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Entering LE Academy this fall...Some Concerns

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  • Entering LE Academy this fall...Some Concerns

    Hello,

    As the title of my post states, I am entering the Academy at my training school this fall. (I do apologize for the book long post you are about to read.) I am a non-traditional student; I'm 27, but I have approximately 4 years accumulated of public safety and private security experience (Not that this is entirely relevant, but I want to make clear that it's not my intention on entering the Academy on a "whim". LE has been my dream for about 20 years). I started the 2 year LE program at this school in 2004-2005, but didn't finish. Looking back at it now, in my eyes I wasn't mature enough at the time and failed out of my classes, including core LE classes. Of course I am absolutely kicking myself now for not finishing right then, but I keep telling myself that it's for the best; I'm much more mature now and have had many life experiences that I wouldn't trade for rushing myself into a LE position.

    Unfortunately in late 2006 I got myself caught up in a debacle that has had countless negative affects on my career and personal life. It came in the form of a "county retail theft" charge for when I was employed at a retail store. I've put that in the past since it happened. I've acknowledged that at the time I wasn't really heading in the direction that I wanted to with my life. I met my girlfriend in July of that year, and am still with her. In short, she's taught me to grow up. She's helped me realize who I am and who I have the potential to be. We moved to Milwaukee, WI together in 2008 for about 3.5 years. In Milwaukee, I applied to MPD and was turned away at the end of the recruitment process. I continued work in security and public safety. It was these times that allowed me to make some great LE contacts in the security field. By the time I moved back "home", I had worked for, and gotten to know 3 great individuals in the LE field; a former police Chief, a former Lieutenant, and a current Chief (at the time).

    Last fall was my first semester back to my old LE school. Since I've come back last fall, I've never gotten below a "B" in any class and I'm proud of it. I'm taking 2 summer classes now to get me to the required number of credits to enter the LE Academy in August. What I would want everybody (including prospective agencies) to know is that in my eyes I do NOT have a criminal record, even though I have always been forthcoming with the information about what I did, and unfortunately I DO have a criminal record, even though it was a "one-time thing" and an ordinance violation at that. I have since did a 180 with my life, and I consider myself a future police officer entering the Academy very soon.

    To anybody that actually read my entire life story: do you believe the theft charge will affect my getting into the Academy, or future prospective employers? Will anybody see that I've changed my life? It seems that if somebody has a "theft" conviction on their record, it always amounts to more, but that's not the case for me.

    Thank you for reading and for your opinions. I wouldn't have shared any of this info if I didn't feel it was relevant.

  • #2
    after speed reading that, you answered your own question. look at any job announcement and you will see " And no criminal convictions" or other similar wording. hate to say it but
    in my eyes I do NOT have a criminal record,
    doesn't matter what you think, it only matters to the department period. you stated the fact
    unfortunately I DO have a criminal record
    . sorry to say that you are entering a time in law enforcement where departments can and will be picky on who they hire because right now they can be. its not like it was about 5 years ago when there was mass hiring. again sorry but you should save your time and money and not sponsor yourself into an academy with the hopes of getting hired.

    Sorry to be honest and blunt but it is what it is.
    I'd rather be judged by 12 rather carried by 6.

    It should be noted that any and all post that are made are based on my own thought and opinions. And are not related or implied to represent the department I work for.

    Comment


    • #3
      moparfan,

      I appreciate your opinions. I apologize for such long posts. I appreciate people taking the time to read. I think it is a little unreasonable to expect that every police officer today has a perfect record in the past prior to them starting their careers. It is in my opinion a little unreasonable to expect civilians applying for LE positions to not have gone through any rough patches in their lives. To a certain extent of course. I can clearly see the negatives of having somebody apply to a job with "THEFT" on their record; I've lived with it. But I am not one of the people that have multiple offenses, multiple thefts, a domestic, disorderly, etc. This was a freak incident which happened in my life nearly 6 years ago. Ever since, I've been working hard to better everything about me and my record. No traffic offenses. Nothing except that one violation. I know officers have gotten hired after the background check reveals they experimented with drugs. How can you come to conclusions that a person's character who experimented with drugs is any better than a person with a ordinance theft violation? All I've ever heard is that PDs prefer people with "life experiences". Again, to a certain extent. I had a "life experience" and I've clearly learned from it. I hate to admit to anybody that this happened to me, but at least I am forthcoming about it like I said instead of hiding it. This may not have much weight in this conversation, but I did pass a federal background check for DHS (TSA). The only reason I am not a TSA officer now is because I finally realized it wasn't for me and dropped from the recruitment process.

