Looking For a Police Job – Five Things You should Do Right Now

When looking for a Police/law enforcement job, applicants should prepare themselves months if not years in advance. Although the hiring process is shorter for some positions than others, there are basic things you can do to prepare yourself.

(1) Have a clean criminal record. Although this might seem logical, some people don’t think about police work until later in life and make bad choices in their youth. Repeated offenses, no matter how minor, can be grounds for an agency not to hire you. This is true, even though only felony convictions, is usually an automatic bar from getting most law enforcement jobs. However, if you are convicted of a crime, even a felony, all hope is not lost. Depending on the conviction, and how much time has passed since that conviction, you might be able to get second chance. One way of clearing your record is to get a pardon from the Governer or President. Since this is difficult, another option in states like New York, is to get a court to grant you what is called a Certificate Of Relief Of Civil Disabilities. This in essence will restore your rights under the law and can prevent an agency from automatically barring you from employment. It does not imply that an agency has to hire you, but it can make it easier for you to get a job. Also, youthful offender convictions are not considered criminal convictions.

(2) Start applying for jobs right now. The hiring process can sometimes take years to complete, therefore you cannot wait to the last minute to apply. This is especially true, for those of you who want to wait until after college to go into law enforcement. Also, depending on your score on the exam, it can take years before you are called for a job, if at all. In New York State, civil service exams are usually valid for four years and can be extended for a fifth year. Therefore you should apply for as many law enforcement/police jobs as you can, this will increase your chances of being hired.

(3) Get a Driver’s License and keep it clean of violations.  All police agencies require that you have a valid license before you can be hired. Also, as part of your background check your driving record will be checked for violations of the traffic laws. Blatant disregard for traffic laws will usually prevent you from being hired. Even not paying parking tickets can prevent you from being hired.

(4) Maintain a good credit score. Many agencies including the Federal Government, will not hire applicants with a bad credit score. Not paying your legal debt or having financial problems, will make you a bad candidate.

(5) Last but not least,  is getting in shape. Police work is very arduous and strenuous work, therefore you have to be in a good shape in order to make it through an academy. As part of the hiring process, you will have to pass a physical agility test. So I would recommend you consult with a doctor before you start any type of exercise activity.

Although these are not all of the things you need to do, to prepare yourself for a successful career in law enforcement, it is a good place to start. By achieving these five objectives, you are well on your way to getting a police/ law enforcement job.