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Careers: Police/Hiring disqualifiers



I am in the process of applying for a local police department and was curious about the repercussions that could occur based on my answer. The question was "Have you ever purchased an alcoholic beverage for a person you knew to be under the legal drinking age?" I have a sister who is currently 20 and we were both college kids at the same time, I'm 22. There would be certain situations where I would buy her a type of drink for family vacations or small parties. Aside from this, I have a full clean record with no previous drug usage or alcohol-related incidents as well as only two minor citations in my driving history. Would this be an incident that would constitute rejection of my application or even worse, serve as a confession leading to criminalization seeing as how it occurred within the statute of limitations time?


ANSWER: CB, like everything else in life, the devil in is the details. If I were the person dealing with your application, I wouldn't attach much significance to your past dealing with your sister, however, I'm not sure you are going to be able to explain yourself. If you do have an opportunity to explain what occurred, then I would emphasize that the situation was of a family nature, a get together where it was a common practice to allow responsible young adults to have alcoholics beverages. I can't encourage you to lie, but I would not dress this problem up with anything more than it merits. You could simply indicate in your answer that you did supply alcohol (note: the question was ",,,have you ever purchased")and take your chances. In my mind, this isn't something that suggests you wouldn't be a good officer. If anything, it suggests you are a normal American kid who was doing what everyone does...enjoys life.  Good luck.

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

QUESTION: I know this seems ridiculous, but what are the chances that it could incriminate me? Thanks for your help

CB, I think you are reading much more into this than it deserves. This isn't an inquisition. Just state that on a rare occasion, you and your sister imbibed in wine, beer, whatever and don't build on it.  What they are looking for with a question like this is whether you did things that were contrary to law. They could easily have asked you if you had ever had a few beers and drove a car.  Would you embellish your response. You did what virtually every kid did at one time or another. Put it to bed.

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Dick Rogers


I`ve spent twenty-five years in law enforcement as a state trooper and deputy sheriff. Retired as a lead homicide investigator. My interest is in answering questions dealing with ethical and moral dilemmas facing officers in the field.

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