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  • Applicant With Criminal History

    First off and foremost, I want to state that I have and always have had the utmost respect for officers of the law. I have been exploring the feasibility of becoming a Police Officer despite the fact that I have two drug possession charges on my record - possession of psychedelic mushrooms in 2005, when I was 20 years old, and of marijuana paraphernalia in 2007. All my charges were dismissed after I completed a substantial amount of community service and attended NA meetings, which I continue to attend to this day as part of living a healthy sober life. I realize that this will in most cases disqualify me from serving as a police officer, but I am hoping to get both some solid feedback from LEO's as to whether the suitability of recruits can be judged on a case by case basis. I believe that I am one of those type of past offenders who the justice system has served well, as I have been free of drugs in all ways since 2007, and the only legal infraction I have had since then has been a seat belt violation this past Thanksgiving. To anyone reading this who feels like giving me their honest opinion, should I pursue my desire to become a police officer, or should I look for other ways to contribute to the justice system that has served me so well? Are there civilian jobs within the various police forces that I would be eligible to pursue, or would I also be restricted in that regard? I am a college graduate with a degree in Recreation Management and a minor in Psychology, and I feel that my education coupled with my desire to serve with the LE community could be of good use, even if not in the capacity of being an officer. Thanks for reading, any feedback is much appreciated.

  • #2
    Speaking from my department specifically; there needs to be 10 years between your last drug use/possession; so that would temporarily disqualify you until 10 years has passed. Every department is different when it comes to drug policies, so it depends on the specific department you're interested in applying with. Keep in mind, with the bad economy and thousands of soldiers returning home every week law enforcement jobs are tough to get. As an example, my department had 3 positions open last week, we had 90 people from 4 states come to apply with us. The point I'm trying to get across is; get ready for some tough competition that might have less/no drug use at all.

    Comment


    • #3
      It will be difficult, not impossible. The more time that goes by, the better for you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Jack, the ONLY type of opinion you'll ever get from this forum is an honest one. What follows will quite possibly offend you. Doing that is not my intention, telling you the unvarnished truth is my intention, so let's get started.

        You're toast. That's about as plain as I can make it. Either of your narcotics issues is sufficient to disqualify you. Possession/ or use of psychedelic mushrooms, even one time is an auto DQ with just about ANY law enforcement agency in the nation. Even where there some " tolerance" (and there isn't) 2005 would still be far too recent Add to that the fact that you were an adult at the time(s) you were arrested.

        You seem to have learned little from your first encounter/arrest involving narcotics as you were again arrested in 2007, this time for marijuana paraphenalia . The fact that you did a prescribed period of community service will NOT mitigate the original charge(s). The fact that the charges were subsequently "dismissed" has absolutely NO bearing on your arrests. Background Investigators routinely and typically access records which have been expunged, sealed, amended, set aside, or in which the original charges were dismissed.

        Given the circumstances of your arrest history, it is highly unlikely that a law enforcement agency would hire you in ANY capacity. Non-sworn personnel often have access to sensitive information, or are evidence custodians, and that can and does include narcotics and controlled substances.

        I sincerely commend you for your post arrest efforts in continuing your education, and I suggest you pursue a career in one of the fields you mentioned.

        Comment


        • #5
          I definitely don't anticipate an easy road but like I said, I feel the need to try. I owe the fact that i did not continue down a very destructive path to the actions of police officers. I don't mean that in that in the sense that they arrested me and scared me straight (even though they did). I have had some very meaningful interactions with officers over the course of my dealings with LE. Good men who truly embodied the phrase 'to protect and serve'. If I could be that man to somebody then mine will have been a life well lived.

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          • #6
            I'd take phillipcal's response over mine 100% if the time. A lot of experience and knowledge there. In the end, it's up to you. Go see what your local or dream department says about your arrest/drug history and go from there.

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            • #7
              Have you thought about getting a relevant degree and being a substance abuse counsellor? The 'shrooms are going to be a DQ at most places.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Jack Rutland View Post
                I definitely don't anticipate an easy road but like I said, I feel the need to try. I owe the fact that i did not continue down a very destructive path to the actions of police officers. I don't mean that in that in the sense that they arrested me and scared me straight (even though they did). I have had some very meaningful interactions with officers over the course of my dealings with LE. Good men who truly embodied the phrase 'to protect and serve'. If I could be that man to somebody then mine will have been a life well lived.




