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  • Medical concern

    So, I've done some research, including posing the question here a while back about borderline-high blood pressure and getting hired. I've had mild (not real high) BP issues since I was 15 or so (I guess it's hereditary), and I'm currently on meds to keep it within a healthy range. I've been to the doc, done blood work, gotten an EKG, urine test etc. and all came back normal. I've emailed with a doctor that does screenings for a large department in a different state and he said as long as it can be controlled with medication it won't be a DQ. I've also read in a Crim Justice text book, that unless a medical issue directly impacts your ability to perform the job of a police officer, then by law, it can't be used against you. I did 4 years in the Marines and made it past the medical screening without medication (they did have to take my pressure a couple of times, but regardless...). Anyways, my only concern is that, even if I can technically pass a medical screening with the department I'm in the hiring process with, will the hiring board be able to see that I'm on medication and have this issue? Potentially resulting in them DQing me, even if it's not stated that they prefer not to take me for that reason?

    I'd just REALLY hate to make it all the way through, only to be DQ'd at the end of the process under ambiguous circumstances like that. Even more unnerving would be the fact that it might not just happen with one department, but any department I may apply with down the road.

    I understand that this kind of question is probably outside of the realm that most of the officers here can give definitive answers on, but any insight would be great. Thanks for the time.
    Last edited by Ignite; 07-01-2012, 12:55 AM.

  • #2
    There are two issues here.

    First, hypertension is a medical issue that your oral board is not medically qualified to pass judgment over. Unless you bring the matter up, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits them from discussing it with you. Only when you pass the written, oral and physical agility will this be addressed by a doctor when a bona fide offer of employment is made and you go through the medical, psych and background.

    Second, your condition "being under control" means a lot more than taking pills every day. Being under control means how your body reacts to physical and emotional stress and whether it remains within an acceptable range. Even with medication, hypertension can take a terrible toll on people in the law enforcement field. In many states, heart/hypertension injuries are presumed to be work related for police officers and are a major cause of disability retirements. If a pre-existing heart/hypertension injury is made worse by an on the job injury, some states' worker's compensation laws put the current employer on the hook for all future medical bills for that condition. As a result, many are reluctant to hire someone with a pre-existing condition.

    As far as a controlled condition not affecting one's ability to perform the duties of the position, take a look at http://lib.post.ca.gov/Publications/Cardio.pdf It will explain how a controlled condition can very well pose a danger to the officer, his coworkers and the people he is sworn to protect. It will also tell you how applicants with hypertension are evaluated in many agencies. Take it to you doctor and ask him to review it. Then ask him to imagine that he is not your doctor but instead, is the doctor for the police department and is representing their interests and not yours. Then ask him is he would pass you based on the standards shown, knowing what he does about the status your medical condition. That should give you an idea as to where you stand.

    Now that I have fed you all the doom and gloom, also bear in mind that hiring standards will vary from department to department. Larger agencies are probably going to be much stricter while smaller ones may be less selective. By all means give it a try. The worst that can happen is that the department doctor says no.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      I know a TON of cops that take BP medication. You can ask a variety of docs what they consider high BP and they will all give you different answers. I know of a doc that believes the current 120 / 80 is way too high. I know another doc who thinks that 140 / 95 is perfectly fine. You don't provide any of your numbers or what they are with meds. If you take meds and your BP is 120ish / 80ish, with a consistent history of these numbers, I don't think it will present you much of a problem. Best thing to do is contact the governing body of LE for your state and they will let you know.
      Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented immigrant" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist"

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      • #4
        The bottom line is that ANY and ALL medical questions are answered by the Medical Doctor that certifies the candidates for that particular agency.

        ANYONE else is just guesing
        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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        • #5
          Thanks for the responses.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by BigDog4907 View Post
            Best thing to do is contact the governing body of LE for your state and they will let you know.
            I'm not even sure who that would be. How would I go about finding that information?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Ignite View Post
              I'm not even sure who that would be. How would I go about finding that information?
              Try a Google search. That should help you.

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              • #8
                http://www.tn.gov/commerce/let/post/
                My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                  Thank you!

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                  • #10
                    Ignite, know that even if your State's governing LE board says that your BP issue will not preclude you from obtaining your LE certification, it in no way ensures that an individual agency won't DQ you based on it. It only means that the State won't prevent you from becoming a LEO.

                    As previously stated, I wouldn't exactly be bringing this up if the board says your okay. If you make an issue of it, it may be perceived as a bigger issue than it needs to be. If there is a question on the application or anywhere else throughout the process that asks....do you have any medical conditions that would prevent you from performing the duties of a LEO....then I guess you would need to answer as your doc has advised you. If he says there is no reason to be concerned then I would answer "No."
                    Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented immigrant" is like calling a drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BigDog4907 View Post
                      Ignite, know that even if your State's governing LE board says that your BP issue will not preclude you from obtaining your LE certification, it in no way ensures that an individual agency won't DQ you based on it. It only means that the State won't prevent you from becoming a LEO.

                      As previously stated, I wouldn't exactly be bringing this up if the board says your okay. If you make an issue of it, it may be perceived as a bigger issue than it needs to be. If there is a question on the application or anywhere else throughout the process that asks....do you have any medical conditions that would prevent you from performing the duties of a LEO....then I guess you would need to answer as your doc has advised you. If he says there is no reason to be concerned then I would answer "No."
                      Yeah, I wouldn't plan to mention it at all unless asked. I just know that it's going to come up in my medical evaluation phase. They're going to ask if I'm on any medications, etc. No way around it, I'm pretty sure. I am in the hiring process with a department that runs their own academy. So it's not state run.

                      Anyways, at the end of the process (after psych, polygraph, panel interview, medical screening, etc.) a hiring board makes a determination whether they want to hire you if you've passed all portions of the process. I'm wondering if this panel will have a visual of my medical screening, thus giving them the opportunity to see my BP stuff as a potential liability. Or, does a doctor just write off medically qualified/not qualified? I don't know. Obviously I wouldn't expect to be DQ'd with a letter stating "We don't like the fact that your BP is controlled by medication" but I don't have enough faith in the bureaucracy of a department. They can make a DQ decision, but not be clear on their exact reason for doing so (thus getting around any sort of legislation against discrimination). I'm just saying that this COULD happen, but I'm hoping that it doesn't.
                      Last edited by Ignite; 07-02-2012, 01:01 PM.

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                      • #12
                        So I went ahead and did the most logical thing and called the department's health facility about the BP stuff. The lady said that usually it will be fine for BP and they see it often enough, but it will require a waiver noting the condition as pre-existing, and it will probably require the department to acquire my past medical records on the hypertension. She said it will obviously prolong the hiring process a little bit, so that's the down side to that.

                        Oh well, all I can do at this point is keep on trucking and see how it all pans out.

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