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Careers: Police/Background investigation


QUESTION: I'm currently considering a career in law enforcement and I'd like to know your opinion regarding negatives I could have in my background.

1. I have used marijuana in my life. Although there's no pattern of constant use, I'd say the average would be once every month or two. I've stopped that for three years.

2. Work history: I've had four jobs plus the one I have irght now. The first job I've had I quit without giving notice, thinking it was a big company and they wouldn't care, the second I was fired from for atittude and not being fast enough(McDonald's), third I left without notice and fourth I was fired for not being a good enough salesman. Right now I have a job that I intend to keep for long and in which my boss likes me very much.

3. Neighbors: although I've never been in a fight and have always kept good relations with my neighbors, I was often involved in loud arguments with my family and it happened once or twice that my neighbor came up and asked us to quiet it down(apartment building)

Thanks for answering me, I really appreciate it.

ANSWER: Steven,

Even though you and I are in different countries I am pretty sure that Canadian police departments use the same guidelines as we do.

Your marijuana use should not be a problem  Most departments consider experimental use a non issue.

Your job history won't help you but I'd be surprised if it was a disqualifier.

The deal with the neighbors is nothing to worry about.

I hope that this helps.

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

QUESTION: I think I understated my drug use. I've used marijuana about twenty times over a period of 3 to 4 years. Would that be considered a trouble?


I can only give you the view that my department would take.  Keep in mind that there are thousands of police departments in North America.  Each department has its own hiring standards.  What I say about MY department would have no bearing with some department in Canada.

On my department a person with your history might not be automatically disqualified but it would surely not help his chances.

That is the best I can do for you.

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Jack Toomey


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.


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.

B.S from the University of Maryland.

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