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Instant Disqualifications?

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Posted about 8 years ago


Like many of you I have been scouring the police department’s websites looking for any openings.  There seems to be a vast array of “things you have done” that may or may not disqualify you from becoming an officer.  For example; one place said “no drug experimentation ever”.  Then another said “marijuana usage no more than three months before applying”.  I was wondering if there were any actual “standards” out there.

Let’s say someone, not mentioning any names here – managed to go 32 years without trying any drugs whatsoever but then for some reason smoked a tiny, little, modest, petite amount of pot at a party one night.  Being that this happened to this person 4 years ago now, is that a big no-no if said person were to take a polygraph and spill his or her guts about it?

I assume there are things most people have done that are pretty miniscule, that does not necessarily make them on the most wanted list – is this generally accepted in applying for a police job?



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Rate This | Posted about 8 years ago


While there is no “universal” list of disqualifications, you can look to your respective states Police Board, in the case of Florida it would be the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice and Standards Commission or for California; POST (Police Officer Standards and Training), both of whom set the bar for what is a go/no-go from the outside.


In most cases: any felony, drug use while in a LE position, any drug sales/distribution, domestic violence conviction, chronic drug use, misconduct on certification state exams and a few other issues.


It is ultimately up to the selecting agency if they want to set the bar higher than the state may do.


When it comes to drugs, what an agency will look at (under the mandated guidelines) is type of drug, frequency and time since last use. Hard drugs (cocaine, heroin and others) are looked down upon and in most cases will DQ you, while soft drugs (marijuana) if use was “experimental” and was several years ago should not be an issue. Now not to get onto a high horse, but I have always detested the term “experimental drug use”; are you a Scientist in a lab doing some experiment to find the cure to cancer or are you at a party and choose to ingest an illegal drug. Lets call it as it is.


Your friend may be faced with explaining why after XX years of staying on the right path they decided to smoke out; will that pressure give in once they are on the Job, after a bad day on the streets or when they vacation down in Jamaica?


When it comes to applying, give them the straight dope on the dope; if they decide it was too much or too recent, move on. If they decide it is worth giving you a pass, then good. Just don’t cover it up, lie or forget to disclose; that is a bomb you DO NOT WANT.