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  • Please Give Some Advice

    Hello sworn members:

    My name is Kevin, I am nearing my 25th birthday, and I have basically lived my life with the full intentions to attain a career in law enforcement. Since 13, I joined my local law enforcement explorer post to get an education and progressed through the ranks and stayed until the age of 20. I have held for the most part a very positive and successful life with a few bumps in the road, and a few unfortunate events and losses. I'm interested in becoming a police officer, and I'm hoping to get some input and advice right now. Here are my concerns:

    1) I recently filed bankruptcy with my wife to clear up a lot of past debts, mostly medical debts and other bad spending decisions from youth. Currently, I live comfortably and all bills are paid. I also did it to clear a vehicle surrender(repo) I could no longer afford when I lost a job previously. After speaking with a financial professional, long term I was told without a bankruptcy long term lasting impacts to my credit will be extremely bad and make it difficult to secure any loans, mortgage, etc. Does it reflect negatively? Sure, definitley some irresponsibility but I have taken financial classes and have been stable financially since. Desipte the financial irresponsibility, I have worked a job which I was entrusted to handle money and had never had a problem.

    2) I was terminated/released from a security job at a college during probation. I was in the hiring process to be a state Judicial Marshal and due to budget constraints for the state I was advised by administrator not to tell my current job I was leaving to be a Marshal because they thought the governor was going to cut the process. The judicial marshals conducted a background, and the university confronted me about it and told me rudely, "you trying to leave us?". I was honest and told them what happened with the Marshals and that I didn't know if I would be hired or not due to the budget and several weeks later I was let go for three issues put on paper that were never brought up or discussed with me. A traffic stop on a swerving vehicle which they claimed I changed my mind on whether the operator was drunk or not. Who knew thats why I stopped her lol. They put an incident where I radioed a vehicle that almost struck a pedestrian. I called in the vehicle description and license plate which matched and attempted to follow the vehicle but it left campus property. Because the person never filed a complaint, they said the incident must've never happened, and said I made up the situation(ridiculous). Lastly, I approached a supervisor for a cruiser during a foot beat on one of the coldest winter days when the head broke on the officer stations. He began to swear at me. It was placed in that I was rude to a supervisor. Clearly poorly placed, nonsensical excuses to get rid of me. Department of Labor awarded me my dispute. One termination amongst years of successful work history.
    3) My sister died from cancer in 2006, and following her death I was temporarily treated with an antidepressant for several months then taken off of them. I was employed at a police department as a dispatcher during this time period with no problems. Most recently, my father died from kidney failure this passed September. Following that I have been one again placed on anxiety and depression meds temporarily to help get through the aftermath, which it has been helping. I took an MMPI II Psychology test which is administered by a lot of departments during hiring process and was told my results were normal.

    Those are what I am concerned about. Here are my good things:
    1) Great high school record/academics
    2) Never used drugs
    3) No criminal record
    4) Clean driving record
    5) 8 years as police explorer-achieved Captain rank
    6) 4 years in security, 2 as supervisor
    7) Police chief's commendation for apprehending a robbery suspect while employed at city mall in security
    8) Employed at sworn local and state police agency as dispatcher-received certificates for excellent performance
    9) Multiple certifications in self defense, pepper spray, pr-24 expandable baton, managing aggressive behavior etc.
    10) Clean cut, polite, respectful.

    So please, sworns, tell me what you think I need in order to become successful. I appreciate the feedback.

  • #2
    Your recent bankruptcy will be a problem, as will your current use of meds for anxiety and/or depression. I wouldn't worry about the security job termination, especially since the DoL ruled in your favor.


