The requirements to become a police officer is pretty strict nationwide. You cannot have been convicted of a felony, you cannot have been dishonorable discharged from the military, and you cannot have been convicted of domestic battery.
If you have any of the three that I’ve just mentioned, you will be disqualified from the selection process… PERIOD.
I get all of sorts of emails regarding past indiscretion of people who want to go into law enforcement. One of the more popular questions are about past drug use. Many local police agencies are pretty lax when it comes to past drug use.
Unless you are a serial drug user, or you’ve used two months before you submitted your application you won’t get canned. However there are some agencies that won’t let you continue if you’ve used narcotics within the past 2 years so it really depends on the agency.
Minor convictions like jaywalking, public intoxication, driving offenses, and other misdemeanor convictions may or may not be a problem depending on the agency. I’ve known of people who were hired even though they were arrested for minor offenses involving alcohol while they were in college or the military. So don’t think getting arrested is an automatic disqualification because it’s not. I know Austin PD have a laundry list of things that can can disqualified you, but typically that’s not adopted by every agency.
Having a misdemeanor conviction on your criminal background won’t necessarily disqualify you from the hiring process, but it will put you at a disadvantage with other applicants who have squeaky clean records. I’d recommend that you disclose the conviction on your initial job application even if you’ve gotten it expunged from your record.
Other common questions that I get all by time via email is “can I become a cop if I was arrested?” The answer is it all depends on what you were arrested for, and if you were convicted for it. Being arrested and being convicted is two different things. However you must know that you will be disqualified if you have a pending case. Meaning if the case is on-going, you won’t be allowed to continue until the case is resolved.
This is another popular questions and the answer is a big fat NO. You won’t get hired as a police officer if you are a convicted felon. There is no way an agency will hire you if you have a felony conviction on your criminal background. Sorry, but it just won’t happen so look for another career.
In conclusion make sure to contact the recruiting department of the agency you are interested in if you have any questions regarding your criminal background.