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MDguy
07-30-2008, 12:03 PM
Good morning everybody. I have some questions regarding employment with the New York City Police Department. After a VERY dissapointing and frustrating hiring process with a local PD a few years ago (I am in the D.C. area), I didn't think I would apply to be a police officer again. Then it just so happened that I became engaged to a wonderful woman from Long Island. We were up there making wedding plans this past month, and there was a woman at a cookout we went to who just graduated from the NYPD academy about 6 months ago. She absolutely loves it, and urged me to apply. Well it sparked my interest in Law Enforcement once again, and it JUST SO HAPPENED that the NYPD was giving a walk-in written exam at a local community college on the day we were leaving. I took the test, seemed to go well. Still waiting for results.

Through talking with the LEO at the cookout and doing a lot of research myself, I have learned a lot in a short amount of time about the NYPD. I know they are one of the lowest paid police departments. (I looked into nearby Suffolk and Nassau County PD's as well, but they do not seem to be currently hiring.) But as you all know, it is way more than just the money that wants us to become LEO's. The NYPD process is very "quick" in that, if I were hired, I could actually be eligble for the January academy. (I would also have the option to put off my entrance into the academy until the July class.) Does anybody else here have any other insight into the NYPD that may be of some help as I enter the process? Two major concerns of mine....I took LSD 4 times back in high school, the last time being 13 years ago when I was 17. I know that LSD is one of those drugs that is highly frowned upon in the LEO hiring community. Would they take into consideration how long ago it was? I mean I was a stupid kid. I am now 30 and would NEVER touch that stuff again. How damaging, I mean REALLY damaging is that part of my background? Secondly, I take anti-depressants. (Yes, I know, two very big strikes against me. I'm not suicidal or anything. It just kinda is what it is.) When I spoke with a recruiter via the recruit line, he told me that the anti-depressants are "absolutely not" an automatic disqualification, and that it is up to the Medical Department/case-by-case basis. I guess my big question is, do you think I'm just wasting my time and have little chance of being hired, or should I just take my chances since this is something I really want and see what happens?

The NYPD LEO that I spoke with while I was up in NY basically told me that it's "easy" to get hired by the NYPD, but then again, that's what people told me about the local D.C. PD that I applied to, and that had negative results. (To make a long story short, I went through the entire process then heard nothing. I never received a letter or anything. I ended up calling my BI continously, only for her to virtually ignore me and I never got a straight answer. I spoke with another person back then who applied to the same department, and they said the same thing happened to them.)

Anyway, I appreciate you all taking the time to read this and for your advice. I greatly appreciate it. Take care and God bless.

Back to NYC
08-05-2008, 04:13 PM
The LSD...well, only advice I can give there is not to mention it. At all. If you do, I can almost guarantee that you will not be hired. On the upside, if you do choose to hide this part of your past, there is no way for anyone to test you for LSD that you did so long ago. (And BTW, anyone who tells you that it can be detected with a spinal tap is a moron who believes every urban legend they hear.) So, big ethical call for you to make on that. Don't tell them about it and know that you lied, or tell them and DQ yourself. Big ethical call.

As for the anti-depressants, they might be a stumbling block, but one you can overcome. I would highly recommend getting the psychiatrist who prescribes them to you to write you a glowing letter that states you're quite healthy psychologically and, in his/her professional opinion, absolutely qualified to serve as a police officer. Then, get a couple copies of it, get each one notarized, and have them ready to give to your BI as well as the NYPD psychologist handling your interview. I would also suggest getting your treatment records together ahead of time; as soon as you mention that you've seen a psychologist/psychiatrist they're going to ask you for records and documentation. You're basically going to have to illustrate to them that being on anti-depressants won't impede your work as a police officer.

If the rest of your background is clean and you don't tell them about taking LSD in high school, I think your chances of getting on with the NYPD are pretty good. It's true; our standards are not that high, honestly. But, mention LSD and you're done, and if you can't show them that you're psychologically solid you may be done as well.

