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Does being a little bit of a trouble maker in college mean you cant be a cop?

As a college student, I've made a few mistakes. There have been times I have had a little too much to drink and have been obnoxious, and have had a few scuffles (with frat brothers) and dumb arguments with people out on the street. At one point I used a fake ID one time, then cut it up and threw it away when my parents explained to me I couldnt be a cop if I got caught with it. I also smoked weed, but only about 5 times. I like to think that I was just young and dumb and have made strives to grow up and not do stupid crap like that anymore. Does that make me not good enough to be a cop now?
I have never driven drunk or anything like that)


  • It is going to depend. first and foremost how honest you are with the department you apply for. Secondly, have the cops ever been called for your scuffles? Ever been arrested? And how long ago was it since you smoked? All these things will be considered. Everyone has done stupid stuff, but it has to be in your past and not recently repeated. There is no short answer to this one.
  • Just be honest and forthright when you take your Polygraph screening. They aren't looking for mistakes a dumb kid made years ago, but if you lie the machine will call you on it
  • I definitely understand theres a lot of factors, every department is different, and that honesty is key. I have luckily (thank God) never been arrested or anything like that. I'm currently a junior and won't be applying until I graduate most likely. I have grown up the past year and a half, been a lot more careful about how much I drink, and plan to continue not being an idiot.
  • Let's would like a career as an LEO. Weed is illegal, so that meant use it. Completely understand. You said, "Only about 5 times"? Be honest, you know EXACTLY how many times you smoked. Drinking to the point where you fight. Also understandable. Depending where you what to go (city, county, state federal), will depend on how honest you are with a Background Investigator. IF you leave out events from your background, they will find a way to the hiring department. Depending on how long ago that happened you might get hired on with an agency. Expect at least a good 3-5 years to pass from those events for a recruiter or BI (depending on the agency) to give you consideration. You have to have a certain amount of maturity to be an LEO. Even today, there will be many people ahead of you that have not touched MJ. Big question would be, what have you done in a positive light to be an LEO?
  • The department I want to work for wont take anyone that has done/tried drugs in the last 10 years. Including pot. They take that sort of thing seriously...

    I'd keep yourself straight from now on, when I applied just for an internship, they asked me EVERYTHING. I still might not get hired and I've never done drugs or been totally drunk. Being a cop isn't as easy as everyone thinks it is. :/

    Good luck to you!
  • edited 19 Nov 2012
    I feel like I am in the same boat as you somewhat. I had several tickets for no insurance in the 90's, however, nothing recently. Anything I had was a non moving violation, no insurance, failure to pay fines etc. I wonder how much of a lecture I will get for these things that are now over 10 years old. I will apply everywhere till I get it and will pursue legal action if necessary. Keeping me out because I had some no insurance tickets over 10 years ago is ridiculous. I know of people that are 34s now who have had worse offenses leading me to believe knowing the right people matters more then then truthfullness. Don't believe me? I can post a news story in which some applicants who did not pass the physical fitness test were admitted into the academy, in the last year. These individuals were apparently close to the Deputy Chief. I only point this out to articulate that there have been people with worst criminal histories then my 10 year old no insurance tickets who became police officers.
  • I used to be a sheriff's explorer, I did some pretty stupid things and let all the stuff go to my head. Thankfully nothing criminal, but I am hoping that none of it will hold be back from being what i have always wanted to be.(LEO)
  • I have heard many different things. One cop told me if you grew up as a choir boy, you probably couldnt handle the job, others have been the complete opposite. I guess i just have to continue to grow up, not be an idiot, and do my best to be mature and responsible and try to get the job, and do it well.
  • also charger girl, i have a friend who just became a cop last year that smoked weed all the time in highschool. Not condoning it, just saying
  • edited 22 Nov 2012
    Here are my two cents for what its worth. I was told by my Sgt. after I was hired that if they wanted to hire a church choir boy they had plenty to choose from. The issue is the choir boy does not always know what to look for. As long as your record does not include anything to awful, drug use, or felonies. Good luck. Best advise be honest about everything. Honesty is what you are hired for.
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  • Thanks Dark Blue. A little bit of positive encouragement goes a long way. I hope by next year at this time I can talk on a site like this as a certified LEO.
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