcing the drug laws would be part of my sworn duty, I wouldn't intend on entering law enforcement not realizing this. In fact, I am a person who is constantly motivated to learning, therefore, being a LEO may further solidify my opposition to the war on drugs, or it may change my opinion; but I am certain that I won't find out unless I experience it for myself.

          If I were to explain these issues(in an oral interview) in the manner stated above(which I'm being honest), do you believe that it would change a concerned oral board's review?

          Ps: Examine current and former LEO's opinions on the matter at
          www.leap.cc

          That is, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition(LEAP)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jonny54957 View Post
            I think you will need to show your ability to distinguish personal opinions from professional duties. If you can do that I'm sure you could get hired. I looked at your groups website and it appears to be a somewhat extreme organization, founded on textbook theory about drug use, with little or none influence from real life effects of narcotics. If you ever do become a Police Officer, especially in a metropolitan area, your outlook on narcotics will most likely change. Once you see first hand (not from a book or classroom) the effects that narcotics have on communities and families, your prior stance may disgust you. I think the first time you take a complaint from a child who was forced into prostitution to support a parents drug habit, your ideals may change. I suggest you do some ride alongs to see if this job is actually something you want to do. There was a guy who I went through the academy with who was big into drug reform. After being on the street for two weeks he quit and pursued a different line of work. I think reality brought into question his entire outlook on life, and it made him extremely uncomfortable. try it though, but make sure its something you want to do.
            Thank you for your valid opinion, sir.
            I will say, I am 100% certain that Law Enforcement is what I want to do. The example that you gave concerning a girl being forced into prostitution because of her parents' drug habit is actually another motivation for my opposition to the drug war. Around 30% of the war on drug's annual budget goes toward addiction treatment. Imagine if the money spent on incarcerating drug arrests (especially drugs like crack-cocaine) went towards rehabilitation and addiction treatment (over $40 billion)? Would that girl be as likely to see her parent's lives ruined by drug-addiction? I don't believe so. I am prepared to see the disgusting aspects of drug abuse and addiction, because I want to understand it better from a personal perspective. My brother was addicted to drugs, and if my family wasn't middle-class and hadn't been able to afford effective treatment, like so many families in poverty, he would probably be on the streets, much like so many young people in the face of narcotics. This doesn't negate the fact that narcotics exist, that will always be constant. What we can examine to change is how our government moves to effect it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Basically you have to realize this: regardless of whatever political/policy activity you do on your own time and dime, as an LEO, it is not your job to shape or make policy and you WILL have to make arrests and testify in pursuit of the incarceration/criminal sentencing of people who I infer you see as "victims" of a policy your political convictions are against. A hiring board isn't looking for further articulation of your political beliefs. They are looking for you to acknowledge there is your job and there are things in your personal life that are to be kept entirely separate from the execution of your duties in that job. That acknowledgment is what a hiring board is looking for, not further articulation of the foundation of your political position (which is what you're tending to do in this thread, begging the question whether you really want to know how the hiring process works or just want to use the question as a way to introduce a drug debate on the forum).

              Other possible concern, how "active" has your activism been? You basically founded a discussion, reading, and video watching club at college. Fine. Did your group encourage or engage in civil disobedience? Are you registered in your state or in Congress as a lobbyist? How much outreach / contact have you made with government, law enforcement, or the public has your club made? No one will say any of that activity is outside of your rights as an American citizen, but if your association with the issue has garnered you a degree of notoriety (which could be as small as how often you're associated with the issue via Google) it may make you a problematic hire for some departments or agencies.

              Lastly, when applying out of college for any entry level position in law enforcement or any other field, realize "SocialScientist" is just a screen name. Your credential in this discussion and on the job market is an undergrad degree, which may or may not be in an actual "social science" (with a discipline's rudimentary undergraduate training in actually performing statistical studies and not just learning the statistics of actual social scientists' studies) and apparently extracurricular activities. To rise through the ranks, and reaching the ranks that may result in them interviewing applicants, many in law enforcement pursue advanced degrees (M.A.s, J.D.s, MPA, etc.) and are likely a lot more studied/schooled on a lot of issues than whatever authority you're trying to establish yourself as. In other words, approach any interview situation with a bit of humility/humbleness and do not take it as an opportunity to challenge your potential employers' thinking/policy. That's pretty common sense for any job.
              Last edited by PeeOwed; 05-05-2010, 12:40 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Law enforcement is as conservative a career field as you're likely to find these days.