    • #3

      Thanks for your reply. I probably need some time of financial steadiness as well as discontinuation of the medication to show also that there's no longer any concerns to a department of mental stability. Its funny though, working security at a mall in a large city I was exposed to gang fights, stabbings, finding drug users, assaults, motor vehicle accidents, etc. This was also after the loss of my sister and while using temporary meds. Never had a problem while on that job yet I know carrying a gun and being a sworn LEO is a much different ball game then being a security guard even in one of the worst of areas. Just hope I'm not permanently deemed ineligible to be police officer because of those reasons. I've always been able to handle stressful events just was very tough to endure loss of family members as it may be for anyone. What would you recommend I do from here? I'm working a full time job steadily, paying all bills on time, and also in the process of weeding off of medications as my doctor feels I have recovered. He also stated to me that primarily he issued them to me to help me battle GERD and acid reflux that seemed to be exascerbated following my losses. Unfortunately again though, I don't know that it would be a viable reason a department would accept. I was plannning on getting an online degree in CJ. In two years I would then be eligible to apply to NYPD and I know perso ally of people who have gotten hired with current credit problems and also were placed on psyche review to determine mental stability. My doc told me since I passed the psychological and its in my medical records and that he deemed me a completely healthy individual he didn't think it would be a huge deal then again he's a doc not police background investigator.


      • #4
        Your problem managing finances will be a bump in the road for a while.

        Note I did not say your bankruptcy............. What departments look for is the underlying cause of the money problems----such as poor spending habits.
        Learning from your past is what is necessary.................................It will probably take a few yrs of being very conservative for a department to seriously consider you.........

        The security gig............................................... ....another bump. I view it a bit more serious than just joe does..................but that is my opinion. It will create a red flag that will need to be investigated.

        I know of several situations that the DOL (or actually our equivalent) ruled against my department where the actual firing was upheld in court after the DOL decided we had to pay unemployment.........two different standards.

        You will find that if an employer wants to get rid of you ------------------they will find a way. A background investigator has a pretty good BS meter and can normally figure out the truth of the matter
        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


        • #5
          I disagree with Just Joe reference the medication. I know far too many LEO on maintenance medications for a variety of reasons. The financial issues are the biggest issue you have, IMHO.

          I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.


          • #6
            It will certainly be dept specific, but the question is whether those officers started their careers on meds or where prescribed them after already being on the job. I see it being at issue at some depts, others, not so much.


            • #7
              I'm a little unclear as to whether or not you were a sworn University Police Officer, or a campus security guard. Not to demean the latter, but I question whether or not a security guard has the authority to pursue DUI subjects/make arrests. Merely curious. In your Personal History Statement or similar document, the termination from the university will need to be disclosed and fully explained. Probably not a killer. What I see as your potential problem area is your finances. As has been noted, poor spending habits, lack of financial discipline, could still be a roadblock for you. What is going to be critically important for you, is how you're handling your debts and obligations the time you apply. If your financial house is in order, and has been, for say, several years, that goes a long way to mitigating your past errors in judgment.Hope things work out for you.


              • #8
                Have you applied for any police officer positions in the past? If you did, what happened with those?

                If you're just starting to apply now, go for it man. You'll never know if you don't go for it. I had things in my past that I was worried about, but hey, nobody is perfect. The most important thing, BE HONEST! Don't hide or downplay anything. Put it out there on your personal history packet and don't leave anything out. Hiding something or "forgetting" to put something only makes it look worse.

                Im the same age and have been employed for almost 2 1/2 years now. The biggest challenge I ran into when trying to get hired was my lack of "life experience." Sounds like you've been through a lot in your life, a lot of good and a lot of tough stuff. Use that for your benefit and figure out how to make your life experience into something that can make you stronger as a police officer. When you can use your experiences and tell an oral board about them and how they'll make you a great officer, you'll be set.
                Negative Ghostrider, the pattern is full.


                • #9
                  Continue your education. Learn a second language. Be hyper-responsible financially from here on. Do something community oriented......volunteer work etc. Consider joining the Masons, Shriner's etc.--great way to network. As others have stated, the bankruptcy will be an issue for a little while. Best of luck to you.
                  Judge me by the enemies I have made----Unknown


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