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View Full Version : Reasons for not getting accepted as a cop



kaitie
06-23-2010, 01:38 PM
I'm wondering what kind of things a person could get turned down from the police academy for. I have a character who tried a couple of times but didn't make it in. I know color blindness is one, though I'm not sure that's going to be it. It's conceivable, though.

Could you be turned down based on psych screening? If so, what sort of reasons would be behind it? He could probably pass physical requirements, though if there are conditions that could disqualify someone that's where I'd like to go if possible. Asthma, for instance. Any ideas?

Elle
06-23-2010, 01:49 PM
An unclean background check would certainly not weigh in his favor.
He could fail the written civil service exam, physical exam (tests agility, strength, vision, and hearing), drug test, lie detector test, interview with the police department, and sometimes a personality test.

citymouse
06-23-2010, 02:25 PM
Interestingly enough a poor credit report can nix the application.

I have a friend who managed to get in but she was way too old (49) to keep up with the younger students in the physical endurance parts. She also a poor shot on the gun range. The poor woman couldn't hit the floor with a shotgun.

The psychological tests also weed out those who want to serve from the wannabes who have power issues as well as gun/uniform fetishes.
C

shaldna
06-23-2010, 03:17 PM
failing the fitness test/medical or written exam. failing the background checks.

not really relevant but because of the 50/50 policy here in northern irelend (50% of the PSNI should be protestant and 50% should be catholic or 'other') many good people are turned away after passing all teh entrance requirements etc because they fall on the wrong side of the 50/50 divide. it's political correctness and equal opportunity policy gone mad because it's discriminating against people who are a member or a majority.

kaitie
06-23-2010, 04:36 PM
See, unfortunately there's no way he wouldn't pass a background check. He's squeaky clean and has never been in trouble. He also has money because he inherited some big government settlements, so I don't think he'd have credit problems. Physically he'll be fine. This is someone who's done martial arts since he was about twelve and is in very good shape.

The psych thing might be an issue. His reasoning for wanting to be a cop is that he wants to help people. He's almost obsessive about this idea (okay, no almost about it), but it really is completely selfless. It tends to come off as very naive or people think he's full of shit because no one's really that good. So I could definitely see that setting off some alarm bells.

shaldna
06-23-2010, 04:42 PM
do they have a written entrance test in the states?

here's a 7 stage assessment process, including written elements, medical/physical, whole day assessments and roleplays etc.

Cyia
06-23-2010, 05:03 PM
There are specific eye problems that he could have. Some people can see perfect with both eyes, but not with each individually (or vice versa).

If he were to injure his predominate hand and have to use the other for a while, it could trash his accuracy with a weapon.

If he's in shape, but something makes him perform poorly on the day of the fitness test.

If he dated the captain's (instructor's) daughter in high school and made her cry.

If he parks in the captain's spot by accident.

If he slams into the captain's car.

RJK
06-23-2010, 05:07 PM
First step is U.S. citizenship. At least age 21. No criminal history. Civil Service exam establishes eligibility list, if you don't pass, you're done here. If you're selected from the top of the list, they do a background check, including credit check. passing that, you get written psychological tests and interview with psychologist. passing that, you get a complete physical (they pay particular attention to your back, because that's the most common police injury). Then you are hired as a probationary officer. You must complete the academy, passing all courses, including constitutional, penal, and criminal procedures law; physical training, non-lethal arms and firearms training; and dozens of other courses. Following the academy, you complete the remainder of your first year as a probationary, under training. Finally, you become a State certified police officer.

AnnieColleen
06-23-2010, 05:08 PM
One person I know of made it in, but got booted because he was at a bar with friends, things got rowdy (he wasn't involved), and he left rather than reporting it.

Someone else made it in and got hurt in training (sprained ankle I think?). They would have let him 'recycle' to a later class - any time within the next two years. (But then circumstances changed and he decided not to.) So an injury with persistent effects might do it?

autumnleaf
06-23-2010, 05:15 PM
Physically he'll be fine. This is someone who's done martial arts since he was about twelve and is in very good shape.


A guy I know failed the physical because he was 2 points below the minimum level for the hearing test. He was in v good shape (regular at the gym). He had no idea up to then that anything was wrong with his hearing, so obviously it was ok for everyday tasks.

Synovia
06-23-2010, 05:53 PM
See, unfortunately there's no way he wouldn't pass a background check. He's squeaky clean and has never been in trouble. He also has money because he inherited some big government settlements, so I don't think he'd have credit problems. Physically he'll be fine. This is someone who's done martial arts since he was about twelve and is in very good shape.

The psych thing might be an issue. His reasoning for wanting to be a cop is that he wants to help people. He's almost obsessive about this idea (okay, no almost about it), but it really is completely selfless. It tends to come off as very naive or people think he's full of shit because no one's really that good. So I could definitely see that setting off some alarm bells.


Maybe he screws up in the exams or scenarios/drills by putting someone else's wellfare in front of his own... IE, he gets "shot" by the instructor pretending to be a broken down motorist, or he answers one of the questions in a manner that puts himself in danger.

auntybug
06-23-2010, 06:14 PM
Hubs had a back surgery after getting out of the Coast Guard. He knew he would no longer qualify to go back to the force. (I was not so secretly happy about it. :D)

I had a cousin denied because of his myspace page. Can't say specifics about what was there but it was enough that they didn't want him. He is a fireman instead though.

I also had a friend on Maui that was denied placement on the police force... wish I could remember which physical thing that kept him out. Some help I am - sorry! It was 20 years ago... He was able to also join the Fire Department though then slip onto the force after 2 years. Funny to make rules only to make a way around them...

