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Elements of a background investigation?

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by flyboy5432H, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. flyboy5432H

    flyboy5432H Pull.Mark.Bird.

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    Earlier this month I had an interview with the department I want to work for, passed it and was sent to do the physical agility test, passed that as well and was told it would now be sent in for a background investigation.

    I had a few questions from those of you who may be involved in the candidate background investigation process:

    1) They said it typically takes 1-2 months to complete the check, is this an average time frame?

    2) Out of my 5 jobs I listed on the BI packet, 2 of the companies have gone out of business. For company 1, who was my main employer for 4 1/2 years, the owner, who I listed as my direct supervisor evidently went and sunk another company after he lost the one I worked for. He has become rather hard to find (avoiding lawsuits/creditors). No one i've talked to that used to work with him know if he is even still around or are able to contact him. I have a few other people on the application who I worked with from the company, several were managers, just not a supervisor of mine. Another company also went out of business but luckily I have the home number of the manager that was there when I was layed off. Do you think this will cause a delay or problem in being able to research my past employment? My other jobs are all still in operation and I know all of the owners/managers will give me a good recommendation as they have known what i'm up to getting into an LEO job.

    3) My driving history is very clean, i'm 30 with a single ticket for "driving in fog without headlights". I fought it in court and had adjudication withheld and paid the fine, date was DEC2008. Any issues with this?

    4) Financially, I did a credit report and have a score of 693. The past year has been tough on my wife and I after I became unemployed so we do carry some debt. We have a few credit cards with balances, but everything is current. My only ding is I let my mortgage payment go for a 30 day period last summer when we had a major household problem. Since then it has been current without fail, and has been current for the past 6 years other than that single event. No bad checks.

    5) No criminal history, no drug use, don't drink, don't smoke. I'm very boring in this aspect.

    6) They asked for past landlords, one had an issue with my wife and I after he decided to sell the house we were in and advertised it as being "rented with solid tenants". We decided to buy our own house after learning he was selling and moved. He was not happy as it evidently affected a sale contract he was drawing up, had some problems getting our security deposit back as he wanted to give us a hard time for messing up his sale. We were past our orginal lease agreement and were renting month to month at that point so we did not break a lease. Do you think they will contact my past landlords and could his animosity towards me cause a problem?

    Any other insight into what they look into for a background investigation?

    Thanks all!
     
  2. PhiDeltChicoTCU

    PhiDeltChicoTCU

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    Background investigators are humans too... They understand that things happen in the course of your life. As long are you're not out robbing, smoking it up, etc you'll be ok.

    One late payment shouldn't kill you unless they have unreal hiring standards. Most people have missed a payment or two here or there. As long as they're not seeing a pattern of you missing payments you should be fine.

    Time frame just depends on how much time they're willing to invest in searching your past... I've seen 6 months because something got lost down to a week or two.

    You sound squared away.

    Best of luck.
     

  3. Newcop761

    Newcop761 CLM

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    If what you say is true you'll be fine. When you go over your personal history statement with your background investigator tell him about the animosity with your old landlord.
    The time frame sounds about right. A lot of it is variable, how many jobs have you had, how many places have you lived, how quickly do your contacts respond to your investigator, etc.
    Good luck.
     
  4. flyboy5432H

    flyboy5432H Pull.Mark.Bird.

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    Until I was laid off in FEB2009 my work history had no gaps at all other than periods during my first year of college. And all but one job was local to my current area. All of my references, and others that may be contacted, have been given a heads up so most know that they will probably be contacted. They are also going to let me know when they are contacted so I can keep track of where my BI is at.

    I really don't know the level of animosity between the landlord and I. I just know he was unhappy about the situation and I don't know what type of questions they may ask him. Everything I did pertaining to the lease agreement was within the law though.

    The only other real wildcard is the employer I previously mentioned. I'm hoping that they don't have to put alot of time into finding him since he is being purposely evasive for other reasons. I've tried locating him myself from internet resources and also people who knew him but evidently he's disappeared (good idea when you run two companies into the ground on other peoples money). As I said, I have several other managers that I worked with there that can give me good recommendations, they just weren't my direct supervisors.

    it's just alot of worrying of the unknown, impatience in wanting to atleast know where i'm at, and really wanting to get in with this department.

    Unemployment sucks and i'm wanting to get my new career started ASAP.

    Thanks for the reponses.
     
  5. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

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    I have done my share of background investigations on applicants, have taught background investigations to our reserves (they do the BIs on reserve applicants now), and consequently supervise our BI process.

    Answers to your questions:

    1) 1-2 months is not an atypical amount of time. I have seen durations of anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months at different agencies. It depends greatly on the needs of the department, who is doing the investigation, etc. In my area, agencies with an investigations section have their detectives do BIs. If somebody goes and gets murdered, the BIs get thrown on the back burner.

    2) Should be okay. If you have not disclosed that the companies are out of business, I would make sure that they do that. Literally every business that I worked for pre-LE (all 4 of them) are out of business. I have always listed the address and phone number from when the company was in business along with the names of the owners and my supervisors. Never had a problem.

    3) No problem.

    4) Everybody's score has taken a hit in the last year or two. The recession and changes in scoring have made this almost universal, even for people who have not gotten themselves more in debt. 693 is a respectable enough score.

    5 and 6) No problems.

