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Does a department have to show cause for taking you off the list?

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  • Does a department have to show cause for taking you off the list?

    I just got a letter from a local department from which I was number 1 out of 84 on their list. I am also number 1 on another smaller department. These are located in Western Washington.

    For this particular department, I did the written test, the physical test, and the oral boards. Combined with my Veteran's points, my end score was 97.29 and number 1. I did my initial background interview, and finished up with my polygraph (and the detective told me I passed). The detective said for this next process, my paperwork goes in front of the Chief.

    The letter I received was signed by the Chief stating that I didn't meet the standards of the department.

    For which, I'm a bit confused. I've been a MP in the Air Force for two years AD and 3 1/2 in the Air National Guard, I finished my BA in June, and I thought I was a pretty competitive candidate.

    There are a couple of things that might have caused my eligibility to go down (although they shouldn't have). First off, I made sure to be completely honest with them in regards to where I stand with the application process with other departments, so that they knew which phase I was in, etc. I told them however, that I wasn't ready to exactly know which department I would go with if given a choice (which in retrospect, was a stupid decision, sorry for being honest...) and that I wished to go on a ride a long with each to help with my decision.

    Second, our unit has a potential activation coming up, which I told them that my commander understands the importance of my personal development and career and would excuse me if the two would conflict.

    And lastly, I had the pre-background first before the polygraph, and the day of the polygraph, I recalled a few things (like killing a cricket when I was 6, etc) that I hadn't thought of previously with the dect. The one thing that I can think of is that I didn't know that with debt, they wanted me to write my wife and I's debt, not just mine. I told the polygraph examiner that I didn't know that with the background detective, and she said that it didn't matter.

    I've had no felonies, no problems with deviancy, never done drugs, I just don't understand. This department is hiring seven people right now, and potentially 25 in this upcoming year.

    The question I have (finally, sorry, I'm ranting a bit) is when taken off a list, do I have the right to know why they took me off the list so that I can avoid the same potential problem?

  • #2
    Originally posted by paradox1 View Post
    I just got a letter from a local department from which I was number 1 out of 84 on their list. I am also number 1 on another smaller department. These are located in Western Washington.

    ....... SNIPPED FOR BREVITY .......

    The question I have (finally, sorry, I'm ranting a bit) is when taken off a list, do I have the right to know why they took me off the list so that I can avoid the same potential problem?

    Hi Paradox,

    There is no rule or law that requires a department to tell you why your were DQ'd from the process. You can ask nicely of the Human Resources or whoever is in charge of hiring why you were DQ'd, but they are not mandated to tell you. Have you asked yet?

    With what you thought Florida??
    Police Academy Commander
    Lead Firearms Instructor
    35+ years as a cop
    Becoming a Police Officer
    So you think you can do this job?


    I accept all private messages requesting help or advice, why else bother to be here?

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    • #3
      Just from reading your post, sounds like the Debt was an issue. Maybe? I don't know. Like Cmdr Wagoner said, ask.
      Discombobulatory Accountable Volunteerism.

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      • #4
        When it comes to the west coast, I have to disagree with Chris a bit.

        While the department may not tell you why you were DQed, most west coast departments are civil service and offer an avenue of appeal from DQ before whatever agency in that city oversees civil service. That regulatory agency will be separate from the police department.

        This usually involves you retaining an attorney who files an appeal with the civil service agency. At the appeals hearing, the department has to make its case as to why you were DQed and you get a chance to rebut their claims. In making their case, the PD has to show that there was something about you that failed to meet valid, existing job related standards for the position (i.e., it can't be something they just made up off the top of their head like, "I just didn't think he would make a good fit."). Seeing as you scored so high on the list, it's got to be something in the background, psych, medical or they discovered that somehow you lack one of the minimum qualifications for the job (age, education, citizenship, drivers license, residency, etc.).

        In California, the public records act and case law gives you access to most (but not all) of your background package, even if you are DQed. Your state may have similar laws as well, so it may be worth looking into.
        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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        • #5
          Originally posted by L-1 View Post
          When it comes to the west coast, I have to disagree with Chris a bit.

