T Nation

Any Policemen on the Forums?


#1

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?


#2

[quote]CarolinaPaladin wrote:
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.


#3

I lost track of how many I have washed out of a background investigation based on issues of deceit. The worst thing you can do is lie or downplay to the point that you are omitting pertinent information. Own up to your background up front. I would much rather hire someone who has screwed up in the past and readily admits it. They are hireable and train-able. Liars are not. Also, be aware that background investigators share information. If you went through a background with another agency and I find out that you were deceitful in their investigation, rest assured you won’t be getting a conditional offer of employment with my agency, even if you are up front about issues that are tarnishing. I won’t take the risk.


#4

what were the possible ‘red flags’?


#5

I’ve had friends who have done it and they have told me they ask a whole range of questions. I had a cousin going for harbor patrol and they put him on the polygraph. He said they asked him how many times a day he masturbated or how often he did it. I forget which one it is. I assume they ask some really strange questions like that to get a baseline on what you say.

I’m also curious on the red flags.


#6

You need to be honest AND consistent. You can’t say one thing in the written portion and say another thing in an oral portion.

At the same time, don’t get diarreah of the mouth, you know what I’m saying?

Btw not the best time to be LE.


#7

[quote]strungoutboy21 wrote:
I’ve had friends who have done it and they have told me they ask a whole range of questions. I had a cousin going for harbor patrol and they put him on the polygraph. He said they asked him how many times a day he masturbated or how often he did it. I forget which one it is. I assume they ask some really strange questions like that to get a baseline on what you say.

I’m also curious on the red flags.[/quote]
They really asked him that? For harbor patrol? The Fuck?


#8

[quote]strungoutboy21 wrote:
I’ve had friends who have done it and they have told me they ask a whole range of questions. I had a cousin going for harbor patrol and they put him on the polygraph. He said they asked him how many times a day he masturbated or how often he did it. I forget which one it is. I assume they ask some really strange questions like that to get a baseline on what you say.

I’m also curious on the red flags.[/quote]

Because of my work with the Military, LE, and USG, especially with obtaining a TS/SCI, I have probably taken over 20 polygraphs. Most were given by the FBI or someone trained by the FBI (Army CID, AFOSI, ect). Other than asking if I had any foreign girlfriends stashed away in some third world country, I was never asked about sexual acts, in fact, they are not allowed for routine background checks. Can you imagine a police recuriter asking a female about how many times she goes solo? Lawsuit, no defense. I would be curious about what agency was this stupid.


#9

[quote]Will207 wrote:

[quote]CarolinaPaladin wrote:
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.

[/quote]

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.


#10

[quote]batman730 wrote:

[quote]Will207 wrote:

[quote]CarolinaPaladin wrote:
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.

[/quote]

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.
[/quote]

Well said batman. Good luck in your hiring process. You seem to have a good perspective on the level of integrity required for LE.


#11

If there are any LEOs here could you please ask your wives to stop posting horrible memes about cops being killed?


#12

[quote]Nards wrote:
If there are any LEOs here could you please ask your wives to stop posting horrible memes about cops being killed?[/quote]

If what you mean: Are they posting memes to glorify the killing of cops? if so, then they dont need to ask them to quit, they need to get rid of them. period.


#13

[quote]idaho wrote:

[quote]Nards wrote:
If there are any LEOs here could you please ask your wives to stop posting horrible memes about cops being killed?[/quote]

If what you mean: Are they posting memes to glorify the killing of cops? if so, then they dont need to ask them to quit, they need to get rid of them. period.
[/quote]

I can’t imagine the wife on an LEO posting those.

I mean the ones that wonder why there aren’t riots when an officer dies in the line of duty and other memes like that.


#14

Edit, read some of the post above. Disregard.


#15

Well, I would like my cops to have some life experience, like there are laws and there are LAWS…

Yes, MY cops…


#16

Best of luck with the new adventure. I hope it goes well. I would recommend that on the poly tell the truth, all of it. Polygraphers are trained at interview and interrogation. They will probably pick up on a lie. Some are cops or prior LE, so they have asked a lot of questions in the past, it becomes a habit. Depends on the agency but unless you did some horrible shit in the past you can get past it. For example, a question about falsification of state or federal documents came up on mine. I was a bartender that made good money and did not report most of my tips. That draws the next question, how much did you under report? I give him an estimate and he asks why, I tell him to avoid taxes, he asks would I do it again. All this gets asked prior to attaching the polygraph. Here is the consistency part, while on the machine they will ask, other than what we already discussed are there any other falsified records.

We, LE, Do not want officers that are liars. If that is your preferred choice to lie, consider law school. Liar and lawyer go together well. If you want to be a cop think about this, we are not real popular at the moment. We will not get the benefit of the doubt. Cops/former cops are being prosecuted at a rate I have not seen before. Stretch the truth in court, falsify a report, or be untruthful on the job and we can not help you. In police work “if you lie you die”.

My psych was lengthy and no questions about sexual activity were asked, as mention a lawsuit waiting to happen.


#17

For the love of God, DO NOT GO INTO LAW ENFORCEMENT!

(At least not yet)

You have the tone of a too-young-adult who is not ready for this type of work. I understand your question from a human perspective; however from an LE professional’s view (your potential bosses) you’ve almost disqualified yourself by asking the question.

My advice, as someone posted earlier, is wait a bit. If you’re still interested after some ethical “seasoning,” apply in a year, or two, or three. At that time, asking advice on whether or not to lie to your potential bosses will (hopefully) seem silly.

If you do decide to apply now, DON’T LIE. EVER. Lying at any point in the hiring process now will exclude you from any future consideration for any LE agency. This is not hyperbole. Assuming honesty in your application process, you may not be hired for a single LE job based on any number of factors (one of which is overall maturity), but lying will exclude you from all LE jobs in all agencies forever.

Sorry for the negative vibes, and it’s nothing against you, but I see this question a lot on other forums.

Think of it like the Anti-Nike campaign: “Just don’t do it.”


#18

[quote]hkd wrote:

My psych was lengthy and no questions about sexual activity were asked, as mention a lawsuit waiting to happen. [/quote]

My poly asked me about any prior sexual activity at work. More like an ethical-type question. Only question that really threw me for a loop. I’ve never had any workplace hookups or quickies, so I honestly said “no.” Still made me feel weird, though. A little pervy.