Hello everyone, My name is Roger and I am aspiring to begin a career in law enforcement. I recently acquired my associates degree in criminal justice and I am searching for a job in the field. I understand that the market is tough right now and I am trying to be patient. I would like to think that the my degree would help substantially but there is one problem. About six and a half years ago I was arrested for driving under the influence. I was found guilty of the lowest level offense and my drivers license was suspended for one year. I guess what I am looking for is information from anyone who knows someone or is someone who has wanted to work in law enforcement but has DUI on their record. I have s few friends who work in law enforcement and they keep telling me to "stay positive, it will happen. It is just going to be a little harder than someone who does not have a DUI on their record". I believe this and I appreciate their support but I am not sure. I need some outside opinions. I appreciate any information that anyone can give me.:confused:
Be honest about it when asked. What region of the country?
I live in Western North Carolina. I will be 29 in February. I would like to start out working in a detention center in order to become more familiar with confrontation and the types of people that I would be dealing with on the streets. Like I said before, I think that I am just being impatient. I understand that these types of positions take time but it makes me worry. In 2009 I applied with the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service and I passed the initial test, the first interview and made it through the panel interview but after the background investigation began, I received a letter stating that I was no longer being considered for employment. I assume that it was because of the DUI as they will not tell you why they are no longer considering you. I guess I just want to know that their is someone else out there who has been in my situation that has been able to have a career in law enforcement.
We have one or two guys in our area that have had one. In Wisconsin, first offense its just a forfeiture, not a crime, so while frowned upon, its not as big a deal. Not sure where you live exactly (small town, or bigger city) but around here, it helps if you go and talk to the chief of a smaller town, ask them if they are looking for some help, and see if you can get in there on a part time basis. Around here, its pretty much expected you will have to work for 2-4 years part-time before you will get a full time spot, and thats with a 2 or a 4 year degree. If I were you, I would get a few part time police jobs, work them for a while, and prove that you can be a good cop, that should help open a bunch of doors for you. You may have to focus on applying more to smaller agencies at first too... around here, they tend to be a little more flexible. With bigger cities, I think they get so many applicants, they will axe ya for even minor issues. Once you get a few years in a smaller agency, then the bigger ones may open up for you. Good luck.
PS Of course, I am speaking to the way it is around here...in Wisconsin. Things may be completely different where your at.
Whenever I interact with high school seniors who are interested in law enforcement and talk about getting their Criminal Justice degree, I tell them not to. It's better to get a degree, I think, in something else.
Let's face it, you're going to be competing for a job in an economy that has astronomical unemployment rates against other people who have degrees- most of which will like be in Criminal Justice- and the difference between you and them will be a DUI on your record.
I'm not saying you'll never get a job, because honestly I'm sure just about every cop on this board knows of someone who got a job under more dubious circumstances. What I am saying is that you have your work cut out for you.
Apply anywhere and everywhere you're willing to commute to and don't be too proud to start in a jail or in a dispatch room.
As others have said never lie- even by omission. And never give up. Just my 2 cents.
Best of luck.
I work with an officer or two who has a DWI. It's not impossible.
It's possible for you to get hired -- but as others have noted, you'll have to cross the hurdle of your history. But PDs aren't into hiring angels. Most of us have something or other in our background that's not perfect. One of the things my chief really looks hard at is attitude: how do you respond to your mistakes? Do you accept responsibility or look to blame someone else?
Regarding degrees -- my advice is similar to Rhino's. Study something that interests you. Outside of fields like engineering or medicine or teaching, the degree is often unrelated to what sort of job you end up with. Especially a bachelor's degree...
One of the hiring boards I was on here a guy had a DUI from several years back. He was straight about it. Didn't try to give any excuses, had a clean record since then. Hired him without a problem. Don't harp on it in interviews, but don't hide from it either. The main thing I was looking for going into that interview was no excuses. I didn't want to hear, "well I was just a .09. or I was 10 feet from my driveway, etc.." I hear that from drunks all the time. I want somebody who will own up to a mistake, show that the haven't done it again, and moved on.
I'm actually planning a vacation to the Asheville area this summer. Looked at renting some cabins around Mars Hill. You around that area? Can you give any recommendations? PM me.