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What are my odds?


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  • What are my odds?

    I am new to the forum and I am sure this posting is very frequent but I am just curious if anyone has any opinions on my chances of getting hired in law enforcement. To give you some background on me I am 25 years old, I've been married for 5 years and I have 2 children now. As a minor I made a few mistakes. I was arrested when I was 16 for stealing an Ipod in high school. It was a stupid decision that I can't take back. I went on probation and was released since then. I also went through a summer where I smoked marijuana but it never became a serious habit and I stopped when school started. I was also fired from a job when I was about 15 or 16. I was with a friend who cursed at some residents when we were outside and he left so I followed. When I came into work the following day I was let go and I know I should have argued it but I didn't even bother because I was so young and at the time it was not a big deal. Since all of this I joined the Marine Corps and served 4 years. I got out about 2 years ago to pursue law enforcement but didn't have any luck now I am going back into the Marines. My plan is to serve another 4 years and hopefully have luck getting hired with a department. Also, in less than a year I will have my Bachelor of Science Criminal Justice. So, with a degree, 8 years in the military and those blemishes in my past what are my odds of getting hired by a department?

  • #2
    Here’s the deal. You’re asking us, a bunch of strangers living all over the country, about your chances based upon the needs of an agency you haven’t named, in a region you haven’t identified. Under those conditions, we really have no clue.

    That being said, providing you’re background is what you say it is. You sound like a good catch. But let me tell you how things can go wrong.

    What you find out is that when all things are equal…meaning there are 3-4 other candidates with backgrounds, accomplishments, and IQ points the same as yours, they have to start nit-picking the small stuff to narrow the field to meet the numbers. The candidate who has smoked marijuana 12 times, will be overlooked in favor of the one who only smoked 6 times. The one who got picked up as a juvie for shoplifting may get in ahead of the one who broke a store window, but not beat out the one who never got caught doing anything.
    What passes the smell test in San Francisco, may not pass in Salt Lake City. What looks good in NYC and LA, may not look so good in Houston.

    The bottom line is, until you apply, you’ll never know. Best of luck.
    "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

    Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

    Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply. Of course I know replies may mean something or not it is strangers and each and every department is different. I am just looking for opinions and maybe some some who got hired with similar backgrounds or worse. The reason I didn't mention a specific department or even region is because I will be re-entering the military where I have no idea where I will be. I lived in Southern Cali for my first tour and that is my goal but who knows what will happen in the next 4 years. Thanks again.


      • #4
        Thank you for your service to our country. It sounds like you are on the right track. I would be careful how I word my criminal acts, they were not mistakes, they were poor decisions (personal accountability means a lot). If possible, try to major in something other than CJ, just in case.

        Once again, thank you for your service and good luck in your endeavors.

        Stay safe.


        • #5
          No issues for my agency.


          • #6
            If I were in your shoes, I'd make a decision on what your goals are. Federal? Or state? Local?

            My experience has only been in the federal service (and Army).

            There are plenty of periphery LE jobs in the federal government that would get you into the system. It might not be a LE job to start,
            but it's a start in the right direction. Look into recent graduate pathway programs, they are specifically for new graduates.

            1801-General Inspections\LE
            I'm sure there are other codes.

            I broke into the federal system as a student intern. Later transferring into a traditional LE agency, then finally grabbing my 1811 spot.

            Going back into the MiL, Your recommitting yourself for another contract. Who knows what opportunities may arise during that time.

            Although, i'm sure having a family puts a different dynamic on things though, and the MiL provides stability. If it is an absolute MUST that you re-sign, get into a MOS that provides a significant Skill. Polygrapher, intel, GIS, etc.

            Have a discussion on what your goals are?


            • #7
              Devildog, I don't believe you are unqualified to be a police officer. I've been a cop 9 years and have sat on hiring panels before, so I know what kind of candidates come through the door. Little details about your past and what you did in high school are not as important as what kind of person you are now and what your maturity and decision-making ability are now. Everyone has made little mistakes here and there, and police departments know that. As long as you are honest about your mistakes, own up to them, and show that you learned from them and moved on, a hiring panel at a police department won't look down on you for that.

              Like you, I made some mistakes when I was 14 and 15. I turned my s#^@ around and joined the Marines when I was 18. After 4 years active duty, I got out and went to college. While going to school, I got a job at my community college as a Community Service Officer with the police department. When they found out that I was a Marine, they immediately hired me, and also asked why I wasn't applying to be a police officer. I told them I was waiting until I finished my associate's degree. When I finished my degree at age 25, they immediately hired me as a police officer and sent me to the academy 4 weeks later. After 2 years at that agency, I lateralled to another, bigger agency nearby.

              I cannot stress enough that you HAVE to apply at multiple police departments if you want a chance in hell of getting hired. You cannot apply at one or two agencies and expect to get hired. I applied with 4 local agencies before I got hired. Most guys I know applied at several agencies before they got hired. Its not because your not hirable or qualified......a lot of times its because you're wet behind the ears and they know it, or you just don't know how to present yourself in the interview. You have to WANT to be a police officer and keep applying places. I tested for SWAT a few years back, they told me that no one ever gets selected on the first try. Not because a person wouldn't be qualified the first time, but because they wanted to see the person really wanted it and tried several years in a row. Another thing I've learned over the years is that you gain experience and confidence in testing for different jobs / assignments. If you keep at it, eventually you will succeed.

              In my experiences applying and getting hired, I found that what I did as a juvenile had less importance than what I did more recently. With one of the local agencies I applied for (and didn't get hired), the hiring panel wasn't too concerned with my problems when I was 14 because I explained that it was a stupid thing to do and that I learned from the experience not to follow other people. But they did get upset about the 7 speeding tickets that I had more recently, saying that it showed a lack of moral integrity.

              As for going back into the Marines, I don't think that's a horrible decision. But I don't necessarily think it's the right decision either. It sounds like a Band-Aid for the issue of not getting hired the first few times you applied somewhere. And you have to consider your wife and kids too. You're already qualified as it is, and re-enlisting for another 4 years is only delaying you getting on with a police department, if that's your end goal. I'm telling you right now, with 4 years experience as a U.S. Marine, a Bachelor's degree, and no significant criminal history, you're a well qualified candidate. Your military service will go a long way, you just need to learn to sell yourself in the interview (remember JJDIDTIEBUCKLE?).

              Look into every police department you can think of.....cities, counties, colleges/universities, airports. Apply everywhere and twice on Sunday. (Another option is becoming a correctional officer, because that gets you more experience relevant to law enforcement, and then you can move up to a police department later on.)

              Okay, getting off my soapbox now. Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck.
              Last edited by GixxerSteve; 02-04-2015, 02:27 AM.
              "These aren't my pants"


              • #8
                Thanks for the reply. It was very helpful and I do appreciate that. I am just going to play this out with the recruiter as of now and we'll see what happens within the next 4 years but like you said I am not going to give up and in the next 4 years I know I'll be a police officer somewhere.


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