Part of Lesson Plan: The Police Officer - The Application & Hiring Process
Activity Overview / Details
In many ways this is the most difficult portion of the process. You are given a packet that is similar to the application you filled out earlier, but much more detailed. You will be asked questions about your life, your education, you hobbies, your previous employment, where you have lived, your military record, and your credit. You will be asked to give references including contact numbers and addresses.
Your first step should be to read all of the questions in the packet carefully. If you have any uncertainty as to what information is being requested, ask the agency's representative for clarification.
Your next step should be to photocopy the blank background investigation packet at least once. You will use the photocopied packet to assemble the required information. Always verify addresses, dates, times. Make sure that references names are spelled correctly. Call your personal references to let them know that you would like to use them as references. If they agree, tell them that they can expect to be contacted by the department.
When the packet is complete copy it over, as neatly as you can, into the packet that you will be submitting. Make sure that it is neat, legible, that all words are spelled correctly and that sentences are grammatically correct. Above all, be truthful. Photocopy the completed packet and keep the copy. It is not unusual for an applicant to apply to more than one department. Departments collaborate. If the packet that you gave to Hayward says that you worked for the Coca Cola Bottling Company from 2009 to 2011, then the one that you turn into Fremont should say the same thing. Inconsistency will look like carelessness at best and deception at worst.
Submit the completed packet in person. If the person receiving the packet starts to look through it, wait patiently for any questions that he or she may have.
Let's revisit the questions in the packet. First they want to know your name. Give the name that you use on legal documents such as your driver's license. They will ask you if you use any other names. Here is where you list nicknames or other names that you have gone by. For example, if you were born Alice Smith but married Mr. Jones you most likely use Alice Jones as your legal name, but you must list Alice Smith as another name you have gone by.
The packet will ask you your address, your phone number, your cell phone number, your work number. Do not give a post office box as your address. They want to know where you physically live. They will be visiting the address and going door-to-door to talk to your neighbors about you. If you give them a false address or a post office box, they will know it right away and it will be viewed as deception. Deception is usually a disqualifying act.
They will also be contacting family members as well as other people that you have lived with. Your landlords will also be contacted to see if you were a responsible tenant.
You will be instructed to list all of your previous jobs for a certain period of time. You will need to provide the name of the company, the dates that you worked there, the name of your supervisor, the names of some of your coworkers, how much money you earned, what your duties were and why you left.
You will be asked similar questions about where you went to school. You will also be required to provide information on your credit accounts. The department will conduct a check of your credit to see if you pay your bills.
Each person that the department contacts during the background investigation will be asked to provide the name and contact information of another reference for you. Do not be surprised when people you didn't use as references call you up to say that the department talked to them. That is normal.