                Any applicant with an out-of-the-ordinary past, or an atypical myspace/facebook/NORML/SSDP/KuKluxKlan/HighTimes history is going to face an uphill battle.

                If you want to be a cop, get a haircut, a dark suit, and stop with the counter-culture program.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Does your society know anything about the real drug war? Sure, maybe you know a really nice kid in your class who smokes the ganja... And you go out in the streets and say, look this doesn't hurt anyone, this kid is chill. His dealer is chill. They are just trying to have a good time.

                  Well look 35ft from the U.S. border where 8,000 people die a year trying to get all types of drugs to the U.S. Being legal or illegal here, there will still be a large demand and the drug cartels in Mexico will keep fighting to be the supplier.

                  In need of opium? The Taliban can supply you some all the while donating money from your proceeds to UBL.

                  Drugs are not like alcohol. Many are way more addictive. Many are much more potent.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You not only being a member, but starting a chapter of your own, leads to the question, do you use drugs?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This should be a fun thread to read. Hippie college know it alls who consult a thesaurus while posting are amusing.

                      I agree with the previous poster... it just seems like "socialscientist" is looking for a way to introduce the topic to the forum.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Based on SocialScientist's responses, you guys are talking to a brick wall. He's not looking for sincere guidance, he's wanted you to agree with him, and tell him that police agencies will accept the fact he's a member/founder of a pro-legalization organization (which, while hiring policies vary, probably won't be acceptable across the board).
                        sigpic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SocialScientist View Post
                          I respect and appreciate your response sir. The analogy that you present concerning prostitution though, presents little merit.
                          Actually, it has a lot of merit. It doesn't matter if your organization advocates legalization of drugs or prostitution, your job as a police officer is to enforce the laws prohibiting those matters. This poses a conflict of interest for you. Having a conflict of interest is a big no-no for government employees because it undermines public faith in government to function effectively and fairly. In California, we have the Fair Political Practices Commission that routinely investigates and prosecutes public employees for having a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest can mean an instant DQ.

                          Originally posted by SocialScientist View Post
                          Also, I must confess my opinion that I resent the remark that you made stating that enough officers had died in the line of duty enforcing narcotics already, therefore any board would take my interview as an insult. Sir, I am deeply motivated to end the war on drugs in the fact that hundreds of thousands of LEOs are expected to fight a war that they cannot win, therefore greatly risking their lives and well-being unnecessarily. Where do gangs receive their profit??ILLEGAL DRUGS. In fact, over 50% of their profit is based in marijuana alone. Can you imagine what would happen if any enterprise lost half of their assets? They would fail!
                          I can't help the fact that I have hurt your feelings. As the same time, you will not be able to change the fact that your above position will equally insult the members of your oral panel and your BI for the reasons I have stated. And this issue will no doubt come up in that part of the oral, background and poly where they ask you to tell them about your background and history. The simple fact is that you are asking to join our club. That means you play by our rules. No one gets welcomed with open arms when a newcomer ask to join, announcing that if admitted they intend to change the organization's game plan. That's not cops being cops - that's just human nature.
                          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You should look into the golden triangle in northern Califronia where there is legalization of growing for medicinal purposes and violent crime has skyrocketed because of it. The Mendecino County Sheriff said his department is at a breaking point trying to answer all the calls for service associated with the marijuana trade. I would say with your views of legalizing marijuana most departments are going to consider the idea that you probably are using marijuana. Despite what you may think cops talk to other cops in these hiring boards and will say "hey this guy sounds like a doper". The only other thing I think that is worse than your situation is the guy who interviews and asks "what kind of guns do you carry?" "how fast do your cars go?" lol. You might look into being a hose drager those guys are nuts anyway!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/

                              http://www.codepink4peace.org/
                              "What the problem is?"

                              Comment

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