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What I've learned about applying...

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  • What I've learned about applying...


    I felt like this was the appropriate sub-forum for this post, apologies if it should have gone elsewhere.

    I’m hoping this can help current and future applicants with the process in addition to providing me some insight from those LEO who generously take the time to reply (often times again and again and again) to the same questions.

    I’ve been trying to get into law enforcement now for 3 years. I have almost always made it to the background stage where I have again and again and again received the dreaded letter in the mail.

    My PH (Personal History):

    I have excellent credit, no arrests, no citations other than 3 speeding tickets which I received 2 of when I had first become a licensed driver, over 18 years ago, with my most recent ticket being 4 years ago. No history of alcoholism or mental illness, no liens, no bankruptcies, no divorces; a very clean record.

    I had used marijuana as a teenager more times than I could remember an exact number but as an adult, I have not used marijuana in any capacity within the last 14 years. I have a GED, no college degree (shy of 4 units from AA degree), no military experience and have been self-employed for most of my adult life.

    The things I learned:

    GET A DEGREE.

    In anything! Online or from a local college.

    I was a non-select for not having a degree. My background investigator at this particular agency knew right away that by not having a degree, I didn’t have a chance of moving forward. He took the time however to go over my PHS and helped me perfect it for the next agency I would apply for. We all want to be honest on our PHS but sometimes, we’re too honest. Only mark down YES answers to the questions that you could clearly be arrested or cited for. For example, my sister and I would often times call (annoy) each other on the phone (it’s something we did as brother and sister) and so I listed this as a 'YES, I have made annoying calls to others.' His words of advice: saying yes to harmless things like this will only make the polygraph more intense.

    I had once trespassed for a split second onto private property, I had stated YES on if I had ever trespassed. To this, I did trespass onto the property so I was right by marking YES. I had instagramed a photo I had taken during that split second and so there could be evidence had a complaint been made, that I did break the law. After going through my PHS with this BI, I had a fully updated PHS with many a less NO than YES.

    SHOW AN INTEREST.

    Do a ride along. Sign up for your local Citizen’s Academy.

    The first time I ever had an oral interview, I remember being asked, “What is it you think a daily routine of a deputy would involve?” I can’t believe the BI’s didn’t laugh or even crack a smile when I replied, “keep the peace, write tickets, respond to calls.” THAT’S ALL I KNEW when asked that question. Needless to say, the interview ended fairly shortly after that response.

    Right when I got home, I signed up for the next Citizen’s Academy at my local Sheriff’s Department. It was was the best 12 weeks of my life where I learned about every role within the department. I was able to tour the local jail, air unit, crime lab, juvenile detention facility, learn about special weapons and tactics, internal affairs, multiple detective units, crime analysis, crisis intervention, the local judicial system having presentations by one of our top judges and public defenders, the K-9 unit, bomb squad, etc.

    I could now answer the question, “What is it you think a daily routine of a deputy would involve?” with a follow-up question, “Just a deputy or [insert other specialized role here] because I’d love to talk about what I learned from [insert said role].”

    I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to do ride-alongs with both the Sheriff’s Department and Park Service. The things you learn accompanying a Deputy, Officer or Ranger on a full shift are invaluable. Some of the best times of my life were spent on those ride-alongs. Not because they were full of excitement or adventure but because I was there to learn, I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge.

    HAVE A FULL-TIME JOB.

    I had been self-employed for most of my adult life. I was successful and had clients to prove that I worked hard, never showed up intoxicated, was reliable; but my work afforded me with the ability to work the hours I wanted to work. Police work is very shift oriented: can you work a 9-5 in a non-paramilitary organization because you'll be in for a rude awakening joining us?

    That’s the question I was asked by another BI. It didn’t matter that I had a job or had clients that could verify my work ethics. That specific BI needed to verify that I could work a shift with no problems and with stellar work ethic.

    I’ve since quit my cushy, self-employed job and am now working for a major corporation for much less than half of my old pay just to show that I can work a 9-5 and am indeed a hard worker.

    I know that making sacrifices are part of a LEO career; if doing a menial, minimum wage job will help me to get my desired career, than I’ll be the best at mopping floors and cleaning hazardous waste that my current employer has ever hired. Show commitment!

    BE HONEST.

    This is a given but if you’re like me and have applied to numerous agencies and submitted numerous PHS’, you’re going to be polygraphed. When I first applied for a LEO job, I was naive and thought it’d be easy to get a job (when I had first applied, LE was not a desired career) so I didn’t think clearly about answering everything completely accurately. I never lied or omitted information, I just answered everything to the best of my memory without fact checking first.

