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Antidepressant meds get you dq'd?

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  • Antidepressant meds get you dq'd?

    I'm a not-so-recent college grad and am 1000% sure that I want to be a police officer. I am already on three lists and have been rejected from one position. My current plan is to take professional security courses, martial arts lessons, and try to get placed in some sort of security position to build up my LE resume. There is only one problem.

    At 18, when I was a senior in HS, I believed I was clinically depressed, sought treatment from an MD, and was put on meds. This was June '01; I stayed on the meds until July '05. The _only_ reason I stayed on them for so long was out of habit; the psychiatric community actually advises patients to _never_ discontinue use of meds, just as a diabetic wouldn't. Well, I did last year, and have managed to stay ship-shape through some very difficult times. I'm not sure now if depression can ever really be classified as a physical disease, but I do know I never had it. All I had were the ups and downs of LIFE.

    My question is: should I even bother? Will PD's disqualify me out of hand because of this med history? The "mental patient" stigma is very serious, so much so that a past president of the American Psychological Association actually recommended people lie about it. I don't feel comfortable lying to PD's, though.

    I _have_, after a long waiver process, been cleared for military service. My plan was to join the Air National Guard after getting my probationary period done at a PD, but would my cause be served better by 4 years' active duty?

    Any help would be appreciated. God bless.

  • #2
    Well you are definitely in a difficult situation. Although you may not have even been clinically depressed, the only thing that will matter to most PDs is the fact that you were diagnosed. However, I'm not here to dash your hopes and dreams, so I'll give you the best advice I can think of:

    #1) Don't take rejection personally. You might have to apply to a lot of departments before you get hired. Just remember, these agencies are looking at you in two ways...#1, can you become a good cop? Sure you can....#2, do you have the potential of becoming a liability? That's the kicker for you with your medical history.

    #2) Be honest. You will take polygraph tests with nearly every department you apply for. If you fail one of those, it will follow you around. If you lie on a personal history statement, then that will follow you around. Just be honest every time you apply.

    #3) Your idea about starting with a security company may be a good start. Try to pick one that works closely with a police department. For example my local mall has a police precinct inside the mall and the officers often work directly with the security guards. It's a good chance to get to know some officers and show them your work ethic. Sure you're just protecting people from wet spills, but you get valuable experience in dealing with people.

    #4) Look into some Sheriff's departments. Around here, the Sheriff Departments have to have a little more relaxed hiring standards to fill the jailer and communications positions. If you can get on as a jailer and put in a few good years, prove yourself under pressure, and work hard...then you'll have a good shot at moving to road patrol or transferring to another agency.

    The important thing is this, if you believe you can do it...then you'll do it.

    Gibbmusic
    Okay, just how big were those two beers sir?

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    • #3
      I was in a similar situation, and was not DQ'd, in fact I got the job.

      I talked about it with my backgrounder during the process, he had a few questions, and we moved on. Simple as that.

      I can't say that it will be the same for you, but don't give up just because of that.

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      • #4
        DQ'd for depression

        Be sure to gather up all of your medical documentation to present to departments you are applying to. It would be nice if you could get a statement from your doctor that shows that the doctor has cleared you medically.
        The department you apply to will most likely send you to their own doctor to evaluate your previous condition. Each applicant has to be evaluated on a case by case basis. This should not be a problem for you....but be sure to get your ducks in a row because some departments will DQ you becuase they don't like the way you look!!

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        • #5
          If your DQ'd as result of meds prescribed by your DR and are diagnosed you may be protected by ADA, as long as you can perform the duties required and the meds don't affect your performance

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          • #6
            Ada

            The ADA is a tricky number, the important clause is that you CAN perform the essential duties and meet the qualifications of the position. Almost any LE agency is going to have a reasonable argument that a mood disorder (depression) could and would affect your ability to perform. Not saying anything beyond beware of trying to use the ADA as leverage. Ultimately most departments are intelligent enough that if you get rejected, you will likely never be told the reason. Also, to be able to invoke the ADA, one needs to demonstrate a condition that is "substantially limiting" in both duration and severity, and that affects a "Major Life Activity." Sticking a 5 year bout with clinical depression in this narrow definition may be a tough sell.
            Last edited by gobuffs83; 12-19-2006, 07:58 AM. Reason: Poor memory

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            • #7
              You are WAY to concerned about your situational depression. I was told by one Captain in Backgrounds for a large dept, that at least 20-30% of applicants and current officers in our generation are on, or have been on, an SSRI, MAOI ect....I personnaly have been on them for situational reasons and continued to work in a sworn capacity for many years. The drugs improve your life, not make it worse, or DQ you from a job. Do not be ashamed to disclose your prescribed drug use with your BI. It should simply not be a problem unless you tell him that it is a problem. I am sure that like most people who benefit from many of the new antidepressants, it actually makes you BETTER for the job because you are feeling BETTER! You will be more positive and interact better with the public. DO NOT WORRY YOURSELF OVER THIS!!!

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