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Become a Cop >> Browse Articles >> 10 Steps to Joining the Force for Military Service Members

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Step 8: Background Check

Step 8: Background Check

PoliceLink and Military.com

The background check may be the most invasive experience you’ve ever had in your life. Everything about you will be checked out. Your character, your finances, your driving and criminal records, to name just a few. The information here will help you prepare for the background investigation:





• Be honest and upfront

• Tell your friends and family

• The polygraph

• Security clearance basics

Be honest and upfront

The most important thing about your background check is that it be complete, accurate, and truthful. Intentionally leaving anything out or falsifying information is the kiss of death. The investigators conducting your investigation will find out. They are less concerned with some minor violation of the law then they are with the fact that you would tell them about it. They are expecting truthfulness. It is better that you tell them of a 10 year old misdemeanor arrest then them having to find out some other way.

Tell your friends and family

You probably noticed a place on your application packet to list friends, family and former neighbors. There’s a reason for that. The background investigators will be making contact with your references. And from your references people they will get the names of “secondary” references, people you didn’t list but who they find on their own.

Before your investigation begins be sure to let you for friends, family, former neighbors, and former coworkers that you are applying for a law enforcement position and that they may be contacted by an investigator. Let them know that they shouldn’t be surprised and that they should feel free to honestly answer any questions the investigators ask.

Background check and polygraph

Just about every agency out there administers a polygraph exam. They do this to verify the information you provided in the application packet is truthful and to address topics covered in the background investigation.

There is nothing fun about the polygraph. Everyone is nervous when they take one. As long as you were truthful during your interviews, in your application, and on your background investigation, you shouldn’t have anything to be worried about.

But just for the fun of it, here are the types of questions you might be asked:

• Have you ever stolen anything?

• Have you ever lied to your boss?

• Have you ever looked at child porn?

Security clearance basics

If you are applying for a federal law enforcement position there is a good chance you will also need to qualify for a federal security clearance of secret, top secret, or even higher. Having served in the military, chances are you are familiar with this process, so this should only serve as a reminder.

The security clearance background investigations will be similar to the background investigation you have already gone through. Depending on the clearance level, however, the investigation may go further back into your past (ie, 10 years into your past instead of 5 years). Just like your background investigation, answer all of these questions truthfully and fully.

Next: Fitness

Previous: Exams

© 2008, PoliceLink and Military.com


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  • Photo_user_banned_big

    zhouyun

    about 3 years ago

    158 Comments

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  • 4m_secret_squir_388_max50

    HannahClai

    over 3 years ago

    56 Comments

    Emily, I skimmed through your posts and I see that your upset about your backround being intruded upon and yet of all the posts here yours contains more about your history and present situation than anyone cared to ask.
    If you are scared of people knowing so much about you than I would suggest not relaying the information. Also there is no problem with telling truth, what it lacks sometimes is tact.

    On a different note, I am enjoying gathering the information this website has to offer and the above information was helpful.

  • Radio2_max50

    FireDad

    over 3 years ago

    7352 Comments

    Emily, one reason they check everything is that they are looking for people that they can trust when it comes to National Security. I had to go through a very thorough background check. And yes you do have to be honest with the investigators.

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    EmilyCragg

    over 3 years ago

    50 Comments

    http://youtu.be/qKX9g76ehtk

    It's clear there is nobody here who wants to speak to problems of "due process."

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    EmilyCragg

    over 3 years ago

    50 Comments

    Credibility is a two-way street. Who is man enough to talk about this?

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    EmilyCragg

    over 3 years ago

    50 Comments

    Here.
    http://youtu.be/X6tvti9um6k
    Stuff LIKE THIS is the REASON Law Enforcement has little credibility anymore.
    And I wish it were otherwise.

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    EmilyCragg

    over 3 years ago

    50 Comments

    I must say, I am enjoying this opportunity to find out from Law Enforcement, what constitutes a threat to their authority. Personally, due to the fact that I expose Federal perfidy and wrong-doing, in 2000 and 2004 there were actions to take me out by professional agents. Again in 2007 and 2010--whether from NASA/NSA/NRO I don't know but they're the ones who would be gunning for me. So, the prospect of attending my daughter's wedding 3000 miles away is very dim indeed. But I BELIEVE, if I have to tell the govt the truth about everything in my life, they have an obligation to tell me the truth; and that's the principle from which I do my work: EXPOSING official lies and deliberate perfidy. Will Law Enforcement save and protect me in this work, or am I subject to arbitrary and indifferent Law enforcement like other people? The security issue is a very live one for me, if I want to live on in Peace.

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    EmilyCragg

    over 3 years ago

    50 Comments

    Of course. A bureaucrat can ALWAYS plead ignorance of Laws' application. That is WHY NOBODY in this nation is safe anymore! Nobody.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Back_Inv

    over 3 years ago

    6 Comments

    @Emily: You can read into my comments any way you want. I only posted here to comment on the above mentioned story about background investigations for individuals who are applying for law enforcement positions. I don't work for the TSA, the State Department, NASA or the DOJ.

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    EmilyCragg

    over 3 years ago

    50 Comments

    @Back_Inv, what this says is that there is no way to know whether I'm safe or not. Interesting.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Back_Inv

    over 3 years ago

    6 Comments

    Emily: I was not trying to reply to your original statement. I was just commenting on the story. In fact I did not even read your post. I am sorry for your situation and I don't know your entire situation so I can't comment on it at all. Snowrider: On the federal level we have to give privacy to the SJ under investigation. We ask generic open ended questions. IF a source gives a response and opens the door to an issue then we can dive in and start asking as many questions as we feel are needed.

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    EmilyCragg

    over 3 years ago

    50 Comments

    In my case there is nothing to tell except what I have placed in the public already, on the internet. My record is absolutely clean of any charge. Yet, when I hear about what happens to other whistleblowers, I become concerned for my safety because revealing Federal perfidy is seen to be a threat to security, somehow.

  • Coloradologo_max600_max50

    snowrider

    over 3 years ago

    30 Comments

    Will the investigator keep some level of confidentiality when interviewing family, etc.? For example, with they be telling your Mom everything you admitted to that they don't know about and asking if it is true? LOL

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    EmilyCragg

    over 3 years ago

    50 Comments

    Back_Inv, you have not answered any question of mine. And that seems to be the conduct of agencies is not to answer questions, not to reassure fears, not to allow people their lives and their thoughts. I work alone because my family and friends have abandoned me in terror of what might happen. They realize the penalties of telling truth too much; and I realize the karma and outcome of telling the truth too little. I am reluctant to show up at any airport, any station, any stadium, out of the fear that knowing what is true is a threat to the corporate powers that be.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Back_Inv

    over 3 years ago

    6 Comments

    I conduct background ground investigations for the federal government and the above article is very good. The number one thing to remember is to be honest. If we find out about it and you did not tell us it looks worse for you. You can let your friends and family know we may interview them but we will also try to develop sources on our own because why would we want to just talk to people that you are friends with.

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