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Any sage advice?


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  • Any sage advice?

    I’ll try and make this as short as possible and to the point. Similar questions have been asked, but none quite like mine. I’m also posting this in 2 sections, one to get a police point of view, the other to get a local point of view.

    Short version: 9 years ago I was discharged from the Army during basic training for “mental stress syndrome” I can give you a million excuses but essentially I made a bad decision, lied, and told a DS that I was having suicidal thoughts. When I felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously I took a couple of Tylenol, told the DS’ and was sent to the hospital and stayed the night there. I was discharged within 2 weeks. I was discharged under “uncharacterized”. I’ve never tried to have the discharge changed, it was an immature response to a problem and something that I still feel shame about to this day.

    Fast forward 9 years. I’m currently 27, have worked in the medical field for the last 5 years ( little award ceremony in 2 weeks ). I have decent credit, but there are a few small blemishes along the way. I own 2 vehicles, have money in savings and am doing well on that front. I’m in decent shape and have passed every PT test that I’ve taken. I have had no history of psychological care of any sort since my time in the Army. I’ve taken a few basic handgun shooting courses, attended a “citizen’s academy” and have been on more ride-alongs than I can count. I cannot get hired to save my life.

    This morning I got confirmation that I did not meet the hiring standards of the latest, and that could/would not provide any more information than that. This is after passing the written test, the PT test, the BI investigation and the polygraph. My last test was the psych interview and then a final pass-around of my packet. Keep in mind (may not make a difference) this was for a corrections position for a local county, not road deputy. This is the farthest in the process I have been in, and to be frank, this is the first time when I’ve felt really stinking hopeless about the situation.

    This puts me at a grand total of 11 “No’s”. 5 of these have been for “reserve” positions, 2 for corrections, and one for a community service officer. I refuse to stop trying, I’ve wanted to have a badge on my chest since I was a boy. I’m just wondering if anyone has an advice….stories…constructive criticism….anything. Plus I’m venting.

  • #2

    If I had to find one reason for your problem, it would probably be your Army discharge. There may be other reasons as well. I can certainly understand your being reluctant to discuss your past on these forums. Understand, that in applying for a Corrections or jail slot, past problems can come back to haunt you just as quickly as they can for enforcement positions. The decision to continue applying is yours. There seems to be an issue that continually results in your being DQd. Look that in the eye, and see if possibly you can correct it.


    • #3
      Thanks Phil. With the information I've obtained there is no correcting the problem. The friends I have in law enforcement say just to give it some time. My driving record is pretty good, I haven't had a ticket since 03 for expired tabs, last speeding ticket was in 01. I'm going to keep pushing, but I think I'm going to look into a longer-lasting backup plan.


      • #4
        Anything other then an "Honorable Discharge" is usually an auto DQ at 99% of LE agencies. Even if your problem/excuse from 9 yrs ago has gone away, the type of discharge will stick out. Not trying to discourage you. Best of luck.
        "An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded."


        • #5
          No worries, I appreciate honesty. First, let me say that I have been upfront with every agency I have applied to. Normally an email/phone call to someone in charge of recruiting. In the last case I told the reserve commander in the interview and he said that he was glad I was upfront about it, and even though it wasn't a shiny spot, it sounded like I had learned from it and it wasn't a reason to DQ me. I then told the background investigator about it, and she said the same thing. They both passed me onto the next phase of testing. At this point I'm thinking that either the chief or sheriff saw my folder and said, "no" or else I failed the psych interview. I can't imagine that they would give me the go ahead knowing my background and then change their mind later. Of course I have no idea how you fail a psych test. Of course maybe they just wouldn't tell me to my face.

          Sites like these

          Give me hope
          "5. Applicants must not have any of the disqualifying items listed below on their record:
          • Conviction of any offense above the grade of Class B misdemeanor, or other crime involving moral turpitude.
          • Any discharge from the United States Armed Forces other than Honorable. (Uncharacterized and Entry-Level discharges may be accepted and will be assessed on an individual basis)."

          So yeah, I'm running on a longshot, and really playing against the odds. My chances are 0% if I don't try though. So I continue to apply, call/email who I can so that I'm not wasting any departments time, and try and keep the rest of my life clean.

          Right now I'm wondering if I can reapply with the agency that just said that I don't meet their qualifications. Think I should call?


          • #6
            i'm guessing the psych didn't pass you.. i'm sure you had a long discussion with him about the suicide issue? it's a huge issue within LE because you'll be dealing with a lot of stress and they give you a gun. i mean you didn't just think about suicide, you actually sort of carried out the act by taking the pills.


            • #7
              As it turns out...

              officially it wasn't the psych. I did talk with the psychologist about taking the pills, it wasn't a long conversation but I told him what I had done and he waived it off as a silly teenage thing to do. He asked what my psych history has been like since then and I explained there was none.

              I got the letter in the mail from the civil service commission and gave the contact person a call basically to ask if I could get any information on how I failed, what portion, and if I could apply again within a certain time period. She said that I failed the BI. Apparently in my BI I was found to be deceptive and too much criminal conduct as an adult. Now I know that I told them everything that I could possibly think of. I was completely honest, and was quite forward. Quite a few things I mentioned were laughed off by the BI and poly examiner as being "way too small" to matter.

              When I told the examiner that I didn't understand how that would be she suggested I appeal the decision. Has anyone done this? I don't really want to rock the boat (I'm hoping to reapply) but I cannot think of a single thing that I would have been deceptive about. I also know I had a few small things that I had done criminally as an adult, but all of them were incredibly minor, and all happend 6 to 8 years ago (27 now). Anyone have experience with appeals process in this instance?

              Thanks again


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