What Will Disqualify You From Being A Police Officer Common Disqualifiers

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All You Need To Know About Police Background Check And What Will Disqualify You From Being A Police Officer 

Law enforcement or police department is an essential part of society. It helps in maintaining harmony and restoring peace. To join the police department, you first need to fill out the application, pass a written exam, clear a health and fitness test, go through an interview and join the police academy.

If you clear all of that then comes a background check which is hard to clear for most of the candidates.

To ensure that the prospective police candidates have moral courage and a clear history of carrying the badge and a gun; undergoes through a strict background check. The background checks consists of criminal records, previous employment, educational details and personal information about family and friends.

What Will Disqualify You From Being A Police Officer

You need to know that the investigation starts from the time you fill out the application form and follows along through the whole process. So, if there are changes made in your life like a change in mobile number or address or anything information that was mentioned in the application form do inform the agency. It will give a good impression of a responsible citizen and save your time from hustling back and forth by during the investigation.

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Police Background Check: What Do They Look For?

These are the main areas of police background check investigation.

Friends and Family:

For some people, it is uncomfortable when their personal space is being invaded. You need to know that police background checks will invade that personal space. The police investigators visit your current residence and your hometown to meet with your family and friends. Asks questions about you and your nature. It would be best if you informed your friends beforehand about the background check investigation to avoid any inconvenience.


The investigators will obtain high school and college transcripts to verify the educational information as listed on the application. They might interview some of your former teachers and classmates to check if there were any disciplinary issues.


Your previous history about employment is collected; job title, the time duration of the employment, and reasons why you stopped working for them. If the response is positive, then that is a plus point if you are fired more than once then that can cause you trouble in getting the job.

Criminal Record:

Felony convictions can make it impossible for you to move forward in the hiring process. You need to have a clear record if you are going to apply for the police department. If you have committed that goes unnoticed before it is better not to hide it as it will eventually come out in the investigation process. Any domestic violence, even a misdemeanor, will prohibit you from carrying a firearm and thus becoming a law enforcement officer.

Credit History:

Financial history is reviewed to ensure a candidate is financially responsible. It reviles if you have a trustworthy and accountable person. It is also done to confirm if you have any debt left, which can indicate that in future, there could be a chance of bribery.

Drug Abuse:

Drug abuse is one of the significant disqualifying reasons. However, tolerance greatly varies on individual departments. It also depends on the drug, its quantity, and the duration when it was taken.


Police Background Checks Disqualifiers.

The areas covered by the police employment background check deal with almost all spheres of your life. There are some of the things which will not let you become an police officer.

Here is a list of top police background investigation disqualifiers that agencies look for when hiring a new law enforcement officer.

  • Felony convictions
  • Serious misdemeanors
  • Current drug use or past drug abuse
  • Dishonorable discharge from the military service
  • Poor credit history
  • History of domestic violence
  • Poor Driving Records
  • Unreported past crimes
  • Past or current gang affiliations
  • Poor employment record
  • Incorrect, false or incomplete information is given on the application form

Felony Convictions

Criminal history check is one of the cornerstones of the police background check. It is pretty much clear that if there is any felony conviction present in your records, the application process stops there. If the crime is not that damaging a guilty plea might help you in becoming a law enforcement officer. However, it is crucial to remember that some crimes are characterized differently in different jurisdictions.

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Serious Misdemeanors

In general, falconry are pretty clear-cut; however, misdemeanors are a little cloudy. There is no fixed definition, it changes from agency to agency, but crimes like DUI convictions (driving under the influence), assault and perjury or some immoral behavior like violence or theft may disqualify a candidate.

Past Or Current Drug Use

The employees and job applicants must be drug-free. Some of the agencies have become more forgiving of the past drug use if mentioned that it was for experimental use only for a short period. This rule is also applied to ’ marijuana’ and other lesser drugs. However, any use of cocaine, hallucinogens, or ecstasy will usually be a disqualifier in many cases.

Dishonourable Discharge From Military Service

Military service is valued by all the departments, especially law enforcement and criminal justice. The honorable discharge will be pleasant as the law enforcement agencies will appreciate your services. Still, a dishonorable discharge from the military is a top disqualifier from the police background check. The dishonorable discharge is when an active militant commits a serious offence which is an automatic disqualifier for law enforcement.

Poor Credit History

The agencies are not interested in your credit, but they are more interested whether or not you are fulfilling your obligations. A good credit history shows that you are responsible, and your life is financially smooth. Still, a poor credit history shows that you are irresponsible makes poor decisions or a failure to meet financial obligations. For law enforcement agencies, this is a bad sign as in the future it could lead to bribery.

History Of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence stands in complete contrast to the values and responsibilities of a law enforcement officer. The public will never trust an officer with a history of domestic violence. If any incident appears in the record, the candidate will be disqualified, and the agency will likely ban the person.

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Poor Driving Records

Minor driving mistakes are common amongst the drivers- no one can drive like Michael Schumacher. However, severe or repeated driving offences show recklessness and disregard for the law, which are high unaspirated qualities of an officer. Some of the issues that might let you off are prior driver license suspensions, multiple moving violations, reckless driving convictions or DUI, excessive speeding citations.

Unreported Past Crimes

Humans are not perfect. People make mistakes. Some go noticed, and some are not. If a candidate has committed a crime in the past but got arrested for that, the crime eventually comes out during an investigation process. These crimes are severe convictions for the agencies, and candidates might get disqualified for it.

Past Or Current Gang Affiliations

The criminal affiliation means that a candidate performed severe illegal activities. The agencies disqualify the person right at the spot when it is found in the background history as they cannot take a candidate who has tendencies of breaking the laws.

Poor Employment Record

Employment history is always with you no matter where you are working. The employment records show what type of jobs you had before and what kind of employee you were. A poor recommendation can be explained as a personality conflict or a bad job fit. A pattern of consistent unbearable behavior like laziness, wrong amplitude, and poor relation with coworkers will disqualify you from the hiring process.

Incorrect, False Or Incomplete Information Given On The Application Form

Candidate must mention the correct details and be as honest and forthcoming as possible. False or incomplete information gives rise to red flags that agencies cannot ignore. It will automatically mean that you are hiding something. Honesty and integrity are the two fundamental principles of the law enforcement agencies, so they keep an eye on applicants through this process. If anything fishy is caught, you can most likely get disqualified.

Some other disqualifiers can be tattoos, depending on the type and how visible they are. It is always better to ask the department you are applying for or a friend who has applied or work in the agency.

The rules mentioned above are almost similar for LAPD and NYPD and many other agencies present in the United States of America.

The details as mentioned earlier and criteria will help you in understanding whether you are eligible for applying to a law enforcement agency or not. In conclusion, it is essential to know that background investigations are an integral part of hiring. It is recommended not to hide past mistakes and run from but be open about it on the contrary – there is still a chance that the evaluation is in your favour. However, if you think you have committed serious crimes, and there is no chance of getting through the process, it is better to look for another line of work and not lose hope.

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