    I had previously used marijuana as a teenager and so I put down an arbitrary number to the times I had used. I had no clue how many time I had used. The number I had put down was the number asked on my first polygraph. I still don’t know if I had passed that polygraph or not but I remember thinking and overthinking that number when asked during the polygraph. It definitely got to me. The reasoning for that non-select was that if I couldn’t remember the number of times I had used, how could I be trusted if called to testify.

    I didn’t get my BI saying that to me then (isn’t that what police reports are for and what prosecutor goes to trial with key witness testimony based on memory?) but after contemplating it for a while, it made sense…if you want this job, you need to remember details.

    I had recently taken a polygraph where I was asked the same question in regard to number of times I had used. I had time to really think about how many times I had used marijuana and when I got an almost exact number, I told both my BI and the polygraph examiner. I passed that test with flying colors.

    The polygraph WILL get you. Make sure you really think about the numbers or dates of things that could potentially be disqualifying. This also helps with showing the department that you can remember key events, faces, facts and could be a reliable witness…I learned that the whole process is way more than just an investigation of your moral character.

    STOP OVERTHINKING THINGS.

    I’ve tested with multiple agencies. I’ve scored higher on the PAT and written than other candidates who made it to academy. What did they have that I didn’t? Probably a lot of things; most of which I’ve stated above. I know for fact some candidates that made it whereas I didn’t, even with my baggage, they had more. I’ve seen during testing candidates who are friends or family with those overseeing the testing give higher numbers. Oh well, that’s life. I’ve been told by BI’s that they always tell the reasoning for a non-selection or DQ when they don’t, I’ve been told I’m going to academy when I don’t, I have friends that were told they’d never have a chance at a certain agency when they ended up being the only one selected out of 70+ candidates. Develop thick skin and let the wind carry your troubles, worries and unanswered questions away…..I have, I’m not giving up. A buddy of mine who had been a non-select for a mediocre department and was picked up by one of the top departments in my area told me, it’s all about not giving up—they’re looking to hire those who don’t give up.

    DON’T GIVE UP!

    ———

    That’s my post. Hope this can help those floating around in my boat giving it their all to attain that goal. Good luck to you!!!

  • #2
    Something else employers look for is brevity- the concise and exact use of words in writing.

    I chuckled out loud when you opined that being a good floor mopper will impress hiring officials with your sacrifice and commitment. No sir, they will just think you're a good floor mopper….
    Thousands of people have talent. I might as well congratulate you for having eyes in your head. The one and only thing that counts is: Do you have staying power?

    -Sir Noel Coward

    Comment


    • #3
      Which police department is this? The BI process varies greatly.

      Comment


      • #4
        It sounds like you have shot yourself in the foot on more than one occasion. When the proctor / question asks "have you made annoying / repetitious phone calls?" they are not asking whether or not you and your sister play jokes on each other. You and I both know that.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by VC805 View Post
          I felt like this was the appropriate sub-forum for this post, apologies if it should have gone elsewhere.

          I’m hoping this can help current and future applicants with the process in addition to providing me some insight from those LEO who generously take the time to reply (often times again and again and again) to the same questions.

          I’ve been trying to get into law enforcement now for 3 years. I have almost always made it to the background stage where I have again and again and again received the dreaded letter in the mail.

          My PH (Personal History):

          I have excellent credit, no arrests, no citations other than 3 speeding tickets which I received 2 of when I had first become a licensed driver, over 18 years ago, with my most recent ticket being 4 years ago. No history of alcoholism or mental illness, no liens, no bankruptcies, no divorces; a very clean record.

          I had used marijuana as a teenager more times than I could remember an exact number but as an adult, I have not used marijuana in any capacity within the last 14 years. I have a GED, no college degree (shy of 4 units from AA degree), no military experience and have been self-employed for most of my adult life.

          The things I learned:

          GET A DEGREE.

          In anything! Online or from a local college.

          I was a non-select for not having a degree. My background investigator at this particular agency knew right away that by not having a degree, I didn’t have a chance of moving forward. He took the time however to go over my PHS and helped me perfect it for the next agency I would apply for. We all want to be honest on our PHS but sometimes, we’re too honest. Only mark down YES answers to the questions that you could clearly be arrested or cited for. For example, my sister and I would often times call (annoy) each other on the phone (it’s something we did as brother and sister) and so I listed this as a 'YES, I have made annoying calls to others.' His words of advice: saying yes to harmless things like this will only make the polygraph more intense.

          I had once trespassed for a split second onto private property, I had stated YES on if I had ever trespassed. To this, I did trespass onto the property so I was right by marking YES. I had instagramed a photo I had taken during that split second and so there could be evidence had a complaint been made, that I did break the law. After going through my PHS with this BI, I had a fully updated PHS with many a less NO than YES.

          SHOW AN INTEREST.

