What Disqualifies You From Being a Police Officer?

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Having a career in law enforcement can be rewarding and is an essential part of keeping citizens safe. Many people choose to become police officers for a variety of reasons most of which have to do with serving their community.

However, being a police officer takes more than just getting through the police academy, and many can be disqualified before they start. This is because there are background checks and other qualifications that have to be passed first.

Are you curious about what may disqualify you from being a police officer? Keep reading to find out.

What Disqualifies You From Being a Police Officer?

While becoming a police officer can be rewarding, several factors may make it difficult for you to do so. Some of these factors could disqualify you from becoming a police officer in your city.

As you consider applying for a job as a police officer, you may want to brush up on the factors that may disqualify you. doing so can save you quite a bit of time and effort that it takes to go through the application process.

Negative Credit History

Although the qualifying factors may vary from City to city, there are often some commonalities such as reviewing credit history. most police departments will disqualify a candidate if they have a poor credit history since this could lead to bad judgment calls.

The reason for this qualification is the temptation of a police officers to pocket stolen money or other items as a way to handle their large debt loads. While corruption such as this is not common, it could be a deciding factor.

Poor Driving Records

Another factor that may disqualify you from becoming a police officer in your city is whether or not you have a decent driving record. While minor traffic infractions may not be a big concern most police departments look for the more serious ones.

Some of the driving offenses that could disqualify you from becoming a police officer or driving under the influence, and reckless driving. some other rare but valid concerns of the police department are if you have ever performed a hit and run or other serious traffic infractions.

Criminal History

One of the biggest factors that could disqualify you from becoming a police officer in the city where you live, is whether or not you have a criminal history. since police officers are tasked with protecting and serving the citizens of the city where they serve, they are expected to be above reproach.

If you have ever been convicted of a felony, you may be disqualified to work as a police officer in your city. In most cases only adult felony convictions are considered however there are some cities where the department may look into your juvenile record.

Negative Psychological Evaluation

Another part of the qualifying portions of becoming a police officer is the psychological evaluation which is performed by a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist. during this exam, they are focused on trying to ensure that you are mentally fit for serving as a police officer.

One of the biggest issues they look for is inconsistent answers to the questions that they asked throughout the interview. they also want to be sure that you are not a danger to yourself or anyone else.

Failed Physical Exam

It is important to understand that being a police officer is a somewhat physically demanding profession. because of this, police departments must ensure that a candidate is physically able to handle the job.

Part of the physical exam requires candidates to have a physical done by a medical professional where they answer questions about their medical history and family history. the point of this exam is to ensure that they don't have any pre-existing conditions that could disqualify them from serving as a police officer.

What Do They Look For on a Police Officer Background Check?

Another important part of the qualifying process for becoming a police officer is to have a background check completed. During this process, many factors are considered and looked at extensively before you can become a police officer.

Employment History

As with any other employer, a police department will always check your employment history to find out what you have done in the past. this could help them determine whether or not you would be a good fit for the position of a police officer.


Another area that is checked out on a background check is your educational history to determine whether or not you've gone through the proper courses to qualify you as a police officer. well you don't necessarily have to have a college degree to become a police officer, they do want to ensure that you have a stable history.

Family History

One of the most uncomfortable parts of a background check for becoming a police officer is when the investigators check your family history. this is because they often do a home check where they interview various members of your family and friends.

This is done to investigate how your friends and family view your personality which can determine whether or not you'd be a good fit for the police department. they oftentimes are looking for red flags that could indicate anything that may disqualify you from becoming part of the department.

Criminal Background

The most important part of the background check is when they check your criminal history for anything that could be there. this is where they will discover whether or not you've had any felonies on your record whether as a juvenile or an adult.

Since a police officer should be considered to be above reproach the criminal background check is to ensure that you are. keep in mind that you will be automatically disqualified if they discover any criminal history in your background that is of a felony level.

Reference Legal Explanations

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  • "What Disqualifies You From Being a Police Officer?". Legal Explanations. Accessed on July 18, 2024. https://legal-explanations.com/blog/what-disqualifies-you-from-being-a-police-officer/.

  • "What Disqualifies You From Being a Police Officer?". Legal Explanations, https://legal-explanations.com/blog/what-disqualifies-you-from-being-a-police-officer/. Accessed 18 July, 2024

  • What Disqualifies You From Being a Police Officer?. Legal Explanations. Retrieved from https://legal-explanations.com/blog/what-disqualifies-you-from-being-a-police-officer/.