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Question
Mr. Toomey,

I am currently 28 years old have served 8 years in the navy, married with a son, and I am curious if I will be able to get a job in law enforcement given my past drug use. When I was approx 18/19 I went through kind of a rough patch where I hung out with people I thought were my friends and I smoked marijuana not daily but every once in a while and when I was 20 I was at a party and was kinda of peer pressured into trying cocaine. It really bothered me afterwards and I left after that and never tried it or even had the desire to do it again. Later that year I joined the navy, got married a couple years later, started a family and am currently working on finishing my BA in Criminal Justice which will be finished prior to applying to a PD. I do feel really awful that what I did when I was younger has affected my future like this. If only I had known I wanted to be a police officer back than. It has been about 8 years since the 1 cocaine use and approx 10 years since the smoking, do you think I have any chance of working in law enforcement.

Thanks for you time,
J

Answer
Jeff,

There is no way for me to give you a "yes" or "no" answer because every police department operates independently of each other and every department has its own hiring rules and standards.  You could be dealing with scores of different departments.

I will say this about MY department. Be sure that you understand that I am talking about MY department.  Sometimes they will excuse recreational use of soft drugs but they will not tolerate hard drugs.  

In no way does that apply to any other department.

The best that I can do for you is to tell you that your prior drug use will not help your chances.

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Jack Toomey

Expertise

If you are an author I will be happy to help you however I do expect a reasonable donation using the PayPal icon. U.S.: I am an expert in this category for the purpose of giving young people an idea what the hiring process involves for the position of police officer. I am getting a flood of questions from young people who are being influenced by unrealistic television shows. I'd ask you to consider that when you watch police shows on television that they are NOT realistic and most of what you see does not happen in real life. Please do not ask me about potential jail sentences that you, your friends, or family might receive in court. There is no way for me to know that. I am NOT a probation officer so I cannot answer questions about probation and parole matters. I am a retired police officer with 26 years experience.I worked in a variety of assignments including investigations, homicide, sex crimes, runaway investigations, missing persons, and fraud.I also dealt with the general public during that time giving a wide range of advice on matters such as domestic disputes, problem solving, teenage problems, civil/criminal matters, and dealing with the mentally ill. I am available to give sound and reasonable advice which can solve most problems. Please do not ask me to do homework questions or online interviews. Young people should not rely on the Internet for interviews. Local police officers are normally very agreeable to assist students with interviews and surveys.

Experience

Worked as a police officer/detective for 26 years.

Graduate of the University of Maryland.B.S. in Law Enforcement.Attended numerous schools and training courses involving investigations, interviewing, interrogations, crime detection, domestic violence, and others. Recognized in court as an expert witness.

Received numerous awards during my police career for expert investigations. Handled the most sensitive and confidential investigations. In 1999 I won an award for my work with high school students while working in my new career in a large suburban high school.

Education/Credentials
B.S from the University of Maryland.

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