          Do a ride along. Sign up for your local Citizen’s Academy.

          The first time I ever had an oral interview, I remember being asked, “What is it you think a daily routine of a deputy would involve?” I can’t believe the BI’s didn’t laugh or even crack a smile when I replied, “keep the peace, write tickets, respond to calls.” THAT’S ALL I KNEW when asked that question. Needless to say, the interview ended fairly shortly after that response.

          Right when I got home, I signed up for the next Citizen’s Academy at my local Sheriff’s Department. It was was the best 12 weeks of my life where I learned about every role within the department. I was able to tour the local jail, air unit, crime lab, juvenile detention facility, learn about special weapons and tactics, internal affairs, multiple detective units, crime analysis, crisis intervention, the local judicial system having presentations by one of our top judges and public defenders, the K-9 unit, bomb squad, etc.

          I could now answer the question, “What is it you think a daily routine of a deputy would involve?” with a follow-up question, “Just a deputy or [insert other specialized role here] because I’d love to talk about what I learned from [insert said role].”

          I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to do ride-alongs with both the Sheriff’s Department and Park Service. The things you learn accompanying a Deputy, Officer or Ranger on a full shift are invaluable. Some of the best times of my life were spent on those ride-alongs. Not because they were full of excitement or adventure but because I was there to learn, I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge.

          HAVE A FULL-TIME JOB.

          I had been self-employed for most of my adult life. I was successful and had clients to prove that I worked hard, never showed up intoxicated, was reliable; but my work afforded me with the ability to work the hours I wanted to work. Police work is very shift oriented: can you work a 9-5 in a non-paramilitary organization because you'll be in for a rude awakening joining us?

          That’s the question I was asked by another BI. It didn’t matter that I had a job or had clients that could verify my work ethics. That specific BI needed to verify that I could work a shift with no problems and with stellar work ethic.

          I’ve since quit my cushy, self-employed job and am now working for a major corporation for much less than half of my old pay just to show that I can work a 9-5 and am indeed a hard worker.

          I know that making sacrifices are part of a LEO career; if doing a menial, minimum wage job will help me to get my desired career, than I’ll be the best at mopping floors and cleaning hazardous waste that my current employer has ever hired. Show commitment!

          BE HONEST.

          This is a given but if you’re like me and have applied to numerous agencies and submitted numerous PHS’, you’re going to be polygraphed. When I first applied for a LEO job, I was naive and thought it’d be easy to get a job (when I had first applied, LE was not a desired career) so I didn’t think clearly about answering everything completely accurately. I never lied or omitted information, I just answered everything to the best of my memory without fact checking first.

          I had previously used marijuana as a teenager and so I put down an arbitrary number to the times I had used. I had no clue how many time I had used. The number I had put down was the number asked on my first polygraph. I still don’t know if I had passed that polygraph or not but I remember thinking and overthinking that number when asked during the polygraph. It definitely got to me. The reasoning for that non-select was that if I couldn’t remember the number of times I had used, how could I be trusted if called to testify.

          I didn’t get my BI saying that to me then (isn’t that what police reports are for and what prosecutor goes to trial with key witness testimony based on memory?) but after contemplating it for a while, it made sense…if you want this job, you need to remember details.

          I had recently taken a polygraph where I was asked the same question in regard to number of times I had used. I had time to really think about how many times I had used marijuana and when I got an almost exact number, I told both my BI and the polygraph examiner. I passed that test with flying colors.

          The polygraph WILL get you. Make sure you really think about the numbers or dates of things that could potentially be disqualifying. This also helps with showing the department that you can remember key events, faces, facts and could be a reliable witness…I learned that the whole process is way more than just an investigation of your moral character.

          STOP OVERTHINKING THINGS.

          I’ve tested with multiple agencies. I’ve scored higher on the PAT and written than other candidates who made it to academy. What did they have that I didn’t? Probably a lot of things; most of which I’ve stated above. I know for fact some candidates that made it whereas I didn’t, even with my baggage, they had more. I’ve seen during testing candidates who are friends or family with those overseeing the testing give higher numbers. Oh well, that’s life. I’ve been told by BI’s that they always tell the reasoning for a non-selection or DQ when they don’t, I’ve been told I’m going to academy when I don’t, I have friends that were told they’d never have a chance at a certain agency when they ended up being the only one selected out of 70+ candidates. Develop thick skin and let the wind carry your troubles, worries and unanswered questions away…..I have, I’m not giving up. A buddy of mine who had been a non-select for a mediocre department and was picked up by one of the top departments in my area told me, it’s all about not giving up—they’re looking to hire those who don’t give up.

          DON’T GIVE UP!

          ———

          That’s my post. Hope this can help those floating around in my boat giving it their all to attain that goal. Good luck to you!!!


