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Possible background issues? Need advice!

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  • Possible background issues? Need advice!

    OK, here goes.. I am a 24 year old male from NJ. I've wanted to become a police officer since I was very young. However, I had a rough couple of years when I was a little bit younger and now I think I'm going to have a problem getting on the job.

    Here is my first problem. Right after I turned 18, I was arrested for DUI. It was just a really stupid mistake that I made being young and thinking I could get away with it, so I paid my fines and went to the classes and the whole bit. I took it very seriously, and nothing like that has ever happened again.

    I was an average student in high school, B's and C's mostly. September 11th happened in the 2nd week of my Junior year of high school. Caught up in the post 9/11 times, I dropped out of high school, quickly obtained my GED, and joined the Army.

    While I was in basic training, my Father had a massive heart attack. By the time I returned home, it was evident that since my father couldn't work anymore, my family would probably lose our house. My brother was still in high school and my Mother wasn't making much money.. I made a bad decision and didn't report to my AIT training, a few days later I contacted someone and told them my situation and they told me if I didn't report I would be separated for not reporting to phase 2 of training. It was an administrative discharge, and I went to work with a friends company working 18 hours a day 6 or 7 days a week (very very good money) to make enough to pay the mortgage and property taxes and everything that was starting to slip into debt for my family.

    Now, things are very stable. Everyone in the family is healthy, and I'd like to do what I can to get back on track and get into the LE field.

    The 3 problems that I see holding me up are the DWI arrest, the GED, and the administrative discharge. I am very close to getting my associates degree in Psychology, currently carrying a 3.9 GPA. I hope that can show LE agencies that I am serious about academics and maybe negate the GED factor a little bit. As far as the discharge from the military, I know that can look pretty bad.. So I've spoken with several recruiters, and the best course of action here I believe is joining the Marine Corps, but this time I'll go for the reserves. If I do that, I figure LE agencies won't just see me as someone who "quit" (even though i was doing so well in the service and just couldn't let my family lose the house), but as someone who had a setback and wants to complete the goal he first set out to do (serve our country in a time of war). As far as the arrest goes, there really isn't anything I can do about that I don't think except stay out of trouble.. I've never been arrested before that or since, I don't have any other moving violations or anything like that.

    I live in northern new jersey, I took the civil service police test back in
    june and scored in the upper 80's.. I'm waiting for certification to come in so I can begin the process, but since i don't have the degree yet and I haven't joined the Marines yet I am not counting on them viewing me as a very good candidate.. I think taking the test was good experience and when it comes out again in 2 years I'll be very well prepared..

    In addition to testing experience I am in terrific shape, better shape than anyone I think i've ever known actually. I've been taking Spanish lessons at my local learning annex and I have a good computer program that is supposed to help you learn it fluently, I know that is in demand in alot of places.. I know I would be a good police officer, but I just have a feeling that these background issues are going to cause a problem for me. I am a good person and anyone that a background investigator would talk to would tell them the same thing, and I am very sincere in wanting to be apart of the LE community. I just don't want to see a few misguided steps and foolish mistakes ruin my chances of having a great LE job in the future.

    Can anyone here give me any advice on how to make myself a better candidate considering the things that exist in my past? I would appreciate any help on here, through email or private messages. Thanks for any help you can provide, I won't forget it!

  • #2
    I don't think your chances are that bad. The dui has 6 years between now, and I think the discharge will be your hardest to overcome. If what you say is true, I think you have showed you have a lot of heart and courage, but be ready to prove that your Dad was in fact sick, and you had no other options. If they see it as you just changed your mind, and no longer wanted the commitment of the military, it will not reflect well. This is all just my opinion.

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    • #3
      I imagine same goes for you guys as it does here but we are required to have a pardon for past crimes before being eligible for employement. Even if that isn't a req for you, if the option is there it may not be a bad idea to get it.

      Wouldn't worry much about the other stuff providing you can back it.

      Yes, going for a degree does show committment for further education and will help negate the GED. One tip though, as good as it is for you to work this hard, don't do it just based on what other depts are going to think. Do things you want to do to improve you. The last message you are going to want to get across was that you were only doing it to make it look good, if you catch my drift.

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      • #4
        If you do wind up joining the Corps that could go a long way to resolve your earlier military discharge. You may try writing your Congressman about your discharge situation and see if he/she can't make something happen for you. Believe it or not they will actually (on occassion) take action to help individuals in their district.
        Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

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        • #5
          Yeah, like everyone said, the discharge is your major hurdle. Most places require an honorable discharge and anything else is frowned upon. Find out your best way to resolve that, and get on it.

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          • #6
            I'd go ahead and apply. Fully disclose the DUI, and the Admin Discharge. I'm assuming you've been honest with the Marine Corps Recruiter concerning your previous discharge. If the Corps accepts you DO NOT drop out of Boot Camp, attend all your unit drills, musters, and training. You may decide to stay in the Marine Corps Reserve and thus, have two careers. I like Chief Wiggum's advice concerning writing your Congressman concerning the Army discharge. Every once in awhile those guys actually do something for their constituants. Go for it!!

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            • #7
              The GED is not a big deal. It is recognized by most department as an equivalent to HS diploma.

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