      This comes from a job posting for one of the PDs in my area:

      "...High school diploma; 60 college credits; Ability to possess a firearm; No felony convictions; No domestic abuse convictions; Vision correctable to 20/20; Good verbal and written communication skills;..."

      I'm not saying what you said about "no criminal convictions" isn't true. Some areas that's the case. I'm not even saying that they won't strongly consider it in their hiring of me, maybe even not hire me because of it. All I'm thinking is at least I have a chance. I don't think truly good people such as myself with one minor flaw on their record should be written off so quickly based on just an ordinance violation.

      From the court:

      "County Retail Theft. This is not a criminal offense and results only in a money penalty for this offense."

      Again, thanks for reading and for your thoughts

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by pierce_1 View Post
        moparfan,

        I appreciate your opinions. I apologize for such long posts. I appreciate people taking the time to read. I think it is a little unreasonable to expect that every police officer today has a perfect record in the past prior to them starting their careers. It is in my opinion a little unreasonable to expect civilians applying for LE positions to not have gone through any rough patches in their lives. To a certain extent of course. I can clearly see the negatives of having somebody apply to a job with "THEFT" on their record; I've lived with it. But I am not one of the people that have multiple offenses, multiple thefts, a domestic, disorderly, etc. This was a freak incident which happened in my life nearly 6 years ago. Ever since, I've been working hard to better everything about me and my record. No traffic offenses. Nothing except that one violation. I know officers have gotten hired after the background check reveals they experimented with drugs. How can you come to conclusions that a person's character who experimented with drugs is any better than a person with a ordinance theft violation? All I've ever heard is that PDs prefer people with "life experiences". Again, to a certain extent. I had a "life experience" and I've clearly learned from it. I hate to admit to anybody that this happened to me, but at least I am forthcoming about it like I said instead of hiding it. This may not have much weight in this conversation, but I did pass a federal background check for DHS (TSA). The only reason I am not a TSA officer now is because I finally realized it wasn't for me and dropped from the recruitment process.

        This comes from a job posting for one of the PDs in my area:

        "...High school diploma; 60 college credits; Ability to possess a firearm; No felony convictions; No domestic abuse convictions; Vision correctable to 20/20; Good verbal and written communication skills;..."

        I'm not saying what you said about "no criminal convictions" isn't true. Some areas that's the case. I'm not even saying that they won't strongly consider it in their hiring of me, maybe even not hire me because of it. All I'm thinking is at least I have a chance. I don't think truly good people such as myself with one minor flaw on their record should be written off so quickly based on just an ordinance violation.

        From the court:

        "County Retail Theft. This is not a criminal offense and results only in a money penalty for this offense."

        Again, thanks for reading and for your thoughts
        You are correct; there are law enforcement officials that have misdemeanor convictions that have been hired on PDs
        . I will state that, as was stated before, LE agencies are picky about who they hire. Although an applicant could meet the minimal requirements, it's up to the agency whom they choose to hire.

        I wish you the best and NEVER give up on your dream. You will get an opportunity sooner than you know.

        Comment


        • #5
          What you have to consider is that you do have a "blemish" on your record, and for every applicant with a blemish, there are 50 others with squeaky clean records (now, in all honestly/reality, not all of these squeaky clean applicants have squeaky clean pasts, but many have never been caught, and made it through their "rough patches" without acquiring any blemishes). Why would a dept. hire an applicant with a blemish when they could hire their pick of 50 others without a blemish? Does it suck for you....well, yeah. But it is what it is. There may be a dept. out there that will pick you up, but man, the odds are against you.

          Comment


          • #6
            What was your age when the theft happened?

            Comment


            • #7
              Unfortunately in late 2006 I got myself caught up in a debacle that has had countless negative affects on my career and personal life. It came in the form of a "county retail theft" charge for when I was employed at a retail store. I've put that in the past since it happened. I've acknowledged that at the time I wasn't really heading in the direction that I wanted to with my life.
              This act by you was a violation of trust and might be a strong deterrent towards your personal integrity. That is a single issue that, if I were the BI, might have to be strongly addressed and proven that a positive came out of the act. It may be a misdemeanor, but it is a heavy misdemeanor. It is not a minor shoplifting act, it bodes to your personality and maturity. You were an adult and not a child when the act occurred.

