Careers: Police/Eligibility


First and Foremost, Thank you so much for taking the time to read and consider my questions.  I appreciate it.

I am a 38 year old woman considering a career change into Law Enforcement.  I have always had an interest in the field since I earned my 4 year degree (in another field) 20 years ago.  As I research the career and my potential to actually become an officer, I have come across a few questions regarding eligibility.

First, I am 38...I realize this may or may not prove a hindrance?  Do you forsee it being  a huge obstacle if otherwise I am physically fit and score well on all other department tests?  By the time I get around to applying, I foresee a year to two years passing due to the additional schooling I will need (unless I can become a cadet in an academy).

Second, Drug Use...last time I did a drug the police department seems to care about-that I researched (Speed, Heroin, LSD) was over 10 years ago...once or twice only...will this matter and if so, should I say so for only a once or two time thing...

Finally, I have Bi-Polar 2 has not played any type of disability role in my life, other than I making sure I stay on medication to monitor my low times...will I be ruled out during the psychological phase of recruitment due to my mental illness?

Thank you for taking the time to consider my questions.

Hello Jaime,
Interesting set of questions...
I should tell you, that Human Resources is not my field of expertise.
That said, maybe I can offer you a few considerations, that you can find helpful.

First, the drug use....generally, it isn't the drug use in and of itself that would raise a red flag, it would be at a time in life (late 20s) when more responsible choices should be made...It's all about choices.
That may be difficult for a recruiter to over look...But, who knows....?

'judgement, honesty, maturity, potential etc...what the agency is looking "character"...wherein decisions that are wise, are something to entertain.

Agencies will ALWAYS decide personnel matters for their own interests, as it should be...The candidate who can pony up the best/most attributes, KSA's (knowledge, skills, abilities) will likly be favored as an attractive candidate.
Remember, during challenging economic times, there is an exacerbated pool of employee potential...along with many Veterans, who already get ''Vet.preference points"

Your age, is the least of concerns in my view....In the agency I spent a career at, I remember a guy 50 years of age, going through the academy.....
Strange, but the only law enforcement agencies that can legally age discriminate....are federal agencies. You can't have attained your 37th birthday, to be considered.

Some local and state agencies require a 2 or in a few places, a 4 year degree...but mostly, a HS diploma is the minimum level accepted...higher education, is a bonus.

Good written and oral communications skills are always a feature to advance.

Your disability issues are something difficult...agencies see cost/liability.....especially in public safety agencies...
The laws may say these medical challenges are not to be considered....but stated law v. real world, are not always synonyms.

Look, if you were kin of mine, I'd give you the same counsel......Consider employment into REGULATORY positions...There are gobs of them, local, state and fed....they may not be as flashy as street cop stuff, but they are good jobs, challenging, and it puts you into the machine of attendant opportunities.
It's always easier to make a lateral 'adjustment' than be an 'outsider' nose pressed against the window.

These jobs run a wide range of interests.
With what you have just might be a better fit for you. Remember, even though your slice of responsibility is narrow, you'll have ''police powers'' in that slice.

Also, it is routine, to polygraph applicants....and not unusual to take questions based on what you entered on your application, or responded to in an interview...the honest and truthful.

Hope this 'off-the-top response is helpful...
Good Luck,
Semper Fi

Careers: Police

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Loren Stevens


Retired after 31 years in a large metropolitan PD. Areas of expertise: COVERT OPERATIONS. Management, Administration, Inspections, U/C development, Project design, Ethics, and other related sub topics in COVERT OPERATIONS.


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