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  • Department background investigation-Question

    Good afternoon everyone,
    I have a question regarding Department background investigation. I am currently in the process with a department. I am at the last step in the hiring process, Which for them is the Background investigation. They told me the entire background investigation will take 1-2 weeks. Isn't this a very short time frame for a law enforcement agency? What kind of Investigation is going to be done within 2 weeks? Any thoughts?

  • #2
    A Background takes about 40 hours total average. If people get back to the Investigator quick enough and they are working on it full time, two weeks is possible.

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    • #3
      Every agency has their own schedule for BIs. Some are more in-depth than others. If an agency believes they will have all the information they need to make a decision within 2 weeks, who are we to question them?

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      • #4
        Going back to 1980-1986 I was tasked with several hundred background investigations. That was pre-Internet days, no computers in the office, everything done by mail, phone, face-to-face, and shoe leather. Fortunately I had clerical support (and a darn good lady) who could churn out the National Agency Checks, state agency reports, public records searches, consumer credit reports, educational records, and other basic stuff just about as fast as I could do the background interviews and fingerprint cards (yeah, we still used paper and ink, back in the day). Very few applicants took longer than 2 weeks.

        How? Simple; 80% or so of applicants can't tell the same lie twice! What they said on the job application doesn't match what they reported at the background interview. The credit report details address and employment history that doesn't match either the job application or background interview. Criminal convictions, as a matter of public record, somehow don't correspond to what the applicant responded to question #28 on the job application. A report of no prior or pending civil litigation somehow doesn't match the pending lawsuit for civil damages related to an eviction proceeding, or the lingering restraining order following break-up of a marriage or shack-up relationship. The claimed college degree isn't supported by the registrar's records. Etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum.

        I worked for a state agency at the time. We had no polygraph operators on staff, relying on contract providers at a couple hundred bucks per exam. I regularly disqualified at least 4 out of 5 before ordering polygraph exams, just by reviewing what the applicants reported and comparing that to the available records (and the polygraphs regularly screened out half of the remaining applicants). A few phone calls (not to the HR department, but to the former co-workers or supervisors, next door neighbors, etc). Very seldom had to apply the shoe leather approach, personal interviews with former employers, neighbors, etc.

        And the moral of this story is: TRY TELLING THE TRUTH! STOP RELYING ON B.S.! I'm not your Mommy, and I'm not your grade school teacher, so I'm not going to accept anything you tell me without verifying it.

        I suspect that now, 35 years later with Internet resources and instant communications, my successors in the background investigation business can grind away 4 out of 5 applicants in a couple of days, and probably still have time for a round of golf every week.

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        • #5
          All comes down to the unit's structure in how they handle a background investigation. Some agencies will piece meal or move all applicants to a certain point then stop and start on the next section. This is more the "hurry up and wait" angle. Other agencies will have an investigator work a candidate's entire packet as far as possible, leave notes on where they left off/whats remaining and then go on to the next candidate. This is where usually the candidates who work faster and provide more responses in a timely manner tend to get finished and offers first.

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