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  • BI - Question : Recent Bankruptcy

    Hi There. Great Forum. Here's my story/question.

    I filed Bankruptcy in 1999. When I did that, I promised that it would never happen again. Fast forward to present. I was in the process of applying for LASD and LAPD. Problem though is that once again my credit is in the pooper. My wife and I voluntarily surrendered both of our vehicles and I have a notice of default on my house. My wife and I have worked in real estate for quite a long time (my wife for 13 years and I have been in real estate for the last 6 years). I was on 100 percent commission and my wife was salaried and would receive a bonus. Needless to say, I am sure everyone on this board knows how bad real estate is right now and for the distant future. People everywhere are losing their jobs, houses, cars, etc. I had to do something that I never wanted to have to do again, and that is file B/K again. I understand that one is supposed to always have 6 months to a year saved in the bank and I did. Problem was though, in order to attempt to keep my house, feed my family (I have 2 little boys) I had to tap this savings and then some. Having to file b/k this second time was the only way I could get out of the massive amount of debt that I had especially with little to no income coming in.

    The reason I am telling my story is because I would like the members of this board to share their thoughts on my chances of becoming a police officer.

    My positives are
    1. Bi-Lingual
    2. (2) Bachelors degrees in Political Science and Criminology
    3. Black Belt in Karate
    4. I went back to school and I am in the process of becoming an EMT and then a Paramedic
    5. Left Real Estate in November 2007 and got a job working in an Emergency Room at a Hospital (believe me when I tell you that every day is a new challenge and the life experience of working in a hospital is unbelievable. I have seen and experienced so much in just these past 4 months).

    Negatives :
    1. 2 Bankruptcy (1999 and 2008)
    2. DUI in 1999

    My application with LASD is on hold right now because my BI said that it was impossible to get hired if you have any collection accounts. I have not told him that I planned on filing a B/K.
    LAPD was a little bit different. I had an initial meeting with I believe a BI. I had an appointment to drop off my Personal History packet. The retired police officers who we met with interviewed each person. The one I interviewed with said everything was fine and then told me to wait in another room. In this room people were called to schedule a polygraph. I was told that I could not schedule a polygraph and that I had to wait for a letter from the city of LA. Well this was back in October of 2007 and I have yet to receive the letter. I just assumed that I was disqualified because they ran my credit at the same time and it showed that I my expensives far outweighed the amount of money coming in.

    I just don't know where I stand but I do know that I absolutely want to become a police officer. I wanted to do it when I was 20 and in college and I want it now (I'm 34). When you file a B/K you have to meet with a trustee and they put you in a room with about 50 people. I saw and heard the stories of different people from different occupations telling the trustee why they are filing b/k. One guy was a cameraman who was a victim of the Writer's strike. But there were two other people at this meeting who were also filing bankruptcies and I promise I am not making this up. There was 2 LA Sheriffs filing for B/K because apparently the county took away their overtime which was something they counted on (in fact one of the sheriffs stated that his overtime actually doubled his income). I sat there in this room and was at a lost of words.
    It's not just me but a lot of people who can be effected by unforseens with their jobs. Was I guilty of being more extravagent because I was making lots of money in Real Estate, yes. But should that prevent me from my dream of becoming a police officer. I don't know. I know if given the opportunity I will make a fine, trustworthy, honest, caring, someone you would want by your side police officer. But I don't know if this can happen. I understand why having good credit is looked at when interviewing candidates. I also understand that having 2 b/k's is frowned upon and believe me I am humiliated by the fact that I have them. But I also know in my heart that I am not someone who can be bribed or would do something unlawful because my finances are difficult. If anything, I am getting clean slate.

    Ok no more ranting on my part, I just did it so anyone who responds to my question/story kind of has an idea about who I am. Thanks again for listening and I appreciate all advice.

  • #2
    The financial history portion of your background considers more than just bankruptcy. To understand the full dynamics, click on

    http://www.post.ca.gov/selection/bim/bi.pdf and then go to page 116. That should give you a better idea of what they look at.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


    • #3
      I'd guess it'll be really hard for a person with 1 bankruptcy declaration to get a position that requires such confidence, let alone 2 declarations. But I'm on the outside looking in, and have no idea what the powers that be use to weigh their decisions. Looking at it in a cynical view, bankruptcy can show potential employers a vulnerability, inept decision-making and a lack of maturity. Maybe if they hear your story they would see it differently. I have no idea. But like you yourself said, most stories involving bankruptcies are similar in that there were probably unforeseen and exceptional circumstances. I hope I'm wrong, because you seem like a good guy, but I think you don't stand too much of a chance to be a LEO. At least not with this most recent bankruptcy you're going to declare. Doesn't your bad financial history reset after 7 years of having a good record? Anyway, best of luck and keep us posted.


