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 One mistake! Is it hopeless?

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PostSubject: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:57 am

I have always thought of becoming a police officer, but never took the leap. I am now 35 yrs. old and it has been on my mind a lot lately. Due to my age I think it is now or never.

My Background:
I have been married for 4 years and we have a two year old daughter. I am known to be very responsible. My wife and I both have excellent credit with no credit card debt. We have a modest house payment and a small vehicle payment. I have never been arrested. I did have a small infraction 8 yrs ago for shooting a shotgun inside the city limits, but it was deferred. My friend and I were hunting Rabbits on the mesa and didn't realize it was in the city limits. I served 4 years in the Navy with an Honorable Discharge. I earned a Bachelors Degree in Business/Management in 2006. I have been employed all of my adult life without ever being fired. I have worked for a major international company for 8 years now and three of my last 8 evaluations have exceeded expectations with the rest being successful.

My Concerns:
I smoked Marijuana over a weekend on a hunting trip last month. I am not proud of it and I fully regret it, but I did it. Prior to that I have not had any drug use for at least 7 years. Regardless if I become a cop or not I will never do drugs again. I did it for "old times sake" with the people I was with, which was stupid and out of character.

I am interested in two departments in NM. One is Albuquerque PD and the other is Rio Rancho PD. Albuquerque PD definitely administers the Poly to all candidates. I cannot find any reference to a Poly for the Rio Rancho PD. I guess my questions would be: Are all of my positive attributes erased due to this mistake? Is this a lost cause? If there is no Poly should I ommit this mistake from the interviews?

Thanks for any advice.
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Realtor670



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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:30 am

Okay, so if you did drugs once over a hunting trip and weren't caught and nobody else knows? What are you afraid of?
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OrlandoM93



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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Tue Dec 23, 2008 4:41 am

regarding the comment above, you do know that you have to be 100% honest with a police department, due to the polygraph exams, right?

You look like an excellent cantidate. You have college exp. and a great background. I strongly believe that one weekend could quite possibly be overlooked. The only problem I see is that it was one month ago. I'm sure you are in the same position as me when I say "All this stress, questions and difficulty for just one stupid night"
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Realtor670



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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:42 am

Honesty is the best policy. However those polygraph exams are a joke.

The only reason they give those tests to see if you panic and admit to things that you've done that are your own personal business, and anyone who tries to tell you anything different is giving you a line of bull.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that I'm planning on lying or hiding stuff if I have to take it someday, but you have to understand what a polygraph is and what a polygraph isn't, and it isn't a lie detector, so the best thing to do are to learn their techniques and how to pass the test without allowing even your truthful answers to comeback as untruthful or inconclusive just because you are nervous, then you'll be fine.

I know some cops on here are going to rip me to shreds for saying this but come on....

If you got an applicant who has good experiences, admits to everything that they know you'll find out before you find it and you believe deep down that they are not going to make the same mistakes again, and won't be a threat on the force.... then why do you need to know that they looked at a porn site, stole a candy bar at a store 6 years ago, or committed some minor crime several years ago that they feel bad about and was undetected by anyone else.

I mean please, give people the benefit of the doubt and don't pump them for information by hooking them up to some machine just to see if they can handle it. If they aren't suitable to be a cop, they won't make it through academy and give a good impression with the instructors and trainers.


But to answer your question..... from what I've read, many cops have previously at least tried marijuana, and if I'm correct it is other drugs like speed, acid, etc. that will disqualify you.
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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Tue Dec 23, 2008 6:15 am

670, I appreciate your reply, but I am hoping to get advice from people in Law Enforcement. Possibly LEOs that either had or know someone who had similar circumstances when they applied and what the outcome was in those situations.

The polygraph is a controversial tool to say the least. However, I think it is a valuable tool for agencies to use in order to weed out people who will probably not be good police officers. Agencies don't want to hire and train people who are lying about habitual drug use or people with criminal tendencies.

It does me no good to debate opinions about the poly as a tool. I'm not trying to beat the poly and I have nothing else to hide. I simply want to know if my mistake will disqualify me from being a police officer. I'm looking for objective advice or input. Thanks.
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Realtor670



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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:49 am

Okay, no problem, but what I've told you about the marijuana is what I've heard from other officers.

If that is all they have on you don't sweat it.

