Public Safety and Law Enforcement: About Background Checks

by billnixon on July 12, 2013

You want that dream job in criminal justice, but are you ready to take a lie detector test? Are you ready for a criminal background check? Are you ready to have your feet put to the fire? Relax, most job interviews are pretty tame, but there are often several checks that employers do to make sure you’re the right employee for the job. Don’t get caught with your pants down – be prepared for your next interview.

The Application

The basic application is designed to disqualify you from the job. How? If you don’t meet the basic requirements, you’re out. The first application is quite simple, and only asks you for basic information. If you fail at this, you don’t get the job.

The Honesty Test

If you meet the basic requirements, your agency might want to call you in for an oral interview. They’ll also want you to fill out a more extensive application so that they can check your references, background, and even do a little spying on you via your neighbors.

This is where a lot of applicants blow it. They get nervous. Don’t get nervous. Just keep it honest. While each agency is a little different, most will forgive minor transgressions. If you outright falsify something, though, you can get yourself booted from the hiring process really quickly.

Criminal Background

The agency will start off by doing a criminal background check. This check is designed to determine if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony, a serious misdemeanor. or even some other hidden or undocumented crime (yes, they can figure this out).

If you have any criminal background, your chances of being hired are pretty much zero.

A Chat With Your Neighbors

The agency might also contact your neighbors. The reason for this is to assess your character and determine what type of person you are. Someone may even come to your home to speak with your spouse, roommate, or even your parents.

It can potentially be a bit invasive, but remember you’re being hired in the criminal justice system – they want to make sure you’re not one of the bad guys. They also want to make sure that you’re psychologically fit for the job.

That’s doesn’t necessarily mean they’re looking for some kind of mental health problem. Sometimes, agencies are looking for certain personality traits that might make it difficult for you to do your job. For example, maybe you’re a procrastinator. Maybe you’re not a real “attention to detail” kind of person. Perhaps you meet all of the other requirements except for the fact that you’re incredibly impatient or have poor communication skills.

Employment History

The agency will undoubtedly check your past employment. They want to know what type of employee you’ll be. Do you show up for work on time? Do you complete all details assigned to you? What’s your performance like over and above your minimum job requirements? Many agencies want to see if you’re the type of employee who will do the bare minimum, or if you’re the type who will do whatever is necessary to complete the job.


Darryl Adkins is a public safety officer of many years. He likes to share his knowledge with others on various Internet blog sites. Go to this web page to find out more on an online police masters degree.



Bill Nixon is an avid law blogger who likes to share his knowledge on various Internet blogs.

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