              Also, but less important is the withdrawal from your previous training program. As a BI, I would be looking for something that shows me you are willing to overcome negative issues and creating positive results to advance.

              I wish you only the best in your endeavors. Stay positive and grind it out. Success is prdicated on dedication and tenacity.
              Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

              [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

              Comment


              • #8
                It really doesn't matter too much what the "court" says about this incident.

                It also doesn’t matter what YOU feel is unreasonable……………its what the agency feels that counts.


                You can twist your words any way you want in order to make it sound good to you or twist them in any way that justifies your thoughts, but in reality it doesn't matter what YOU think about this "theft"
                What matters is what the agency at which you will be applying considers the incident.

                Theft is a serious charge no matter what the amount when you are being considered for a position of public trust. It becomes more serious when this is a theft from a previous employer.

                Many times ONE indiscretion follows someone their entire lives. Some things are unforgiveable while others are easily forgiven. That is the fact of life

                Will your little problem be a fatal incident?--------that can only be answered by someone from the agency that you wish to apply to. I will proffer that no matter if it is a fatal problem or not, it will cause concern.

                It is more of a concern at this particular time in space because of the wealth of EXCEPTIONAL candidates currently trying to become employed in the law enforcement profession. Your competition will really drive the car here. You will be competing against many people with spotless records…..yes spotless. That doesn’t not necessarily mean they don’t have “life experience”…..it just means they don’t have a criminal history.

                Quite honestly I would rate you as a marginal candidate at this time. Your past is marginal (as stated above , an employer related theft concerns me) you don’t have a college degree, and have started an academy and TSA and failed to complete the process showing a lack of proper foundation/preparation before starting a process.

                The whole argument of “but I have seen other cops who have done x, y, or z “ doesn’t cut the mustard. Who knows why there were hired, what the circumstances were when they were hired, or if they would get hired today if they applied. They are what they are………………………….and the only thing that you should be worried about is you . Some agencies have stricter guidelines than others, some have black and white restrictions where as some believe in grey areas.

                Clearing a background investigation from one agency means nothing to anyone but that agency. Each agency completes it’s own investigation even if it reviews other BI’s when conducting their own. I might add that a TSA BI isn’t in the same league as a true Law Enforcement Background investigation.

                The regular posters on this forum don’t know you………….we don’t have a vested interest in you or in any of the agencies that you are looking at. What we do have is experience in working with, interviewing , Background investigation, having input into the hiring decision making, training new staff, evaluating new and current staff, and have broad experience in actually doing the job. The opinions we give are not based on anything but our own experiences
                My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                Comment


                • #9
                  Not much I can add to what others have said but the one thing that concerns me is that you call being a thief (a one time thing I know) as having "life experience". That doesn't give you life experience that gives you a criminal history as Iowa stated. That's not the kind of "life experience" depts or agencies are looking for. If you make it as far as the interview please don't use that term with the BI....just admit you screwed the pooch and don't make excuses or say that it gave you "life experience".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by HotSoup View Post
                    Not much I can add to what others have said but the one thing that concerns me is that you call being a thief (a one time thing I know) as having "life experience". That doesn't give you life experience that gives you a criminal history as Iowa stated. That's not the kind of "life experience" depts or agencies are looking for. If you make it as far as the interview please don't use that term with the BI....just admit you screwed the pooch and don't make excuses or say that it gave you "life experience".

                    Agree. A better way to put it is, it was a big live & learn experience. I believe that what OP was trying to say.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Each of my colleagues has done an excellent job of addressing your questions/concerns. Let me re-emphasize that it really doesn't matter what YOU think about your past record. What will matter is what any agency you apply to will think. While the theft issue does not make you a career criminal by any means, it was still a criminal act, and it goes directly to the issue of personal integrity. In addressing issues of prior arrests, departments are concerned with the totality of circumstances surrounding the arrest. You could still be DQ'd or non-selected even though the charges were later dropped, nolle prossed, or reduced to a lessor included offense.From your post, I get the impression you intend to attend a "self sponsor" academy. While I have no specific problems with these schools, what you have to know is this. Even should you graduate with honors, often, there is zero guarantee of employment upon the completion of the course. If you intend to attend one of these academies, I'd suggest this before you begin. Do some research, especially with any departments to which you intend to apply. Try to determine if your past record will be a bar to employment, or be a significant road block in that effort.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thank you for all the replies, it all definitely gives me plenty to reflect on and think about.