      • #4
        Thanks for all of your responses guys. It really means so much to me. I guess I did it mainly because I think sometimes when you are interviewing for a job, etc. sometimes decisions are made so cut and dry ie.. 2 bankruptcies wow this guy has an absolute problem. I know I'm not perfect by any means. But if you look at the whole story, I don't know, I think it makes it a little bit more understandable. I understand that BI's probably have protocols that they need to follow. I just felt (especially with the LAPD) like I was simply a number, saw that I had bad credit and was never given a chance to explain what I was going through. In 1999 when I filed my first B/K, I will completely admit that I was an inmature idiot, I was just out of school and had my first full-time job and thought I had more money then I did.

        But recently, it's hard to change a career when you have been doing it for the last 6 years or in my wife's case 13 years. It came out of nowhere and no one predicted it. I was working as a loan officer for a major bank. We always heard that housing values would come down but never heard that banks were going to go out of business and that loan programs that I would say were 98% of the loans people were asking for in order to buy/refi homes would be gone. The only way I can explain it would be like being a police officer with no tools. A police officer with no mace, taser, gun, car, bullet proof vest, no K9, ohh and by the way you are not going to get paid on a regular basis if you get paid at all. I have watched people who have worked for the same company for 20 years go to work on a Friday morning only to be given their pink slip that Friday afternoon. It's really sad. I was working as a loan officer, my wife is an escrow officer and it is hitting everyone. Realtors, title reps, loan officers, escrow officers, new construction, contractors, and so on and so on. Believe me when I say I am making probably a third of the money now working in the ER then when I was working as a loan officer on 100% commission. But as little as I am making right now, I did it for 2 reasons. one, it helps to have a known amount of money as little as it is coming in every two weeks. But second and most importantly to me, I love to help people while gaining life experience. I am doing this because I think it will make me a better police officer. I know I am not a spring chicken but I'm not dead either. Other then being in the battle field I am willing to bet that as far as candidates coming in front of a BI no one has seen or experience more then I see on any given day. I have had to console parents whose baby was brought in to the ER via ambulance in full arrest. Some live, some die. I have had to deal with victims of battery, rape victims, gang fights, drug overdoses, etc. And you know what I do it. Full time, every shift and then I go home look at my two little boys and my wife and thank god that it wasn't my family.

        Anyways again sorry for my rant but it is who I am. And I feel... in fact I know... I want to become a police officer. It might be a pipe dream but I don't want to give up. I sit their in the hospital and talk to the Paramedics, Firemen, and the police officers when they come into the ER. And with me working on my EMT certification which I will get in June, everyone automatically assumes that you want to be a fire fighter. I get asked all the time. But my response is no, I want to be a police officer. Not that I don't believe that paramedics/firemen are awesome at what they do, but I just don't see myself doing that. In my EMT class, they teach us that we need to be concerned about our safety and that if we came upon an incident which doesn't seem safe that we as paramedics need to leave the situation and wait for the police to declare that it is safe for the paramedic/firemen to start helping. I want to be the first on the scene. It's not in my nature to hide down the street in an ambulance while waiting for the police. I understand why they teach us that in my EMT class, but I would rather be there with a fellow officer making sure that the scene is safe for other personnel to come in and help with the situation. It's just how I see myself.

        Sorry about the ranting again


        • #5

          Any other opinions on this???


          • #6

            Last edited by G-Town Cop; 12-15-2010, 02:54 PM.


            • #7
              Thanks G-Town. I just hope I can get an opportunity to explain myself. I think police work is very black and white. Either it is right or it is wrong. But there are grey areas that I think should be considered.


              • #8
                dcruzer & g-town cop,
                you guys need to put yourselves in the shoes of the hiring officers. it is direct reflection on themselves by who they hire. you guys may not think 2 bankruptcies and a d.u.i. isnt a big deal, but it is. this shows a pattern of poor decisions, no matter what the circumstances. do you think the hiring officer wants to take a chance on this person knowing that it is his head for hiring someone with this pattern? especially if it becomes a situation involving accepting a bribe? the officer's promotional opportunities would probably decreased to zero! i read your post and i may understand your situation, but your still a liability. like you said, you swore you would never declare bankruptcy again, but you did. i am not in the position to judge your decisions on how you got into your mess, but there are plenty of people in the real estate business that did not go bankrupt. this doesnt exactly make you a bad person, but in the grand scheme of things, you are competing against many other people with your qualifications that do not have your problems, especially the lapd/sd. i know this isnt what you want to hear, but there is a time in your life when you have to hang up the spikes and move on. you may have a passion for law enforcement, but you have to face the facts and find something else that you can excel at and enjoy. like someone else posted earlier, in 10 yrs from now, maybe it will be a different story.


