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Would my mistake at the age of 16 cost me a career I've wanted since I was a kid?

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  • Would my mistake at the age of 16 cost me a career I've wanted since I was a kid?

    First I'd like to say that I've never committed a crime. I don't do drugs. I follow rules. I am a good student. I'm in college at the moment and I've never gotten in trouble.

    Here's my problem. The ONE stupid mistake I made at 16.

    I screwed up. I was having a big fight with my mother over something and I was overwhelmed with a lot of things. My orientation, school, and a relationship. (My orientation had a HUGE part in the way I felt. It was overwhelming and I just didn't know how to handle being gay unfortunately.) My mother wasn't taking me seriously, and I was stupid enough to cut my upper arm with a knife. It isn't even a quarter of an inch long. And it's a VERY superficial scar. Anyway, I was Baker Acted, but they released me in less than 24 hours from a medical place. Because I WASN'T a harm to myself or anyone else for that matter. I was being a very naive teenager. I didn't want to kill myself, it wasn't near my veins or anything. And I signed a HIPPA form. They said they can't release this information to anyone. Could a police department I apply to see this though?

    I'm in college now, and I don't suffer from depression, I wasn't given any medication or anything either from those people. I went to a psychiatrist for like 2 months and that was it. They found I was fine.

    Would this stupid mistake cost me a career I've wanted ever since I was a kid?

  • #2
    Yes, the police can see it. When you apply for a law enforcement job you will sign a number of releases allowing your background investigator access to your school, employment and medical records, just to name a few.

    FWIW, this is not a background issue but a medical issue. It will come up on the psych screening portion of the medical exam. Whether you will be hired will depend on your mental state at the time of processing, as determined through a psychological evaluation that is administered to all applicants by a licensed psychologist.

    Go here http://www.post.ca.gov/Publications/...quirements.pdf and start reading at Section 9055.

    Next, go here http://lib.post.ca.gov/Publications/...cal-traits.pdf and read what it has to say.

    They should tell you everything you wanted to know about the psych exam.

    While these are California's practices, the standards are fairly universal throughout the US.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      I read what the links had to say. And I'm fine with all of that. It's not like I've ever had problems with anything else. But that period of my life was a difficult one. By the time i'm out of college and able to apply to a department I will be 22. That means 6 years have passed. Do you honestly think that this small incident would affect me that much?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by leo92 View Post
        I read what the links had to say. And I'm fine with all of that. It's not like I've ever had problems with anything else. But that period of my life was a difficult one. By the time i'm out of college and able to apply to a department I will be 22. That means 6 years have passed. Do you honestly think that this small incident would affect me that much?
        If you were going through the process for my department the answer is yes. Something to bare in mind is that while you've been able to internalize this period of your life and come to grips with it, grow from it and move on wards and up wards from it. A background investigator who looks at it from an outside the box point of view will see it as instability. Providing someone with a firearm who suffers from, or at one point suffered from mental and emotional instability isn't good practice.

        For what it's worth though I wouldn't let it stop you from applying. The worst thing you will hear is no from a department. It may also be worth your while to contact Florida's State Training Center (if there is a centralized state training facility) or Florida's Police Standards Commitee or equivalent of, to see if your situation is an auto DQ.
        Sometimes, doing the right thing means p***ing off the bosses.

        "And shepherds we shall be, for thee my lord for thee."

        Originally posted by dontknowwhy
        I still think troopers and deputies who work in the middle of no where with essentially no back up are the 'men among men' of the LEO world.
        Originally posted by weinerdog2000
        as far as your social experiment, if we cant film you then you cant film us, we will arrest you for obstruction of our freedom.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by leo92 View Post
          Do you honestly think that this small incident would affect me that much?
          It will certainly be something worth inquiring about as it could be an indicator of how you handle stress. However again, the deciding factor will depend on whether you are currently free from any emotional or mental condition that might adversely affect your ability to exercise of the powers of a peace officer, and to ensure that you are capable of withstanding the psychological demands of the position you are seeking. Its that simple.

          None of us know you, none of us are shrinks and none of us know your mental state, so none of us can tell you if you will pass of fail the psych, or how much that incident reflects on your overall personality in respect to the desired psychological traits.

          Just roll the dice, apply for the job and see what happens. As long as you didn't have a dog and a jar of peanut butter I wouldn't worry about it that much.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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          • #6
            I agree with the above. Will an attention grabbing stunt when you are 16 DQ you for life? Probably not; it is more important to convey a message of stability to your psych evaluator than anyone else. If your psych eval is good, and you don't have these tendencies anymore, then you should be alright.

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            • #7
              My colleagues have provided you with some very excellent replies. To recap. When you apply, among the documents you sign, will be a release for the Department to access your medical records. As has been noted, the incident you cite is a medical, rather than a Background issue. Be prepared to accept the fact that it could loom rather large in your overall process, as it could have bearing on your ability to handle the stresses which, by nature, are a part of this job. You have nothing to lose by applying. Simply be prepared to discuss/explain this situation in some detail.

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              • #8
                I appreciate all of your answers so much. Hopefully, when I they do the psych eval, they will see that was a VERY stupid period in my life. I was 16 though and I didn't know how to handle things. That's changed immensely and I'm proud to say I can handle stress the correct way now.

                My father himself is police officer and I'd love to follow in his footsteps. He's not close so I haven't seen him in a while and we talk maybe once a week. But the thing I most respect about him is his career.

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