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Part 3 - The Application

Deputy Bob Cooley

First, and this is quite obvious, go to the agency or agencies you’re interested in applying and obtain an application. Please do yourself a favor, ask for more than one preferably three application forms. If you make mistakes and you only have one you’re going to feel very foolish when you have to go back and ask for another. Don’t use “whiteout!” Fill out one of the applications as a guide for yourself to be used when you transfer the information to the “final” copy you plan to submit to the agency. Remember the “worksheet” tax forms you can use while doing your taxes, same reason here. It’s better to make mistakes on the “practice application” than your final draft.

Second, read each question carefully! Many people breeze through the questions too fast in their excitement and make mistakes. Read and read again each question if necessary before you answer. Write down your answers in pencil on the practice copy that way if you do make a mistake or want to change something just go back and erase.

Third, now that you have completed the “practice application” it’s time to move on to the final copy that you’re going to submit. If you know how to type by all means type the application unless the instructions tell you to write the answers in your own hand! If you don’t type find someone who does and is willing to help you. Here is another reason for the “practice application.” The person doing the typing will have an easier job (unless they can’t read your handwriting) by simply taking the information from one page and typing it on the other. But, what if you can’t type and you don’t find anyone to type it for you? PRINT the answers to the questions on the application. When I’ve worked on applications for prospective law enforcement officers for my own agency I like to see the answers clearly written whether it be on a typewriter or printed. It will slow the process down if the person assigned to the background investigation can’t read the answers to some of the questions and then they have to call you for clarification.

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Fourth, contact family, friends and coworkers at your current job who you plan to use as references and tell them that you have applied to become a Law Enforcement Officer and you would like to name them as a reference. Some people would prefer not to be used as a reference for whatever reason so give them a chance to say no. It is a common courtesy for the reference to know that they will receive a call about you. And, you should ask your references if there is a convenient time for the background investigator to call them where they have a better chance of making contact.

Fifth, when filling out your application and you’ve come to the part of your past and present work history follow the instructions for the information that the agency is seeking. I’ve seen applications that list a persons complete work history taking the reader all the way back to when the applicant was a teenager. This would only apply if the person was in their early twenties and the work history was not extensive. Typically an application will ask for the work history from your current and three to five of your most recent employers. If the background investigator assigned your application needs more employment information then supply the additional information he/she will need. This also applies to any information the background investigator may require.

Sixth, watch those application deadlines! Post a note to yourself in a convenient place to remind you of the application deadline. I have watched as prospective applicants walk through the doors to our agency after a deadline has passed only to be told “sorry, but the deadline for filing applications was last week.” Please don’t let yourself fall into this trap and this goes for open examinations for larger agencies that hold examination sessions. Memorize the deadline date if you have to!

Seventh, and this is the most important, answer the questions truthfully to the very best of your knowledge and belief. I have conducted background investigations where the applicant has lied and at our agency that’s grounds for immediate disqualification. Be sure to answer all of the questions as fully as possible and if you come to one that needs further clarification be sure to bring it to the attention of the agency representative when you turn it back in.

Eighth, be prepared to have your fingerprints taken as well as a photograph for submission to the various agencies that will be contacted as part of your background investigation. At the very least you’re looking at a set of fingerprints for the FBI, the state police and the agency you’re applying to. If you’re ex-military a set for your branch of service may need a copy of your fingerprints as part of the verification process.

Applications are different for each agency and I can’t possibly address each and every question an application may contain. Our application clearly states, “Should you have any questions regarding this application do not hesitate to contact this office for clarification. Personnel staff will take whatever time is necessary to explain any part of the application which you do not fully understand.” If you have questions about any part of an application then by all means call or go by the agency and seek clarification.

Continue To Part 4: The Written Pre-Employment Examination >>


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    jmcninch

    over 6 years ago

    4 Comments

    yes i what to become a cop

  • Hey_max50

    sassyt

    over 6 years ago

    4 Comments

    i want to start the process and trianing to become one im ready.....

  • Hey_max50

    sassyt

    over 6 years ago

    4 Comments

    i want to become a police officer today!!!

  • El_chulo_max50

    Eladio08

    over 6 years ago

    10 Comments

    i want to become a police officer!!!

  • Dscf1683_max50

    bbkanee

    over 6 years ago

    26 Comments

    someone want to help me out here? this article makes it sound like you have to have a lot of job experience to be a police officer. can you be accepted into a law enforcement agency right out of college if you majored in Criminology or criminal law?

    this article helps but im still way confused about how exactly i become a cop and what EXACTLY i have to do somebody want to help me out?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    joe72219

    over 6 years ago

    2 Comments

    i suffer from pkd i was born with this and my kidneys are still working fine but i was still told that it might hinder my chances ot become an officer, is this true?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    olaf

    over 6 years ago

    2 Comments

    I've been searching for an applycation for any Law Enforcement job.And I really want to be a police officer.So please,would you help me make my dream come true.I hope I would be like my dad, he's a Lieutenant for the American Samoan Police Department.

  • 222470a4_max50

    rony

    over 6 years ago

    2 Comments

    I wanna be a police officer, can you help me

  • 128846014394059542_max50

    ValyCop

    over 6 years ago

    216 Comments

    Folks please do not post your questions here, post them in "Law Enforcement Careers." Your questions will be answered there.

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    fredgordon

    over 6 years ago

    2 Comments

    I have one misdemeanor will that hurt me

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    hotrodjay2013

    over 6 years ago

    10 Comments

    Some of the material needs more explanation!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    MrsWhite

    over 6 years ago

    4 Comments

    i like how they break it down for me

  • Erase_max50

    bribit99

    over 6 years ago

    204 Comments

    I would take your address out and all of that stuff!

  • Erase_max50

    bribit99

    over 6 years ago

    204 Comments

    john crowder, friendly advice: i suggest spell checking your application! and bud...this is a PUBLIC place, now I can bring you flowers personally to your door, be careful!

  • Photo_user_banned_big

    Offroader21

    over 6 years ago

    1740 Comments

    I am looking to be a police officer in Glendale Arizona and this does help out alot to explain some of the application and process. I hope to join my brothers in arms very soon. My first Physical and Written test is in the next 2 Days.

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