You are here:

Careers: Police/Questions about my background check


QUESTION: Hello Mr. Wagoner,

I'm looking for an honest opinion as to whether I should continue testing and applying for police departments in the Midwest. To be frank, I have been testing for three years, and in this time period I have been the number one person to be hired for two different departments. One gave me an offer of conditional employment, given that I passed a polygraph, background check, and psych test, and the other had begun my background check. Both departments sent me letters notifying me that I was no longer being considered for employment after they began my background check (even after I passed a polygraph test). In my background, there are some things that I honestly need to ask if they are going to disqualify me from any police department. I have had a number of speeding tickets and I have had my license suspended for a brief period of time. I have not had tickets in the past three years, but I was unfortunately a reckless driver in high school and college. Another thing that troubles me the most is that I have a "Pleaded Guilty to Animal Abuse" on my record. I was given this charge by the city for leaving my dog in the car while quickly running in to the grocery store in the winter (just for the record, I love my dog and would never hurt her). Since I did leave her in the car unattended, I had no alternative but to plead guilty to this charge. Additionally, I am a legally registered firearms owner, and last summer a gun was stolen out of one of my vehicles that I accidentally left unlocked. I reported it as stolen, and it has since been returned to me.

I understand that this is a list of things that would appear questionable to police departments. I have wanted to go into law enforcement since I honorably parted with the military, and I have my bachelors degree in criminal justice. Honestly, I need an opinion as to whether I am fighting a lost cause in my applications and testing. Your expertise would be greatly appreciated sir.

ANSWER: Hi Martha,

I need to know a few things before I can give you an educated opinion.

How old are you now.

How many tickets are we talking about and for what and when.

When was the Animal Abuse charge?

Let me know the answers to those questions and then I will feel better about giving you a more educated answer.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Mr. Wagoner,

In answer to your questions, I am 28 years old. I have had eleven speeding tickets, most of them for going five to ten miles over the speed limit, and one was for going fifteen to twenty miles over. The last one I received in 2010.

The animal abuse charge was from 2007.

Thank you for your response.

Hi again Martha,

Thanks for the additional information.

But the problem is your tickets show what they call a repetative violation problem. Your tickets are all speed related and they will ask why you did not learn after the first one of two. You will have to try and convince them you have changed. But they will more than likely tell you that not enough time has passed between your tickets and your application. They may tell you they want a certain number of years (most ask for 5) between your tickets and app.

Police departments are looking at putting you in a police car with the right to speed in certain circumstances, and they trust you to do so only when it is legally allowed. Put yourself in their shoes.

I wish you the best but think with your driving record you are going to have a very difficult time getting hired, at least for the next few years.

Careers: Police

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2017 All rights reserved.