                I don't believe you fully understood what I've told you. That said, do what you think you have to.

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                • #9
                  I heard from a guy at a department near my hometown that here was a guy in the application process who had use acid once and that DQed from the PO position. However he was advised to apply to the departments CSO position and got hired...that may be an option of you really want to elp pot in a PD.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My esteemed fellow posters have offered up some very cogent points. I would suggest you re-read them and appreciate the fact that you will likely not ever capture the dream of landing a sworn position given your previous psychedelic drug involvement.

                    Owning to the fact that each state and agency sets its own standards, why not go out and check around to see what the ground truth is. I would add that there is good chance your prior drug history will impact other vocations, particularly those that require adjudication of your background (cleared jobs) when they examine:

                    • Which drugs were used.
                    • Frequency of drug use.
                    • Recency of drug use.
                    • Circumstances of drug use.
                    • Effects of drug use

                    In your case, you used (or we assume used based on the possession charges) psychedelics and marijuana, likely used them more than a few times (beyond experimentation), were at an age where you “should have known better” and such conduct resulted in both arrest and treatment.
                    Originally posted by SSD
                    It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
                    Originally posted by Iowa #1603
                    And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Can you answer 100% on a poly that you have never used psychedelic drugs? Even if that answer is yes, I dont see you being able to get over that. Too much liability if something happens later down the line. Psychedelics never leave your system, and can trigger reactions years later. If you had them, expect to be asked why you had them. Either you were a user or a dealer.

                      If you still believe after this that you have a chance, and I dont down on anybody for asking, call the agencies that you are interested in and talk to their recruiters. I suspect that you will get the same kind of answers from them that you are from here.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Schedule I substances are those that have the following findings:
                        1. The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
                        2. The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
                        3. There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision
                        You wanted solid feedback my friend, you got it. Not much more anyone else can say. You were in possession of a Schedule I narcotic and two years later, in possession of paraphanalia. Putting aside all of the other reasons everyone else has listed, consider this.

                        You would be a defense attorneys dream. You would have to disclose your past to the prosecutor, who in turn would have to inform the defense. 1st drug case of any type you ever work, you'd be destroyed on the stand. Credibility shot. Integrity called into question. Certain to be accusations of evidence tampering. Hell, a DUI case with a first year law student defending would kill you. Your past drug use and arrests will be part of the record in - every case - you would ever be involved with. Forever. Even as civilian support personnel, if you were ever called on to testify in any capacity, your past will come up. You simply are not a good candidate.



                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
                          Jack, the ONLY type of opinion you'll ever get from this forum is an honest one. What follows will quite possibly offend you. Doing that is not my intention, telling you the unvarnished truth is my intention, so let's get started.

                          You're toast. That's about as plain as I can make it. Either of your narcotics issues is sufficient to disqualify you. Possession/ or use of psychedelic mushrooms, even one time is an auto DQ with just about ANY law enforcement agency in the nation. Even where there some " tolerance" (and there isn't) 2005 would still be far too recent Add to that the fact that you were an adult at the time(s) you were arrested.

                          You seem to have learned little from your first encounter/arrest involving narcotics as you were again arrested in 2007, this time for marijuana paraphenalia . The fact that you did a prescribed period of community service will NOT mitigate the original charge(s). The fact that the charges were subsequently "dismissed" has absolutely NO bearing on your arrests. Background Investigators routinely and typically access records which have been expunged, sealed, amended, set aside, or in which the original charges were dismissed.

                          Given the circumstances of your arrest history, it is highly unlikely that a law enforcement agency would hire you in ANY capacity. Non-sworn personnel often have access to sensitive information, or are evidence custodians, and that can and does include narcotics and controlled substances.

                          I sincerely commend you for your post arrest efforts in continuing your education, and I suggest you pursue a career in one of the fields you mentioned.

