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  • Background Check Questions

    I have three questions. First is what kind of background check are officers given when they're hired? The second pertains to when an officer runs a person's background does it display that individual's background checks or clearance history? My last question is if an officer does run an individuals background without reasonable cause are there repercussions? Thank you in advance.

    edit: Thank you GeekswithGuns for clarifying. I wasn't sure what the correct term was for when an officer does a quick check on someone and what information it would provide to them. I guess the best example would be if some local officer was curious and ran a guy he suspected had secret clearance would it actually let that officer see sensitive non-criminal info?
    Last edited by Hazardsys; 10-21-2009, 06:14 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Hazardsys View Post
    I have three questions. First is what kind of background check are officers given when they're hired? The second pertains to when an officer runs a person's background does it display that individual's background checks or clearance history? My last question is if an officer does run an individuals background without reasonable cause are there repercussions? Thank you in advance.
    1. We run a full background check. Most of it is off your personal history statement... It's not like a Secret or Top Secret Investigation... upon completion you do not receive one of those clearances. (Unless you're applying to a federal law enforcement agency, of course.)

    2. Yes.

    3. I believe that you'll have to sign a waiver stating that the investigator may use any method to conduct the investigation. In other words, there are no limits to what he can or cannot check. Medical and psychological information is generally not needed, however if so there will have to be a court order.

    Failure to disclose all information requested, or falsifying any information is grounds for immediate disqualification. You can also be charged with falsifying an official government report.

    Be upfront.

    -SC
    Education ... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
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    B.S. Business Administration - Texas A&M 1990
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    • #3
      Originally posted by SleepyCop View Post
      1. We run a full background check. Most of it is off your personal history statement... It's not like a Secret or Top Secret Investigation... upon completion you do not receive one of those clearances. (Unless you're applying to a federal law enforcement agency, of course.)

      2. Yes.

      3. I believe that you'll have to sign a waiver stating that the investigator may use any method to conduct the investigation. In other words, there are no limits to what he can or cannot check. Medical and psychological information is generally not needed, however if so there will have to be a court order.

      Failure to disclose all information requested, or falsifying any information is grounds for immediate disqualification. You can also be charged with falsifying an official government report.

      Be upfront.

      -SC
      ^yup^

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Hazardsys View Post
        I have three questions. First is what kind of background check are officers given when they're hired? The second pertains to when an officer runs a person's background does it display that individual's background checks or clearance history? My last question is if an officer does run an individuals background without reasonable cause are there repercussions? Thank you in advance.
        I'll answer your last question first. We DO NOT run Background Investigations "without reasonable cause". Background checks on Officer applicants, to be effective, must be thorough and exhaustive. A properly run Background Investigation can also be a little time consuming. At the end of the day, the citizens who do pay our salaries, are entitled to the best possible candidates we can hire. That's why Police Agencies take Background Investigations very seriously.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Hazardsys View Post
          I have three questions. First is what kind of background check are officers given when they're hired?
          Depends on the agency/organization. Some departments have their own background process, some investigative processes are developed by the state and handed down to the departments. Most of the feds are investigated pursuant to OPM guidelines.. but some agencies (e.g. FBI) do their own. That said, they are all fundamentally the same in that they verify and chronicle EVERYTHING for a whole time span in your life.

          To uphold the security and integrity of the process... no one is going to discuss particular investigative details with you, however, I can say that the process is a thorough one.


          Originally posted by Hazardsys View Post
          The second pertains to when an officer runs a person's background does it display that individual's background checks or clearance history?
          Many people are under the misconception that "running a background" is what they see on TV.. you type someones name in and it gives you all this magical information in one place. Not the case. That information is out there.. but it takes some level of skill and knowledge to compile into one place. We use information provided by the applicant, record checks, field interviews, and a variety of other sources to obtain as much information as possible about an applicant.

          'Clearances' such as Secret/Top Secret/TS-SCI are only adjudicated by federal agencies... local police officers typically do not receive any kind of clearance unless they go on to work in a federal task force (which usually requires they be re-investigated by the federal government).

          Let us differentiate between background investigations and Criminal History Checks. A background investigation is an investigative process that potentials are sent through prior to employment. A Criminal History Check is just a small portion of a background investigation. Running a criminal history may or may not reveal information regarding LE applications (some agencies do store this information in their local databases). When a Criminal History is run it checks your information against records in local, state, and federal databases.