    Based on everything that you have posted, I would not disqualify you if I were doing your background, but there is also more to it.
     
  6. VHT

    VHT

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    Well....

    When they did mine, they talked to EVERYONE they could on my street, and I live in a crap area. Real nice. Lotta dirtbags came up to me afterwards. :( Now I'm truly known as the cop in the hood. :(

    Then, they went to my parents neighborhood in the burbs and went all around asking people about me. Talked to my 75 yr old parents for like an hour.... I'm sure that was umm, fun... Hearing about me running naked through the house after a bath when I was 4 yrs old...

    Not that I got past that....

    I just wear my hat now tho....
     
  7. flyboy5432H

    flyboy5432H Pull.Mark.Bird.

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    I'm in good standing in my neighborhood. Pretty much all of them know what i've been up to since they saw me start running last fall and spring and drop 70lbs, in 5 months, they knew it wasn't just for the fun of it and eventually asked.

    I put on the application that both of my last 2 jobs have closed so they are aware of that.

    A friend from my academy class already works at the department and was able to get my application in early before we even took the state exam. He said one of their guys is on light duty due to an injury and that will hopefully speed up the process a bit. Guess I just have to be patient and wait, thats the tough part.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2010
  8. Unnamed

    Unnamed

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    Sounds like you're pretty well set. My old office (a major District Attorney's office) give our investigators upwards of six months to complete them, but an incomplete investigation didn't slow someone from starting work. I expect most places run a tighter ship, and expect the job to be done sooner. In my experience the length of time usually depended highly on how motivated your investigator was and whether they had an easy time getting in contact with your references/ neighbors. Aside from asking your references to make sure they returned calls, etc, there probably isn't much else you can do. Nothing you've mentioned should be a problem.
     
  9. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

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    It just keeps getting better, don't it?
    The fastest background I have seen is 1 month for a kid that lived at home all his life (22 years) and had no jobs before, therefore, not much to investigate other than his neighbors, family, and school.

    Then again, some have taken close to a year just because the BI might be busy, lazy, or both. You also have candidates that move a lot, have a lot of jobs, divorces, etc., which may complicate the search for people with info.

    2-3 months is the usual timeframe here.

    As for your history, here's the key, TELL YOUR BI UPFRONT just like you did with us.

    Rule #1: BI's DON'T LIKE SURPRISES!

    Rule #2: Don't violate rule #1

    Rule #3: If confused about rule #2, refer to rule #1

    I wouldn't worry too much, if you told me as your BI, what you listed here, it would not be an issue for me at all. However, depending on the setup of the department, the BI just gathers info and forwards it to the sergeant or chief to decide what to do. Some BI's have no authority to do anything but forward a report, while other BI's have authority to recommend or pretty much take someone out of the process.
     
  10. Patchman

    Patchman Florist

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    Never hurts to slip the man a crisp $100 bill.





    Oooops, wrong thread. Never mind. Disregard. :embarassed:
     
  11. flyboy5432H

    flyboy5432H Pull.Mark.Bird.

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  12. wrenrj1

    wrenrj1

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    Anyone gone through a Homeland Security Clearance? I need to initiate the paperwork through our State Patrol for several individuals in another state agency. Just wondering what to expect.
     
  13. flyboy5432H

    flyboy5432H Pull.Mark.Bird.

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    UPDATE:

    Got a call from a few of my references yesterday that they recieved a call from the agency for a phone interview of my background, so they are progressing.

    My one reference was asked if he knew anyone else who would know me but didn't really have anyone in mind, the interviewer told him "thats ok, i've already talked with 4 others that have basically given me the same story as you and he sounds good to go.".

    Also checked in with a few of my past jobs and they also have already been contacted. Hopefully i'll be hearing back soon about the next step in the process.

    So far, so good...
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  14. dano1427

    dano1427

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    I'd be concerned about the unemployment gap from 02-09 until now.

    --Why no new job?
    --How were the bills being paid? Any unanswered income?
    --Are you only trying the LEO job as a last resort?
    etc
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2010
  15. flyboy5432H

    flyboy5432H Pull.Mark.Bird.

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    A few of these questions were brought up in the interview.

    I've applied for everything from pizza delivery, working at walmart, doing facility maintenance, loss prevention at local retail stores, etc. Fact of the matter is that the county I live in has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state (which also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country) so jobs are scarce to begin with. And for the first time i've found that having an education (B.S.) has put me in the "overqualified" group where most lower paying jobs won't touch me and the jobs i'm qualified for are laying off or closing up shop. Believe me, it hasn't been for a lack of trying and i'm defintely not alone in this situation.

    Bills are being paid by what I was making off of unemployment, my wife's income, and my families support. All easily documented. My only black spot was being a month late on my mortgage last summer due to an emergency situation. Was resolved the following month and has been current since then.

    This was a big worry for them that the LEO career was a last resort for me. But after explaining the change in the aviation industry after 9/11, my other interests, and that i've put alot of research into my new career choice it seemed to quell their fears that i'm not just looking for a job. Also helped that I went out and became employed at another PD as a special events officer when I was able so that I could get experience in the field.

    So they are aware of most of your concerns already and it has been addressed accordingly. Thankfully I know my background in clean so now i'm just having to sit and wait for it to be completed. I was happy to hear that they are in the process of getting it done.