          OP, your opinion would hold a lot more weight if you had actually made the necessary changes and gotten hired. However, that's not the case.

          If people followed your suggestions then they would basically just meet the MINIMUM requirements of most (desirable) LE agencies. MOST agencies require AT LEAST an associates degree (or 60 college credits). MANY won't hire anyone without a bachelors degree. SOME agencies only hire candidates with substantial military experience. Having a stable employment history is also a MUST...and working a menial job isn't going to earn you any extra points there.

          If you expect to get hired in a competitive field then you had better be an OUTSTANDING candidate, not just meet minimum requirements. "Really really wanting something" and "not giving up" isn't going to cut it. Not in the real world, and not in this career field.

          Good luck to you, bud. But in my opinion, you've got a heck of a lot more work to do to even have a shot with any but the most desperate of agencies.
          Last edited by not.in.MY.town; 09-16-2018, 01:48 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by not.in.MY.town View Post



            OP, your opinion would hold a lot more weight if you had actually made the necessary changes and gotten hired. However, that's not the case.

            If people followed your suggestions then they would basically just meet the MINIMUM requirements of most (desirable) LE agencies. MOST agencies require AT LEAST an associates degree (or 60 college credits). MANY won't hire anyone without a bachelors degree. SOME agencies only hire candidates with substantial military experience. Having a stable employment history is also a MUST...and working a menial job isn't going to earn you any extra points there.

            If you expect to get hired in a competitive field then you had better be an OUTSTANDING candidate, not just meet minimum requirements. "Really really wanting something" and "not giving up" isn't going to cut it. Not in the real world, and not in this career field.

            Good luck to you, bud. But in my opinion, you've got a heck of a lot more work to do to even have a shot with any but the most desperate of agencies.
            I know it! Couldn't agree with you more on all your points. Thank you for the reply!

            Comment


            • #7
              Very long read. May as well add this valuable piece of advice.

              If you ever even dreamed of smearing peanut butter on your junk , and have a dog or other animal lick it off, keep it to yourself. Almost guaranteed an automatic DQ.
              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.

              Comment


              • HI629
                HI629 commented
                Editing a comment
                It’s been brought up here on at least a couple of occasions on AAC.

                https://forum.officer.com/forum/publ...ed#post6408668
                Last edited by HI629; 09-16-2018, 06:46 PM.

              • RaspiestShrimp
                RaspiestShrimp commented
                Editing a comment
                HI629 that is hilarious, man. I haven't been around this forum long enough to see any of that; but rest assured: my eyes are open!

              • VC805
                VC805 commented
                Editing a comment
                On my first poly, the proctor and I were talking for a while after and he told me that he once say a guy in a car, parked outside, smoking dope. 10 minutes later the guy in the parked car walked in for his poly. Shortest poly exam he ever administered.

              • Sheridan1
                Sheridan1 commented
                Editing a comment
                Can't believe there's so many people who believe in the polygraph to the point they'll mention embarrasing things like that which couldn't possibly be found out.

            • #8
              Originally posted by HI629 View Post
              Very long read. May as well add this valuable piece of advice.

              If you ever even dreamed of smearing peanut butter on your junk , and have a dog or other animal lick it off, keep it to yourself. Almost guaranteed an automatic DQ.
              +1 for that! Also, sex acts in public will get you to! Just saying!

              Comment


              • #9
                tldr? That's a lot there
                UNITED STATES BORDER PATROL
                "90 years of tradition unhindered by progress!"


                honor first

                Comment


                • #10
                  Polygraph is a joke. Lying people pass all the time and truthful people fail all the time. The fact that people think it holds so much weight is a ridiculous.

                  Comment


                  • Levithane
                    Levithane commented
                    Editing a comment
                    It shouldn't take precedent over a background investigation. I've failed a polygraph more than once. I currently have a clearance as well. The thought process behind it isn't necessarily wrong, but the overall method is very flawed.

                • #11
                  You have some decent points here about getting hired. I’m 11 years law enforcement, last seven in narcotics. I got hired really young just after college with the first place I applied. What helped me the most? I worked/interned with the department prior to becoming an officer. A good foot in the door is doing a year or two in a civilian capacity with a LE then you have a good in on your resume. My agency is about 400 employees so I would consider it a medium sized agency. Most medium to large agencies offer various internships or entry level positions.

                  As for the poly? I’ve taken two with success; one st my current employer and one for a fed process I’m in. I don’t care for them but they are expected. My best advice is not to overthink things and answer the question truthfully. Either you did or you didn’t do something.

                  I also have a degree, at least get your two year. That can be done online in no time. I’m far from an expert but I’ve assisted with plenty of hiring boards, hope this helps.

                  Comment

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