          While the department may not tell you why you were DQed, most west coast departments are civil service and offer an avenue of appeal from DQ before whatever agency in that city oversees civil service. That regulatory agency will be separate from the police department.

          This usually involves you retaining an attorney who files an appeal with the civil service agency. At the appeals hearing, the department has to make its case as to why you were DQed and you get a chance to rebut their claims. In making their case, the PD has to show that there was something about you that failed to meet valid, existing job related standards for the position (i.e., it can't be something they just made up off the top of their head like, "I just didn't think he would make a good fit."). Seeing as you scored so high on the list, it's got to be something in the background, psych, medical or they discovered that somehow you lack one of the minimum qualifications for the job (age, education, citizenship, drivers license, residency, etc.).

          In California, the public records act and case law gives you access to most (but not all) of your background package, even if you are DQed. Your state may have similar laws as well, so it may be worth looking into.
          Your not disagreeing, your just giving him the "West Coast" answer. And of course they do everything different on the west coast..

          Thats a lot of trouble to find out why, and then it will not change anything. What department will hire you , then give you a fair shot to get through probation and working conditions after you go through all that?

          Advice, ask them directly, if you think its worth it, make an appointment to talk directly to the chief. Other than that, learn from it, adjust accordingly, and try other departments..
          Police Academy Commander
          Lead Firearms Instructor
          35+ years as a cop
          Becoming a Police Officer
          So you think you can do this job?


          I accept all private messages requesting help or advice, why else bother to be here?

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          • #6
            It sounds like they wanted to hire the next guy on the list. Departments will DQ someone just to get to another person down on the list. It happens all the time.

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            • #7
              You've recieved excellent replies thus far. I can only offer some speculation,(nice word for guess) as to what influenced the Chief's decision in your case. That was your indecivness when it came to the question of which agency you'd chose,given a choice. Should the department offer an appeal from the Chief's decision, that's an avenue you can consider. Otherwise, don't let this be your last application. Keep trying. Your test scores are impressive, and if they're indicative of how you perform on exams, you're going to be a fit somewhere.

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              • #8
                Thank you all so much for the encouragement. I will keep trying and will be hired. Good luck to you all and stay safe.

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                • #9
                  pm me paradox
                  " I DON'T WANT A LARGE FARVA!"

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                  • #10
                    hey man, i just want to add in my .02

                    I was an applicant with Seattle PD and I did very, very well on all of the tests while I was out there (im from CO). I was ranked very high on the list and was expecting to be offered a position. Instead I received the thanks, but no thanks letter. I have no idea why either, but hey, if you're not the type of person they want, well I guess there isn't much you can do.

                    It all depends on if you fit in with the department or not. You'll find your place soon enough, you sound like you're definitely qualified. Keep plugging away man, don't give up.

                    I was denied at least 5 times before I got hired. Now I'm in my second week at the police academy.
                    Negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full.

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                    • #11
                      Please let me preface this with I have done 20 years in the military...

                      I may be completely off the mark here, but since nobody else has mentioned it, I will.

                      It might be the issue of you having to deploy soon. I don't know what the rank of your Commander is, but unless he has at least 3 Stars he may not have the ability to let you stay home to further your personal career. (I don't mean that in any disrespectful way to either of you) But why should you get to stay home and everyone else has to go? A serious morale buster.

                      If you did get hired by this department, and then sent off "to the sandbox" for a year, I believe BY LAW they would have to hold your spot. They could not hire another person to fill it. So now, not only does this department invest money into your training, but you are gone for a year and easily could be gone for an additional 6 months with little or no notice.

                      I'm not saying that any department would purposely not hire a person with Reserve Military obligations, but you know as well I do that every dollar must count these days, and if they have to invest money into a new officer that may not be there... and again, a slot that can not be filled... that may have been all it took to pass on you.

                      By the way, thanks for your service.

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