                • #9
                  Each department is different. Call your investigator and ask, if you don't have one yet then ask a recruiter. When I asked they told me as long as it is 6 months behind me and I am not in debt anymore then it is ok. As far as 2 bks...I don't know.


                  • #10
                    Military option?

                    Hey dcruzer15 have you considered entering the military as an Officer? Being a professional with a Bachelors degree will give you a leg up on most people. The age limit can be waived in a lot of cases. The pay is pretty good for a mid grade officer and with housing paid for you would not really have too much to worry about financially.
                    You probably have thought about this on some level already, and being a married man the choice is more difficult. But if you haven't thought about it then you may want to consider it. Best of luck to you in all you do!

                    Here is a site with a great amount of military info: http://usmilitary.about.com/

                    - Godspeed
                    "We have nothing to fear but fear itself"


                    • #11

                      Last edited by G-Town Cop; 12-15-2010, 02:54 PM.


                      • #12
                        by the way

                        Last edited by G-Town Cop; 12-15-2010, 02:53 PM.


                        • #13
                          i can tell this debate could go on and on, but ultimately only dcruz.. will know if it is a dq or not. ive been in law enforcement for a long time with a local dept, military leo and now the feds and i can just pass along my experience with backgrounds and the persons that perform them. it may be your opinion that civil matters such as bankruptcies should not be a factor in the hiring process, but i am telling you that they are. i hope the best for dcruz... but i think he will soon find out that i am right.


                          • #14
                            This issue has been discussed extensively in several threads and those who have done backgrounds have repeatedly given the same advice: A bankruptcy alone is not a disqualifier. Instead, applicants are evaluated on their history of financial responsibility as a whole. If someone is having financial problems, you have to look at how the problem came about and how they are responding to it. What are the circumstances? Was this a situation that was beyond the applicant's control? Do they continually live beyond their means? Do they make reasonable efforts to pay their bills or do they simply ignore creditors? What it boils down to is whether their financial conduct is consistent with maturity, dependability, integrity and good judgment, which are required traits for the position of a peace officer.

                            I guess what troubles me is, in spite of the fact that this information has been repeatedly provided in several other threads, some folks plays dumb, pretends they never heard it and continues to rail at the straw man of a bankruptcy DQ. dcruzer15, you are in California and you were pointed to the POST background investigators manual where it specifically states that absent evidence of fraud, the fact that an applicant has filed for bankruptcy cannot be the sole basis for DQ. Nonetheless, you continue to shout, "Woe is me, it's cut and dry, I'm going to get DQed because of my bankruptcy."

                            It's been my experience that when people act this way, there is more to the story than they are telling, so I've got to ask. When you were working, were you living beyond your means? When you saw signs that the money flow was slowing down, did you immediately reduce you spending accordingly? When times got tough, how quickly did you reassess your financial future, get with your creditors and voluntarily return items before they were repossessed? How quickly did you get with your creditors, tell them of your plight and work out reduced payment plans before your bills went to collections? You don't have to answer these questions for me. But, be prepared with the answers when your BI asks them, because in order to pass your background, you are going to have to show that you at least tried to act honorably with your creditors.
                            Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere


                            • #15
                              i'll be honest here.
                              not sure why you wrote your entire story here. it seems like you are hoping some recruiter to read your story and give you a chance or something. that's my impression.
                              realistically, you have no chance getting hired by big city police depts or by FED. since they dont know you they can only go by what you have done.no records is better than bad records and you have bad records.
                              you said you always wanted to become a LE but you got busted for DUI in 1999. c'mon?? i never ever drink more than a cup of beer especially if i have to drive. it's called responsibility.it's very important to abide by rules if you are a LE and you couldn't even follow this simple law.

                              in addition you filed for bankrupcy twice. that really shows poor judgement on your behalf. i'm sure you had your reasons but filling twice after the first one??? who's to say you aint gonna file for the 3rd time??

                              but here's a little hope. if you really want to become a LE and hardcore enough to become a LE, try to apply one of those police depts that have extremely hard time attracting applicants. it can be a town w/ extremely high crimes/very bad neihborhood. i'm sure you can easily find out these LE depts.
                              like you said, if that's what you really want, then you should apply to these LE depts and not just LASD.


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