                        Originally posted by squirly26 View Post
                        You are correct; there are law enforcement officials that have misdemeanor convictions that have been hired on PDs
                        . I will state that, as was stated before, LE agencies are picky about who they hire. Although an applicant could meet the minimal requirements, it's up to the agency whom they choose to hire.

                        I wish you the best and NEVER give up on your dream. You will get an opportunity sooner than you know.

                        squirly26,

                        Thank you for the encouragement. I'm doing my best to make the most out of this situation.

                        Originally posted by sgtchp View Post
                        This act by you was a violation of trust and might be a strong deterrent towards your personal integrity. That is a single issue that, if I were the BI, might have to be strongly addressed and proven that a positive came out of the act.
                        SgtCHP,

                        Thanks for your thoughts. I understand it is an integrity issue, and absolutely, a positive came from this. People might ask me how I've changed; I simply would not make the decisions I once did. I do not think the way I once did anymore. I'm career and school oriented now. I was an adult at the time, yes. But I literally changed my life after this incident. Every one of my jobs after this happened has been security or public safety oriented in some way. I've become a better overall person as well...I've seen a lot of things and have done a lot of things and have matured 100%. I like to think I'm a different person that is incredibly geared towards law enforcement. I've always loved law enforcement, I've always wanted to be a police officer, and I have simply NO idea why I did what I did; it was a slip-up for me, and I've learned from it and I've grown stronger because of it.


                        Originally posted by HotSoup View Post
                        the one thing that concerns me is that you call being a thief (a one time thing I know) as having "life experience". That doesn't give you life experience that gives you a criminal history as Iowa stated. That's not the kind of "life experience" depts or agencies are looking for.
                        HotSoup:

                        I actually was more or less referring to a "live and learn" experience, as YesMan put it. I realize that I do have a criminal history. It looks bad, being a violation of trust, personal integrity, as well. I didn't intend on it sounding like an actual "life experience". I probably don't have exactly what agencies are looking for in the "life experience" department, per se. I like to think of it this way, as stupid as it may sound to some of you: I may have no "real" life experiences. I like to think that I have "experiences" alone, that have helped me grow into a more mature person, and have helped me realize my potential in life.


                        Seriously, thank you for all the replies. It's nice to see what some officers out there think.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pierce_1 View Post
                          Thank you for all the replies, it all definitely gives me plenty to reflect on and think about.



                          Well, the fact is, the great majority of us "think". It's equally true that many of our detractors don't especially appreciate the way we think, but then, that's their problem. I believe you've been given some very thoughtful, accurate, and incisive replies. But then, that's just me.

                          squirly26,

                          Thank you for the encouragement. I'm doing my best to make the most out of this situation.



                          SgtCHP,

                          Thanks for your thoughts. I understand it is an integrity issue, and absolutely, a positive came from this. People might ask me how I've changed; I simply would not make the decisions I once did. I do not think the way I once did anymore. I'm career and school oriented now. I was an adult at the time, yes. But I literally changed my life after this incident. Every one of my jobs after this happened has been security or public safety oriented in some way. I've become a better overall person as well...I've seen a lot of things and have done a lot of things and have matured 100%. I like to think I'm a different person that is incredibly geared towards law enforcement. I've always loved law enforcement, I've always wanted to be a police officer, and I have simply NO idea why I did what I did; it was a slip-up for me, and I've learned from it and I've grown stronger because of it.




                          HotSoup:

                          I actually was more or less referring to a "live and learn" experience, as YesMan put it. I realize that I do have a criminal history. It looks bad, being a violation of trust, personal integrity, as well. I didn't intend on it sounding like an actual "life experience". I probably don't have exactly what agencies are looking for in the "life experience" department, per se. I like to think of it this way, as stupid as it may sound to some of you: I may have no "real" life experiences. I like to think that I have "experiences" alone, that have helped me grow into a more mature person, and have helped me realize my potential in life.


                          Seriously, thank you for all the replies. It's nice to see what some officers out there think.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just as an update...
                            I was accepted into the LE Academy in August, and graduated the LE Academy in November. I now am in the process of applying to any agency I can. Currently have two physical tests scheduled for the 13th and 18th of this month, as well as some interviews as soon as I get through the PATs.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Have you talked to anybody at the agencies you are applying for or the academy you went through regarding your situation? The local academies are usually full of retired and active officers/deputy's, and usually have a pretty good idea of what an agency would do in certain situations....at least that is how it is where I went and work.

                              Comment

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