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Careers: Police/Getting into law enforcement with a misdemeanor


My son is pursuing a criminal justice/homeland security degree.  He recently was ticketed for the misdemeanor of urinating in public in a Michigan township (Plymouth). He is very concerned now about being able to get into law enforcement.  We are hoping to get the charge reduced or dismissed.  Worst case- How do most law enforcement agencies view this particular misdemeanor?

Good morning Kendra,

While most agencies do not consider a misdemeanor citation to be a disqualifying factor, they do consider it in their hiring processes. The fact that he got a misdemeanor citation for urinating in public they will look at that as a maturity issue. He will have to be able to explain why he received the citation during the background investigations and oral interviews that he will face.

Most agencies like to have a couple of years (two five) between the date of the citation and the date of application to there agency. Just like driving citations. If he still has a couple of years left in college, then that will give him a couple of years between the citation and his applications to an agency. In the meantime he can do a couple of things to increase his chances of being hired by a homeland security or criminal justice agency. One of those is to have an internship with a law enforcement agency or federal agency such as the US marshals or the FBI. This looks very good on an application and gives your son something to use any oral interview to raise his net worth to the agency he is applying to. Remember he is competing against other people and has to make himself more marketable than the next person applying for the same job.

So I don't think that the misdemeanor citation is a dis-qualifier, but he will have to explain it, and he should put some time between the citation and his application dates. I would highly recommend that he finishes his college degree and maybe puts in a year or two of internships with state or federal agencies, and then uses all of that to bolster his application so that he looks good enough to call in for an interview and that's his chance to sell himself, and to explain any background questions they may have.

Stay well and be safe.

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Chris Wagoner


I have been a police officer for 30+ years! I am the Police Academy Commander at the Santa Fe College, Institute of Public Safety in Gainesville Florida It is a full service Law Enforcement and Corrections training facility. I can answer most questions concerning law enforcement procedures, law enforcement training and general questions about law enforcment. I can also answer questions about becoming a law enfocement officer. I have a booklet and web page I have written that answers many questions about how to become a police officer called "So you want to be a cop (police Officer) in Florida?", which is free, Google it.. All you have to do is ask. I teach the following subjects: RADAR/LASER, Law Enforcement Driving, Law Enforcement Firearms and Patrol Techniques, Officer Safety, WMD's for Patrol Officers, Application of Law, Communications skills, Dealing with the Mentally and physically handicapped, and many more subjects. I have worked as a subject matter expert for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and helped to write the police curriculum for the State of Florida. I like answering questions about how to become a police officer, and questions about why did an officer do this or that type questions. I also like answering any questions you may have about police work in general. I do not mind helping with homework questions or trying to answer your questions about legal subjects that I have knowledge of. You will never know the answer until you ask! If you do ask a question, PLEASE take the time to at least rate the answer. I do not get paid to answer these questions and do it on my own time. If you ask, please rate it when I answer. Thanks!!! If its a question about becoming a police officer, it may be answered here: My "hobby" website - Military Videos on YouTube and Facebook!!


I am a 30+ year veteran police officer, I am currently the Police Academy Commander of an Academy in North FLorida. I have been training police officers since 1993 and have trained them in all aspects of law enforcement, including firearms, Driving and legal subjects including patrol techniques and others and training all over the world. I have trained over 5000 officers worldwide in the last 16 years of training.

I am a published author in Accident Investigation from the University of North Florida, Institute of Police Technology and Management. Also have written and published on the Internet, "So You Want to be a Cop (Police Officer) in Florida?" you can Google it..

I have 2 degrees, in Criminal Justice.

Awards and Honors
Phi Theta Kappa, plus 50+ Departmental Awards over the years. FBI Directors award for assisting in a Nationwide investigation into Child pornography.

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