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Getting Hired: It’s About the Patterns

Getting Hired:  It’s About the Patterns

Dr. Richard Weinblatt, Ed.D.

Through all of the law-enforcement hiring articles, emails, and discussions I’ve been involved with, one thing has become clear: a person’s ability to be hired is not in the stars. It’s in the patterns you can read in their lives, and police chiefs, sheriffs, and the recruiters and background investigators that work with them, are looking for those patterns. The best way to get hired is to develop patterns of positive behavior in your academic record, your job history, your financial life, and more. We’ll show you how to do it.

Simply put: agencies are looking for patterns of responsibility and patterns of irresponsibility. More specifically, they want all of the end documentation in the file to reflect a pattern of responsibility. That pattern can emerge in one area; though it is preferred to see it in multiple facets of an applicant’s life. Larger agencies tend to have tougher requirements than smaller agencies where the applicant pool may not be as plentiful.

Academic Patterns

A red flag that I’ve seen many times is an academic transcript riddled with “F”s. Even worse, an academic record with lots of dropped classes can indicate a pattern of giving up when faced with difficulty. On the flipside, “A”s aren’t necessary (although they are nice to have), but a pattern of “A”s and “B”s shows someone who consistently gives their best effort and does not give up on a task.

Job Stability

One recent applicant I came across had some 23 jobs in 26 years. Some of those slots were held for barely a month. Allowances are often made for applicants who have spent time in industries with high turnover, such as the construction and restaurant industries, but job stability is an important pattern to display.

Military Service

The quality of military service and the type of discharge given to a military veteran applicant are also examined. Standard applications require a copy of the DD-214. Many police chiefs, sheriffs, and police recruiters are military veterans, and they understandably take military evaluations, commendations, and discharge paperwork very seriously. An applicant’s military records will be given extra scrutiny to ensure there are no inconsistencies in comparison with other portions of the background investigation.

Financial Responsibility

Debt, in and of itself, is not an issue, but failure to make regular payments shows up as a red flag. To keep up with payments shows a pattern of living up to one’s word and legal obligations.

Driving Record

Driving has gained a new level of importance as governmental entities face pressure from their insurance carriers. Police officers, deputy sheriffs, and state troopers spend more time behind the wheel of potentially lethal vehicles than in any other high-liability area. An applicant’s driving record has been used in many cases as the deal breaker that cost an applicant the conditional job offer.

Criminal Record

Likewise, a criminal record—even a minor one—will bode poorly for the aspiring badge bearer. Because felons are prohibited by law from possessing firearms, most states, such as Florida, stop the process if even one felony pops up. Some agencies may be open to misdemeanor transgressions, especially if they are honestly disclosed during the application process and happened some time ago, but all of that goes out of the window if the incident is repeated several times.

Drug Use

Minor drug usage follows the same line of thinking. Again, agencies are looking for a pattern. However, even the single use of a serious drug, like cocaine, may disqualify the applicant in some jurisdictions.

An honest self-appraisal of patterns you may have, along with a behavior adjustment to halt the bad ones and highlight the good ones, will enhance your chances of being hired by the agency of your choice. Thus the answer, oh job applicant, is not in the stars: it is in the patterns.

Get started with the education you need to land a law enforcement career today

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    Good stuff, great info!!

  • Jen1_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Thanks for the info!

  • Explorer_mourning_badge_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    always something good to hear to keep yourself in check! thanks for, yet again, another great artice!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago


    Thanks for the tip

  • Img00099-20100827-0929_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Now, since the economy is in the crapper, how important would fiancial responsibility rank in the near future? I only ask because I am an independent truck driver (at the time being) and the industry that I use to make great money in, now am losing in. I just wonder if sticking it out through the storm would only postpone the enevidable... Any insite, comments, or just support would bemost appreciated.

  • Michelelellelellelellellelellellelleloellele_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Thats Whats Up!!!

  • P1010029_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Thank you for this article, really helpfull

  • Vivian_alone_max50


    over 6 years ago


    I rank amongst the pattern that has been given, so I know now that I have "stayed on the right track". Good information. Thnx

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 6 years ago

    My patterns are consistent and are exactly where they should be, I'm happy about it.

  • Picture_017_max50


    over 6 years ago


    This is VERY helpful! Thanks!

  • Az_hp_plymouth_fury_max50


    over 6 years ago


    This is what I currently do for the Department (recruiting and sworn selection) and Dr. Weinblatt hit the nail right on the head!

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