Hope any of that helps.
ab

kaitie
06-23-2010, 06:16 PM
That's an interesting thought. He definitely would put someone else's welfare before his own. This is one of those things where I wish I could get ahold of the test and see what they were looking for. :tongue

The eyesight or hearing things are good, too. He's got wonky genetics, so something like that is definitely plausible.

Gretad08
06-23-2010, 06:38 PM
I have a family member that's been trying to get hired by a prominent government agency. He was supposedly on the fast track to a position, but something happened with paperwork. When they got it straight they came to him and said it would only be another week or so.

In the meantime, his wife was complaining on Facebook. "It's taking so long." "I don't know why they can't get it together?" "What's their problem?" etc.etc.

Eventually they came to him and said "If you want this to happen, get her to control her mouth."

Once she stopped, they finally gave him a position, but I think that held things up at least another month.

AnnieColleen
06-23-2010, 06:59 PM
Also, not police-related, but high blood pressure that was apparently white coat syndrome nearly kept somebody I know out of the Air Force Academy. Gymnast, in very good shape. That might work for your guy.

kaitie
06-23-2010, 07:03 PM
Daaaang. That's insane! I'm starting to lean toward the hearing loss thing. I'm thinking maybe he's partially deaf in one ear. It wouldn't really affect his work and it's something no one else would necessarily know unless he told them, but would prevent him from getting taken on.

efreysson
06-23-2010, 07:10 PM
The psychological tests also weed out those who want to serve from the wannabes who have power issues

They do?

kaitie
06-23-2010, 07:16 PM
I'm under the impression that's a main reason. There are a lot of people who want to be police officers for negative reasons, such as it gives them control over others. You don't want an egomaniac cop, for instance.

Dawn Hebein
06-23-2010, 07:29 PM
There are specific eye problems that he could have. Some people can see perfect with both eyes, but not with each individually (or vice versa).


One such problem is called a nystagmus, and that why *I* wasn't accepted to the police academy years ago. It hinders depth perception (I can't target a gun to save my life because of it). It interferes with driving, espeically in bad weather. I even have trouble reading those menus on the wall like at MacDonalds and Panera.

Activiites that require hand/eye coordination are a challenge, but not impossible. Close range is good. I could do martial arts just fine (took a class in college) but the distance thing is bad. No ball playing of any kind, etc.

Anyway, don't know if that'll help or not...

scarletpeaches
06-23-2010, 07:30 PM
Being ugly, having a small truncheon or not liking doughnuts.

shaldna
06-23-2010, 08:12 PM
A guy I know failed the physical because he was 2 points below the minimum level for the hearing test. He was in v good shape (regular at the gym). He had no idea up to then that anything was wrong with his hearing, so obviously it was ok for everyday tasks.


I have a friend who didn't know she was blind in one eye until she was 19. she just assumed that everyone's vision was like that.

citymouse
06-23-2010, 08:57 PM
efreysson, Yes the tests are designed to catch power seekers. And yes there are those who seek to beef up their egos with uniforms and guns. The woman I wrote about and I were walking by an outdoor cafe. She was lamenting her lack of romance and sex. A city police woman walked by. She was checking over due parked cars. We watched as later a car filled with young men passed nearby The men whistled at the cop. My friend emailed me a week later saying that she had decided to enroll in the police academy so as to fulfill her life long dream of being a cop.
As I said earlier she didn't qualify on the pistol range. Another life long dream shattered by cruel circumstance! :)
C


They do?

JulieHowe
06-24-2010, 01:35 AM
I'm wondering what kind of things a person could get turned down from the police academy for. I have a character who tried a couple of times but didn't make it in. I know color blindness is one, though I'm not sure that's going to be it. It's conceivable, though.

Could you be turned down based on psych screening? If so, what sort of reasons would be behind it? He could probably pass physical requirements, though if there are conditions that could disqualify someone that's where I'd like to go if possible. Asthma, for instance. Any ideas?

My suggestion: consider giving your character a previously undiagnosed heart condition which can't be treated by medication.

kaitie
06-24-2010, 06:34 AM
That might be too dangerous. I could, but I feel like if I do that, I need to use it. Sort of like the gun on the mantle, if that makes sense. I don't intend to actually kill him this way, and a heart condition would have a lot more problems because the line of work he's currently doing is much more strenuous than what he'd face as a cop.

Chasing the Horizon
06-24-2010, 06:20 PM
My suggestion: consider giving your character a previously undiagnosed heart condition which can't be treated by medication.
He could have a minor heart murmur. That's what happened to one of the characters in my contemporary fantasy; he was turned down by the Coast Guard because he had a tiny heart murmur. It doesn't negatively affect his health in any way, and he becomes a city paramedic instead. I know the 'no negative health affects' part is accurate because my mom has the same thing and it never affected her, though according to her doctor it did put her at a slightly higher risk of getting a cardiac infection if bacteria was introduced into her blood stream.

I know the military will turn people down for all kinds of dumb reasons that don't affect people's lives, so I figured a heart murmur would be a good enough reason. Not sure if the police are quite as anal, though.

Rowan
06-25-2010, 04:02 AM
I'm wondering what kind of things a person could get turned down from the police academy for. I have a character who tried a couple of times but didn't make it in. I know color blindness is one, though I'm not sure that's going to be it. It's conceivable, though.

Could you be turned down based on psych screening? If so, what sort of reasons would be behind it? He could probably pass physical requirements, though if there are conditions that could disqualify someone that's where I'd like to go if possible. Asthma, for instance. Any ideas?

There are a lot of reasons, but it varies by jurisdiction (and from state to fed, etc.). Failing a psych or physical will disqual you... asthma is a gray area. Some departments even have height requirements! And of course there's the background investigation. :) RJK pretty much covered it.