                          ^that is spot on..
                          sigpic

                          "When a police officer is killed, it's not an agency that loses an officer, it's an entire nation." -Chris Cosgriff, ODMP Founder

                          http://www.odmp.org/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Jack, I agree with the response of these other officers.It will be hard for most agencies to overlook the fact you were in possession and probably used psychedelic mushrooms, and there is a strong possibility that it will be brought up again by defense lawyer. With that being said, if becoming a cop is your passion in life and you feel that you have honestly learned from your mistakes, then it wont hurt to start talking to recruiters and applying. The worst thing they can say is no or provide responses similar to those that have already posted.

                            Now for some slight encouragement. I was in the academy with a guy who used crystal meth several times in 2005. The entire time I was in class with this subject, myself and other recruits judged him and critized the academy for allowing someone who didn't have a chance in this profession to take up the spot of someone who did. After graduating, the majority of us recruits recieved jobs, but him. A year after graduating, he was offered a job by a small local agency after he convinced them that he was what they were looking for in a recruit. Since then, this officer has become officer of the year and is an instructor in DUI and other classes for his agency. I know this sounds as if it could be story line for a new movie and If I had not seen this with my own eyes, I would also be like the other officers and say that you have no chance at all.

                            My point is this, you have a long road ahead and your chances of netting a job is extremly slim, but if your persistant and have the gift of gab, then I reckon anything is possible. Good luck.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jack Rutland View Post
                              I definitely don't anticipate an easy road but like I said, I feel the need to try. I owe the fact that i did not continue down a very destructive path to the actions of police officers. I don't mean that in that in the sense that they arrested me and scared me straight (even though they did). I have had some very meaningful interactions with officers over the course of my dealings with LE. Good men who truly embodied the phrase 'to protect and serve'. If I could be that man to somebody then mine will have been a life well lived.
                              I have often in the past used the Iowa Department of Public Safety as an example for explaining what manylarger agencies use for hiring practices. They have there hiring policies online http://www.dps.state.ia.us/jobs/Mini...ations_T.shtml

                              Read the highlighted points for further explaination

                              GOOD MORAL CHARACTER:

                              An applicant must be of good moral character, which means that he or she can be trusted and is considered by those who know them to be a person of good reputation and good standing in the community.
                              When conduct is of a nature, that, if known, would tend to discredit the applicant as a peace officer, the applicant will not be employed.



                              The character of a person is determined by past behavior. Many factors are relevant in this assessment. The State seeks applicants whose histories show good judgment, maturity, a sense of responsibility, and the respect of others. Several factors will be considered:

                              Conviction or commission of a felony (as defined by Iowa law) will disqualify an applicant.
                              Conviction or commission of an aggravated or serious misdemeanor (as defined by Iowa law) will be evaluated.
                              Conviction of domestic assault, child abuse, or other conviction resulting from domestic or child abuse will disqualify an applicant.
                              A consistent pattern of unexplained failures to meet debt obligations will be evaluated.
                              An applicant who gives false or misleading information to the State at any time during the application process may be grounds for dismissal.
                              History of excessive use of alcohol will be evaluated.
                              Unlawful sale of ANY controlled substance will disqualify an applicant.
                              An applicant who has used any illegal drug while employed in any law enforcement or prosecutorial position, or while employed in a position which carries with it a high level of responsibility or public trust, will be found unsuitable for employment.
                              An applicant who is discovered to have misrepresented his/her drug history in completing the application will be found unsuitable for employment.
                              An applicant who has used any illegal drug (including anabolic steroids after February 27, 1991), other than marijuana, will be found unsuitable for employment.
                              If an applicant has used marijuana within the past two years, he/she will be found unsuitable for employment.


                              To determine whether you are eligible for the State Academy, please answer the following questions:

                              Have you used marijuana at all within the last two years?
                              Have you ever used any other illegal drug (excluding marijuana but including anabolic steroids after February 27, 1991)?

                              Have you ever sold any illegal drug for profit?
                              Have you ever used an illegal drug (including Marijuana) while in a law enforcement or prosecutorial position, or in a position which carries with it a high level of responsibility or public trust?

                              If you answered YES to any of the above four questions, you are immediately disqualified and should NOT apply for a peace officer position with the State.
                              My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                              Comment

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