MDguy
08-05-2008, 05:02 PM
Back To NYC,

Thanks for the insightful and intelligent reply. I greatly appreciate it. I spoke with my future mother-in-law the other day, who's up in Long Island, and she spoke with the female NYPD cop that I mentioned in my initial post. My future mother-in-law explained to the cop my situation, and she (the cop) said basically the same thing....not to mention it. Not to mention the past drug usage OR the meds. To me, it was irresponsible and ignorant advice. I do see what both of you are saying in regards to the past drug use, but the meds?? I mean come on, they're gonna look at my medical records. It's gonna come up eventually. And I can't just lie and say I'm not taking anti-depressants and take them all throughout the academy, you know? Nor can I just flat stop taking them. (That was directed towards her, not you, by the way.) You gave great advice about the notarized letters from my doctor. Wonderful idea, and one I may just do. Thank you!!

Now about the LSD use in high school..are you definitely almost positive it would be a DQ? I only ask because it was so long ago. I mean literally almost a half a lifetime ago. Wouldn't they take that into consideration? I guess what I'm saying is that I have decided NOT to lie. I know, I know..I risk being DQ'd. But I couldn't live with my conscience if I lied. I want to get on the force knowing that I was forthright in all things, and not "falsely" hired. I want to know that I did it "all by myself" without sliding in with lies. That's just me. That being said, do you know what the department's overall outlook is on past drug use? I mean if they would DQ me for a drug I experimented with 13 or more years ago, what about marijuana? Is there an "acceptable" time frame since the candidate's last usage of a drug? And yes, I have a clean criminal background. BTW, are they pretty strict on the 2.0 GPA requirement? (I do have over the 60 college credits required.) Just wondering b/c I had a 1.935 cumulative GPA (no kidding), and I am taking two short college courses this fall to bring my GPA up over 2.0 well before the next academy class begins. That's how badly I want this. Thank you again for your answers and advice. I appreciate it!!!!

Back to NYC
08-05-2008, 05:51 PM
The GPA and 60 credits are basically a yes/no thing...so long as it's at least 2.0 and 60 credits, it's good to go. They don't care if you've got the bare minimum 60 creds or a PhD - it has no bearing on you getting hired.

I would not try to hide the fact that you take anti-depressants. Unlike the LSD you took over a decade ago, the legal meds may show up when they DOLE you pre-hire, and when they randomly test you later. You'll probably get fired if that happens, regardless of the fact that you've got a valid prescription; you hid it from the Department in the first place.

Experimentation with marijuana is considered fairly harmless by the NYPD. Unless you say something like "I smoked weed twice a day every day until a week ago" they're not going to DQ you over pot; they'll make you write statements explaining each instance in which you smoked, but they're not going to DQ you, most likely. LSD is a totally different animal because it's a psychotropic, and because of "flashbacks" and whatnot. Pretty much every LE agency and, as far as I know, all branches of the US armed forces will DQ you instantly if you admit to having used LSD in the past, no matter how far in the past it may be. Cocaine, meth, shrooms, etc. are also big red flags. If you admit to past use of any of the bad drugs like that, you're almost certainly going to be DQ'd.

nhleo
08-06-2008, 04:43 PM
Just some food for thought....

As you may or may not know, the NYPD does not use the polygraph as one of it's testing phases. It's up to you whether you want to disclose your past drug use or not. However, I would advise that you disclose it!

First off, are you going to be able to live with your decision if you get hired under a false sense? Meaning, you don't admit to something that may be a DQ, and get hired anyway? Don't know about you, but I could never do that. It would be like living a lie.

Secondly, what if you want to go somewhere other than NYPD? Chances are you will have to take a poly or CVSA. No getting around the LSD use there. If you admit to something that serious in future hiring process(es), how are you going to explain why you didn't say anything to the NYPD?

I'm not trying to lecture, but think about integrity.
Tell the truth, let the chips fall where they fall.