Any precinct or department may exclude from an examination any person because of:
I. Dismissal of the application or eligible from the public service for good cause, or his resignation pending charges.
II. Criminal, infamous, dishonest, immoral, or notoriously disgraceful or dissolute conduct, or bad character.
III. The knowingly making of a false statement by any person in his application for examination, and every connivance by him at any false statement made in any accompanying certificates, or the commission of or attempt to commit any fraud against civil service law or rules or regulations or any complicity by him in any such fraud, before, during, or after any examination.1
This third point found above is actually, in short, the meaning of a background investigation.
The background investigation is essentially a systematic collection of facts and opinions from persons who know / have known the particular candidate, and also from those persons who have custody of the records of his past.2
A report of the background investigator is reviewed, with accompanying documents to determine if that candidate will be acceptable to appoint as a police officer. The purpose of this background investigation process actually has three branches.
The major objective is to see how the candidate behaved throughout many different circumstances and predict his performance as an officer in the future.
The second is to verify as truthful all the statements made by the candidate. The third is to prevent that particular department from hiring a candidate that will prove to be unqualified for the position.
The first step to the investigation procedure will include the investigator getting organized, and to do this he will need some basic documents. First of all, he will need to inform the candidate that he is being given serious consideration for appointment to the force. When this is done, the candidate will be required to submit a detailed history statement that will be the basis for the background investigation.3 Other documents that are most often required are: a birth certificate, diploma, driver’s license, any military discharge papers, and any marriage certificates/ divorce decrees. The department should also obtain fingerprints and photographs, an authority for release of information, and also an authority for release of military information.
The actual background check will usually include the following ( a general outline of steps involved):
- includes brief description of applicant, picture, age, date of birth, and place of birth.
- starting with present addresses and working backwards.
III. Educational Background
- College, High School, and Grammar School.
IV. Financial History
- including Credit Bureaus, banks, and charge accounts.
V. Military Service
- including contacts with former members of units.
VI. Criminal and Traffic Record
- including any incidents in either category.
VII. Past Employment
- including talks with employers, supervisors, and fellow employees.
VIII. Family Relations
- interviews with various family members
X. Personal Relations
- friends, past dates, any evidence of alcohol/drug abuse, etc.
XI. Medical History
- interview with family physician
- including any uninvestigated leads, summary of personality, and if accepted
the last paragraph will be a recommendation of the applicant.
In my opinion, the background check is a very thorough but necessary procedure. I think that the background check could not be more thorough than it already is, if it is followed correctly. It was pointed out in one reference that sometimes a
criminal record check should go beyond simply requesting that both criminal and juvenile checks be made.4 The investigation should include whether any complaints were ever filed against or by the candidate. This can reveal such items as serious marital disputes, which would otherwise be overlooked. Also, a thorough traffic record check should be done regardless of what he reveals about his vehicle operators record. One thing that could deceive a department is the fact that not all law enforcement agencies uniformly fingerprint persons arrested on criminal charges. Therefore, it is possible that an applicant may have been arrested in a different jurisdiction, but it is unknown to anywhere outside that agency. Besides these few instances, the background check seems to be a very sound process of elimination for those wanting to become police officers.
I believe that the background/character investigation is a very necessary procedure to be included in the hiring process. I would not want anyone with a shady