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Thread: Thin Letter - Looking for advice/help

  1. #1
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    Thin Letter - Looking for advice/help

    So, today I got the thin letter from one of the departments I have applied to. I know many people post their own sad stories and problems so thank you for taking the time to read and hopefully help with mine.

    I was denied for "admitting to a serious crime." This was on the basic personal history statement. This particular department does the BI first, then all other parts of the process. So, I was denied without even talking to any at the Dept. in person and never asked for more information. Anyways. Im not here to complain but I want to understand the process.

    I was told by a couple people including LEOs to not admit to anything they (the dept BIs) could not find out. IE "undetected crimes." I went against that advice and chose to be honest and answer all questions with the truth. So, when I was 15/16 I went "car hopping" once. With a friend and his couple of friends. Basically, going through a neighborhood checking for unlocked car doors. I didnt take anything froma vehicle, but was given about 20 dollars that someone else found. I later gave the money away becuase I felt like crap about it. They (the people i was with) did this many times and were eventually caught by police and charged with a misdemeanor which was eventually plead down. I joined them once as a high school attempt to fit in. I hated it. I refused to go again even after they tried to get me to go back. It was actually an event in my youth that made me want to get into law enforcement.

    I am/was by no means a trouble youth. I dont have anything close to a record. good traffic record, great credit. excellent references No drug use, etc. I have a B.A. in criminal justice with a 3.44 GPA, and Im currently a Captain in the US Army with an outstanding documented record of service. Im a vet of Iraq. So, I guess what im trying to find out is - does one dumb youthful mistake like that (over 10 years ago now) really make me unfit to be a police officer? I feel like the dept judged me on that one 10 yr old event and didnt even care about what I did since then or who I am now. Can I expect to be DQ'ed from everywhere I applied because of this? I know I made a mistake but thought that admitting to it was the right answer because if I were the employer I would want people who have integrity and will admit to mistakes and learn from them - not cover them up.

    Thanks for the help and advice.
    Last edited by sapper324; 02-03-2013 at 06:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Verified LEO mrwjh's Avatar
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    Each department has different processes and disqualifications. My recommendation would be to seek employment from other departments however, make sure you read their qualifications and requirements for each. A misdemeanor may not be an automatic disqualifier.

    On a final note ... The advice from other LEO's and others "not to admit anything" is very poor advice. If you get disqualified through a polygraph ... your options for any department will be reduced to just about zero.

  3. #3
    Verified LEO eljefe241's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrwjh View Post
    Each department has different processes and disqualifications. My recommendation would be to seek employment from other departments however, make sure you read their qualifications and requirements for each. A misdemeanor may not be an automatic disqualifier.

    On a final note ... The advice from other LEO's and others "not to admit anything" is very poor advice. If you get disqualified through a polygraph ... your options for any department will be reduced to just about zero.
    What was written above has my 110% agreement ...

    From my experience, the youthful indiscretion -w hich did not involve an actual arrest - should not deter all agencies from considering you. I would simply attach an Addendum to the PHF describing what ofccured and what you 'learned' from the event.
    mrwjh likes this.

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    You're going into a career in which honesty and integrity are 2 of your most valuable traits. Don't ruin that before you even get hired. Always be honest.
    mrwjh likes this.

  5. #5
    Verified LEO chapwolfe's Avatar
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    Once it's turned on one agency's BI, there's a chance of another agency learning about it from them. Trying to hide it going forward could do more harm than good.
    Officer Jay McGuire, Minneapolis Park Police EOW 5/14/2009 age 11
    Among Texas' finest
    Deputy Andy Taylor, Llano County SO EOW 5/9/2005

  6. #6
    Verified LEO co809's Avatar
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    First, thank you for your service; we owe you a great debt. Second, a piece of advice for you: It is not called car hopping, it is called (Fill in local statute here) theft, petty theft, etc. It may sound stupid, but using non-descriptive words like "car hopping" seems to attempt to minimize responsibility. There are plenty of departments that may hire you if this is your only blemish, if you are honest and take responsibility. Over-explaining will indicate more guilt than you are confessing to. So your friends were idiots, doing what idiots do, and you got caught. Own it and let the department focus on your honorable military career. I also agree with all prior posters that you are doing it the right way. Just because records are sealed/expunged, doesn't mean a good BGI won't find out about it; plus, it's your integrity on the line. Good luck, let us know how it goes.

  7. #7
    Lead P1 Forums Moderator TopSite's Avatar
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    Sapper324 said: I was told by a couple people including LEOs to not admit to anything they (the dept BIs) could not find out. IE "undetected crimes." I went against that advice and chose to be honest and answer all questions with the truth.
    First, I would be very leery of any LEO that gives this type of advice. What you did is easily found out. Many departments use the polygraph as part of the process and a question that might be asked is "Have you ever taken or stolen anything of value for which you were not caught?" In your case, I think you can figure out what would happen if you gave a negative response. Also you might consider this. When the others were caught, how do you know your name wasn't brought up. Just because you never participated again doesn't mean your name wasn't thrown about and a computer check of department's files would reveal your name as an associate.

    There is too much to lose by taking bad advice and not revealing your past.
    Last edited by TopSite; 02-04-2013 at 02:08 PM.
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    I would continue applying for more agencies and the comments on here so far were right on the money. You don't want to lie about anything in the application process and you do not want to come off as making excuses for your actions. Just be honest and own up to your mistakes.

    Also, You have to put things in perspective, The agency you applied for could have had several other applicants that were equally impressive on a resume and if the only difference was what you did when you were a teenager, then they probably got the position. Just because you did not get hired this time does not mean you have no chance of ever getting hired anywhere. Continue applying to other agencies and eventually, with your resume, you are going to get hired by someone.

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    Just as others have stated, You have the key already in your hand, by being honest. Never try to hide anything even if it is minor. I would say try out other departments and see what happens. More then likely, eventually you will be hired if everything you said is true and correct.

    Good Luck, and Thank You for your Service also.

  10. #10
    Verified LEO TopShot217's Avatar
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    My 3 pieces of advice: 1) Don't lie/hide something. A cop once told me, if you have any skeletons in the closet you had better come to terms with them before taking the polygraph. 2) As another said above, if a question requires additional explanation... attach an addendum or there is usually a section that allows you to explain an answer better. It is usually at the end. 3) I truly believe that if you love this job and have truly dreamed about doing this job then you will find a department that fits you. Every department has different hiring expectations, eventually you will find the one that's right for you. Good luck.

  11. #11
    Verified LEO HOG68's Avatar
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    Sir,
    To answer your questions:

    No, it does not make you unfit to be a police officer,

    No, you will not be DQ'd from every agency you test for.

    Just by the way you framed your post, you seem like an intelligent person. As long as what you have told us is the truth, I have no doubt you will get hired by someone. Good luck sir

 

 


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