          There really is no yes or no to your second question. A thorough background investigation will usually mean an investigator reviews your applications to other law enforcement agencies, review of any security file/clearance history in your name, and runs a criminal history check in addition to other record checks. In short, I am assuming you are asking "can they see what I told XYZ agency when I apply to ABC agency." Short answer.. YES. Keep your answers honest and consistent.


          Originally posted by Hazardsys View Post
          My last question is if an officer does run an individuals background without reasonable cause are there repercussions? Thank you in advance.
          As others have stated, those who undergo a background investigation consent to it and sign a wavier authorizing the release of information. Some of the information obtained during the process is restricted, some of it is public, and some of it is legally protected. The authorization that applicants sign typically waives their right to privacy in terms of the investigation, making nearly all information accessible to investigators. In the federal background process, there is even a psychological/medical wavier (they do not require a court order)... but it covers a very specific scope of questions regarding the persons medical history.

          For Criminal History Checks (which I think more closely matches what you are asking about here)... departmental policies/law typically require that databases only be accessed for a "lawful criminal justice purpose". There are serious penalties if that information is obtained for a non-criminal justice purpose or disseminated to someone who should not have access. That said, there are a wide range of lawful criminal justice purposes including but not limited to background investigations and criminal investigations.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hazardsys View Post
            I have three questions. First is what kind of background check are officers given when they're hired?
            Most agencies will check (and are probably held to a standard set by their state) to check a criminal background check with state and federal computers. The most notorious is NCIC. I won't go into details but they are all interconnected and if you got arrested in Wisconsin and applied to be a cop in Oregon the arrest would show.

            Things like expungements, sealed records, convictions, arrests, traffic citations, probation, parole, sex offender, warrants, and juvenile records will appear.

            Originally posted by Hazardsys View Post
            The second pertains to when an officer runs a person's background does it display that individual's background checks or clearance history?
            It may not display previous checks to the officer but there is a record kept of when checks were made for audit purposes.

            Originally posted by Hazardsys View Post
            My last question is if an officer does run an individuals background without reasonable cause are there repercussions? Thank you in advance.
            There can be. If it is not in the performance of their duty, a background check for employment, ect there can be some issues.

            The NCIC is not a toy and officers that abuse it can get their privileges taken away to use the system or even be banned from getting any information from the system.

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            • #7
              I don't know whether to waste my time because of my background. In high school I smoked marijuana a few times, I have 5 total tickets while drive but the last of which was 3 years ago. Lastly, when I was 20 I was arrested for an MIP and disorderly but was only convicted of a civil infraction littering ticket. Too make a long story short I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and my best friend's dad was a big-time laywer in the area and took care of mostly everything.

              I'm 24 now, and just finished my 4-year degree last December while lettering all 4 years playing division 1 baseball. I'm willing to admit my immature acts, but just wanted to see if I could get some feedback. Thanks.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Hazardsys View Post
                What kind of background check are officers given when they're hired?
                Backgrounds are very labor intensive and time consuming. How they are done in my state is public record. To get an idea as to what goes into them, take a look at: http://www.post.ca.gov/selection/bim/bi.pdf

                Originally posted by Hazardsys View Post
                When an officer runs a person's background does it display that individual's background checks or clearance history?
                When you apply for a job with a law enforcement agency, you will be fingerprinted as part of the application process. Those fingerprints will be submitted to determine whether you have a criminal history. Whenever you prints are submitted, a notation is made identifying the agency that submitted them along with the date. Instead of a criminal charge being noted in the "charge" column of your print record, the word Applicant will be entered. Every agency that you apply with afterwards that submits your prints will get a copy of your print record, identifying each agency you previously applied with. They will then go to those prior agencies and using the information waiver you sign as part of the background process, get copies of your previous background investigations.

                Originally posted by Hazardsys View Post
                if an officer does run an individuals background without reasonable cause are there repercussions?
                Yes, there can be repercussions. but running an unauthorized background is hard to do.

                First, backgrounds are so time consuming that you can't do an unauthorized investigation without noticeably neglecting your other duties. This will quickly get you in trouble. Next, conducting a background involves collecting confidential information from employers, banks and credit bureaus, etc., who can get sued for releasing that data without an applicant's consent. Unless the officer has an applicant's signed release, they are not going to provide that information to law enforcement. Hence, no unauthorized background.
                Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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