I'm just saying do some research on the Polygraph just so you know exactly how they are going to question you, mixing in the control, relevant questions, etc.
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Sarge
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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:08 pm

You should be honest. Dishonesty can and often does come back to bite you! As another poster wrote, your biggest concern is your recent use of marijuana. As you probably know, one of the Albuquerque Police Department's requirements is that you must not have used marijuana within the last 2 years. According to what you wrote, you sound like a great candidate other than that. It is not now or never for you. Many police departments do not have a maximum age limit. I don't think that Albuquerque does either. With most police departments, you might have to wait 2 or 3 years due to your rececnt use of marijuana. But don't let that stop you from becoming a police officer if that is what you want to do. You might just have to be a bit more patient. As you probably know, 2 or 3 years can seem like a long time, but it really isn't (even when your'e 35). Keep doing well at work, etc. Stay in shape! You age will still not be a problem with most police departments. I know plenty of officers that were older than 35 when they became officers.
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Ray

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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Tue Dec 23, 2008 3:27 pm

I know what you mean. Although I greatly respect Law Enforcement (which is one of the reasons I want to become a police officer, myself), I'm starting to get this picture that police officers were perfect citizens before they actually entered the profession. Although I wouldn't encourage somebody to lie on any test, my friend (who I actually babysat when he was a child) had to wait a year to reapply to the CHP because he had admitted to being at a party where a couple of people were smoking marijuana.

Unless you're a pretty young person with not a lot of life experience, even your average law-abiding citizen is going to have something in their past that could be looked at as questionable.

I have a few things in my credit that have to be cleared up, so I won't be reapplying anywhere for at least 6 months. But the reasoning behind possibly rejecting people with questionable credit makes me chuckle a little bit. They say that if you have bad credit you'll probably be inclined to accept bribes on the street. I don't see what one has to do with the other. If somebody dangles twenty thousand dollars in cash in front of an officer's face, I think it's pretty silly to think that the deciding factor of whether it will be accepted or not hinges on what the officer's credit score was before they even entered the academy.


I know for an absolute fact that I would never in a million years go through the process of becoming a police officer (of all professions), only to jeopardize my new career by accepting a bribe.
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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:52 pm

It's not that someone with bad credit may be more likely to take a bribe or do something dishonest. It is more of a concern if the person owes a lot of money (too far in debt). Having bad credit can just be an indicator that someone might have financial problems and/or is not very responsible. This is not always true of course. Your credit score is not as important as your credit history. Your credit history shows if you have been paying your bills or loans on time or not. If not, it is possible that you are either having financial difficulty or you are irresponsible. Again, not always true. If you have a bad credit history, you often have a bad credit score. Whether or not you normally pay your bills on time and how far in debt you are is much more important than your actual credit score as far as most departments are concerned. Your credit history, just like your background, does not have to be perfect, just favorable.
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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:31 pm

My cousin was not hired by a PD 3 months ago because his credit history was bad. He's doing what he can to improve it. Other than his bad credit, he is practically a saint. He'll eventually get hired.
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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:25 am

Whether it makes sense or not, you can definitely be disqualified if your credit is bad Exclamation
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Ray

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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:45 pm

27 wrote:
Whether it makes sense or not, you can definitely be disqualified if your credit is bad Exclamation

And that is probably why "Realtor" was saying was he was saying. I don't drink, I've never taken any drugs, I've never so much as taken a puff from a cigarette, I've never been in trouble with the law for anything, I've never had the police called to my house for any reason, I don't get into fights and never have, I don't party and never have, but I have a few things in my credit that have to be cleared up.

I guess it's like anything. You'll have people who look absolutely pristine on paper who land awesome jobs, who end up blowing what they've been given because there true colors show afterwards, which is why we often hear about a police officer or some other official who has been caught up in illegal activities, after once being perceived as ideal candidates for law enforcement.

I wouldn't encourage anybody to lie on a test, but I'm pretty sure there are currently thousands upon thousands of police officers who were party animals, drinkers, and smokers who didn't reveal the extent of that behavior in their Personal History Statements.

But you're right....it is what it is.
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Realtor670



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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:10 pm

I basically was just saying I don't believe in those tests, because they should know you well enough to know whether or not you're a good candidate that they can take their chances on and let go of your past history if it is far enough in the past before it even comes to the polygraph.

If it isn't something they are going to find on my record or through questioning people I know, why would I limit my chances even more by admitting to some dumb thing on a polygraph.

Like if they ask if I've ever committed an undetected crime before? Of course I have, but either nobody knows about it, or it was dealing with someone who I am cool with now, so why should I have to tell them something that is none of their business and make my chances worse when I know it isn't going to affect my performance, and was a long time ago.

It isn't like it is hard to find a way to confuse the polygraph machine, and anyone here would lie if they knew the machine wouldn't detect it, and there is no way for anyone to find out about it.
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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:11 pm

The fact is that those doing the hiring want to try to get the best people they can. Past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. Not in every case, but in many cases. Those doing the hiring usually understand that people are not perfect. That is why some past drug use, some minor criminal activity, etc. are often not automatic disqualifiers. That is why people that have used drugs, stolen something when they were younger, had bad credit at one time, etc. can usually still get hired after a few years. Even if they are honest.
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Lt
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PostSubject: Re: One mistake! Is it hopeless?   Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:16 pm

Your use of marijuana would temporarily disqualify you with the department' that I'm familiar with.
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