I’ve been slotted for physical abilities/abilities and written exams for the local Sheriff’s department this coming Friday.
If I go further into the recruitment process, I’ll have psychological evaluations and a polygraph.
My record is clean as a whistle, but I did make a couple questionable decisions in high school and college that could throw red flags. My question to any one who can help, is it best to be completely honest and take the chance of explaining myself, or sugar coating situations and telling just enough of the truth to look okay?[/quote]
Once hired, would you sugar coat the facts of the matter to make it look OK to avoid explaining your actions? I’m not trying to be a dick, but if you’re willing to lie to get the job, I bet you’d be willing to lie to keep it. As a sworn police officer, I can say without hesitation you’re not the type of person that should be on the job. Not yet, anyway.
All that aside, you’re going to be questioned by an experienced investigator who has been trained and has a lot of experience getting to the bottom of bullshit. You are at quite the disadvantage because you will be required to participate and answer all questions. Remember, these people get full confessions from people who literally have their lives on the line and they had the right to remain silent. Also, they will contact many people from various stages of your life and will spot consistencies. On top of that, you will be polygraphed.
Your record may be squeaky clean, but it sounds like your history is not. There is a difference. If you smoked pot a few times, own it and explain it. Lying will get you canned no matter what it’s about, I will guarantee that. No one is perfect and your back ground investigator knows that.
I don’t think you’re ready to apply. If telling the truth no matter what isn’t your default setting, you should not do this job. There are enough people who do stupid shit and ruin it for the other 99% of us.
Sworn officer (Reserve/Auxilliary) for five years. In the recruiting process for full time with various agencies for 3 years. Lost track of how many “lifestyle/integrity” questionnaires (usually about 80 some pages each regarding EVERYTHING you’ve EVER done, regardless of whether you got caught). Not sure how many interviews I’ve been through regarding the answers to those questions and my life/qualifications in general, but it’s at least three. Been through 2 polygraphs (one lasting two hours the other nearly five) to verify the answers from the interviews. Been through local and federal background investigations. Currently at the final stage with our federal police service.
It may sound harsh, but Will has given you good advice. In the course of my process I have disclosed some seriously embarrassing shit. At least, it started out as embarassing. By the time I’d rehashed it with enough perfect strangers I started to get a bit numb to the embarrassment factor. I was as truthful as possible throughout, and yet after each interview I agonized over whether I had been truthful enough.
The whole, unvarnished truth is not really something most of us deal in day to day. We use euphimisms, shades of truth, revisionist history and selective forgetfulness to feel better about ourselves and to fulfil our social contracts with others. It is all to easy for even an “honest” person to tell a “small”, automatic lie without even thinking. In the recruiting process, and more importantly in policing, this all changes. Much of the time police are forced to work in the grey. Where the truth is concerned, it is and must be black and white. Something happened or it didn’t, period. If you’re already consciously looking for some “flexibility” where the truth is concerned, your head’s just not in the right place
You act in good faith, do your best, tell the truth and take your lumps. This may mean you get screwed. Doesn’t matter. The truth is the truth and it’s non-negotiable.
Well said batman. Good luck in your hiring process. You seem to have a good perspective on the level of integrity required for LE.