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Do I still have a shot at being a police officer?

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  • Do I still have a shot at being a police officer?

    Hi I am new to this forum and I have tried to search for an answer to my question but I haven't found it anywhere so please forgive me if this question has been already asked. So in 2007 I worked at Circuit City and had just graduated highschool. I was young and was stupid and decided to steal a couple of Tvs and sell them. I later was questioned and I ended up confessing to stealing Tvs. I was obviously terminated and ended up paying the company back. I was never taken to court, arrested or convicted of a felony. I have had no trouble applying and aquiring other jobs that involve retail. I have learned from my mistakes and haven't had any run in with the law ever since. I am now trying to apply for different police departments and have noticed that many departments require a personal history questionare. I recently took one for San Jose PD and failed because the background investigator told me that i was dq'd because of my termination. My question is how am I supposed to get to an oral interview if I cant get past the phq because a red flag will pull up everytime I tell them I was terminated for stealing. Do I still have a shot at becoming a police officer, or should I be looking to pursue another career?

    I also took my written test and physical test and got decent scores.
    My t score was 56.2 and my physical agility score was 604
    Last edited by Rocky8; 06-07-2013, 05:22 PM.

  • #2
    You should look elsewhere anyway. This career is no guarantee, but you also have to look from the perspective of the department. You have guys that have never been terminated ever, no tickets, good school history and can hold a steady job. Who would you pick? Someone has the tendency to some capacity to break the law, or the kid that has had 0 problems in his life. I'm not saying give up, but in my opinion you have an uphill climb. Bad character, try to spin it in a positive. "It was youthful ignorance, and I highly regret it; but I've learned whatever from the incident." Just my 2 cents.

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    • #3
      Time heals all wounds, if this is the career you want to get into then spend this time pursuing things that will help you reach your goals- justice degree, volunteering etc. if this was an isolated incident and It was the only time it ever happened then I guarantee that you can still find employment as a police officer. The biggest thing is to own your mistakes, never lie about them and never repeat them. I can almost promise you that there are peple currently employed as cops that have done worse things.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Rocky8 View Post
        I was young and was stupid and decided to steal a couple of Tvs and sell them. I later was questioned and I ended up confessing to stealing Tvs.
        Section 1031 of the California Government Code requires that peace officer applicants, “Be of good moral character, as determined by a thorough
        background investigation.”

        With respect to your theft history, at the least we are talking about Grand Theft. At the worst we are talking about Burglary and Embezzlement. All three are undetected felonies.

        I will leave it up to you to determine how all that that fits into the “Good Moral Character” category.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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        • #5
          PD might be difficult. If you really want to get into LE, you may have a shot in the military or with other LE related departments. Corrections, Liquor Commission, Attorney General, etc. are all "related" fields that may have less stringent background requirements. As others have said, get some time and public service over a couple of years. This will show a history of the incident being an isolated one.

          Good luck!
          Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.

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          • #6
            You are an undetected felon who violated a position of trust. With some PDs you simply are not eligible to go through the process. It is what it is.

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            • #7
              Good luck buddy. Your fighting an up hill battle.

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              • #8
                Thanks for the reply, this sheds a little light of hope for me. I graduate with my criminal justice degree next year, and look to do some volunteer work at my local pd's soon. Hopefully all turns out well.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Rocky8 View Post
                  Thanks for the reply, this sheds a little light of hope for me. I graduate with my criminal justice degree next year, and look to do some volunteer work at my local pd's soon. Hopefully all turns out well.
                  Don't just volunteer with your local PD. LE agencies are looking for people who give back to their community because they care, not just because they are trying to further their careers. Volunteering with a PD looks opportunistic. Try volunteering at a domestic violence shelter, or as an after-school tutor.

                  In fact, volunteering as a mentor for at-risk kids would make a great selling point for your interviews: "I made a very poor choice when I was young, and have always wondered if I would have made better decisions had I had a mentor at that time. As a result, I've dedicated my free time over the last three years to being a mentor to at-risk students." That's the kind of response that would make an interviewer sit up and take notice.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by piperj3cub View Post
                    In fact, volunteering as a mentor for at-risk kids would make a great selling point for your interviews: "I made a very poor choice when I was young, and have always wondered if I would have made better decisions had I had a mentor at that time. As a result, I've dedicated my free time over the last three years to being a mentor to at-risk students." That's the kind of response that would make an interviewer sit up and take notice.
                    Thank you for the advice, I have thought of being a mentor to younger teens, but have never really thought of using it as a selling point to highlight the mistake I made, and show how my mistake may have been prevented if I had a mentor.

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                    • #11
                      So this is just my two cents on this. I don't know if any of you remember Miami during the cocaine run, but they were looking for officers to meet a certain criteria. They had so many murder investigations that they were taking anyone who was not high or under the influence of cocaine at the time of their testing because they could not get anyone to meet the minimum requirements at that time. Anyway that is a pretty extreme case, but still applies.

                      I don't agree with the majority of this posts. I think that if this occurred when you were a juvenile than you should be fine. With the economy getting better you will have less and less applicants for law enforcement. And with a college education you have a start. Anyway. We all did stupid stuff before the age of 18. What my department is looking for is people who admit it and do not continue to do stupid stuff.

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                      • #12
                        I can not speak about police departments in Cali but over here in GA the Atlanta PD would hire you.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by justonslc View Post
                          I don't agree with the majority of this posts. I think that if this occurred when you were a juvenile than you should be fine. With the economy getting better you will have less and less applicants for law enforcement. And with a college education you have a start. Anyway. We all did stupid stuff before the age of 18. What my department is looking for is people who admit it and do not continue to do stupid stuff.
                          This actually happened after I just turned 18. But I haven't had anymore run in with the law, and have been trying to prepare myself for law enforcement, by doing ride alongs, taking criminal justice courses, working out, etc..I just can't seem to get passed the personal history questionnaire to get to an oral interview because of the termination.

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                          • #14
                            Another one with dreams to be a cop, which were woefully forgotten upon the idea of making quick cash by burglarizing your place of employment to commit felony embezzlement and grand theft.

                            I know a guy who was given a ton of flak in backgrounds because he stole two candy bars and was caught by loss prevention at 12 years old. How do you think a background investigator will look at someone who committed at least three felonies as an adult?

                            You are a felon(albeit undetected by LE). Look elsewhere for employment.

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                            • #15
                              In the 6 years since that happened, if you can demonstrate that you've been a responsible, trustworthy, adult, there is probably an agency out there that would entertain your application. Very often it's not what you did, it's what you lied about doing, and if you're forthcoming with a potential employer, I think there are some larger city departments that would overlook that incident, particularly since it did not involve a criminal conviction. I think you're going to have to really work on developing a compelling story to tell about how you learned from that event, why you did it, and how you know it will never happen again. With that said, as other posters have accurately noted, in this job market you are going to compete with a lot of other applicants with more education, more work experience, and a clean background. You mentioned this was after high school, 6 years ago, and that you've been able to get retail jobs since then. What about more education? And a more significant job rather than just bouncing from retail job to retail job. That will make you more competitive. Bottom line, I don't think it's an automatic disqualification everywhere, and if this is your dream it's worth pursuing, but you need to get serious about packaging yourself as an attractive applicant or you will get rejected over and over....my two cents.

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