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Thread: DQ vs. Not a DQ

  1. #1
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    DQ vs. Not a DQ

    So this isn't your usual, "i used crack can I be a policeman" question. Me and a buddy of mine, we're both Corrections Officers, were arguing with a co-worker yesterday about drugs and DQ's for PD's. She was telling us that she had used ecstasy in about 1998 when she was 18 or so and that she can't get on at a PD because of it. We gave her a hard time and she went into a diatribe about the self righteousness of cops, blah, blah, blah. Anyhow, my question is this: Why is one drug considered more of a risk than another? Example, Why is it okay(by okay I mean according to most hiring standards) to have sniffed coke five years ago, but not to have used ecstasy five years ago? likewise for mushrooms vs. meth, the list could go on and on. Why are some drugs automatic dq's whereas others, some more addictive, are not? Any of you LEO's or BI's out there that could shed some light on this please do. A curious Correctionsguy thanks you ahead of time.

  2. #2
    saintsfan is offline Cadet
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    generally speaking, the only drug that is not an automatic dq is marijuana.
    cocaine, meth, heroin, lsd,x, etc. are considered by most if not all agencies as hard drugs.

  3. #3
    ATF SAC's Avatar
    ATF SAC is offline The Moderate Moderator
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    I suppose we would rather be self righteous rather than hypocrites although agencies are hardly perfect at either. Increasingly, agency drug policies seem to be moving into alignment at all levels and are more like saintsfan describes.

    My observation is that two factors seem to effect those increasingly rare agencies that will process applicants with other than some low level of marijuana use. The first is bad policy statements. Agencies state a policy that the authors intend to block use of all but marijuana but state the policy so generally that the folks that implement it make differing interpretations. One of the things I have observed over the last decade in the Federal sector is a more rigorous and clear statement of policy and typically they read like the ones in the sticky at the head of this forum.

    The other is recruiting base. Some agencies, even local PD's have pay, benefits and programs that support National recruiting. Some smaller departments draw entirely out of the local community. Depending on the circumstances, they may have to take more risks in whom they will look at. Not ideal but more than a few agencies have tried to fill slots by taking some higher level of risk. Most eventually get to investing the money and avoiding the risk. This is accelerated by the movement toward accreditation where States implement versions of Nationally recognized standards for recruiting, selecting, training and certifying.

    It is not surprising that people who have tried this or that feel like the standards are too harsh. What is surprising is that those that have tried this or that don't recognize that most people have not. They apparently believe that because they and a small circle of associates have, then everybody has. Not true. So long as police departments can hire folks who have avoided drugs they will prefer to do so.

    Actually, to anticipate a fairly common post to threads like this, they are not likely to hire a candidate whose BI or medical reveals abuse of alcohol and there is a growing trend to require that officers be non-smokers as well.

    The reasoning is fairly simple. Mix together the fact that LE enforces laws relating to drugs and that LE is a large segment of public employees for whom there are insurance costs, both medical and liability and you get a system that will increasingly frown on any substance abuse by its candidates and employees.
    ret.

  4. #4
    ATFpoa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ATF SAC
    I suppose we would rather be self righteous rather than hypocrites.

    Very well put.
    A society that makes war against its police had better learn to make friends with criminals. - unknown

  5. #5
    TDF's Avatar
    TDF
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    not so fast

    Quote Originally Posted by saintsfan
    generally speaking, the only drug that is not an automatic dq is marijuana.
    cocaine, meth, heroin, lsd,x, etc. are considered by most if not all agencies as hard drugs.

    Oddly enough, a few years back I was told that my steriod use was an AUTOMATIC DQ for one Agency, but that if I had done meth 5 years ago and only 2 times like I did the roids, I could continue in backgrounds. The BI told me it was dept. policy that he did not agree with. But that it was just that, dept. policy. So it still really depends on the dept. Live an learn.
    JOB 27:5

  6. #6
    Johnny_Danger is offline Sergeant
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    My amateur opinion would be that many agencies (local, state, federal) are actually in a hiring need. I've seen a few stories about LASO, for example, about how they have such a lack of qualified applicants... and CNN has been airing a story about FBI's lacking qualified SA applicants.

    Well, one way to increase the amount of qualified applicants, is to decrease your highering standards. I believe many agencies originally did not allow MJ usage however, by allowing MJ, they have increased their hiring pool.

    Now, why MJ over other drugs? Most likely because MJ is the most prevelant usage among all candidates. More prevelant usage could just mean it has become more acceptable in society. The lower usage of other drugs means those are the statistical outliers and those who fall into the statistical outliers are more "deviant" and stand further away from the "norm". Finally, I'm sure many arguments can/will be made but I am guessing that the effects of MJ are less destructive than the other drugs...

    I have no experience to base these claims, just my amateur opinion.

  7. #7
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    I absolutely agree with the point that certain people believe that since they've tried hard drugs along with a small group of individuals, that everybody has, it's just not true. I guess my interest in the matter is because I've been applying to all the departments across the states and all of their drug usage standards state no hard drug usage within the last five years, with the occassional 7 year standard. I just don't get it, if you're going to DQ for some hard drugs why not just DQ for all hard drugs? Would you really be losing out on applicants? I have just been thinking that I could possibly be hired, as a college educated, military trained guy with corrections experience along with joe blow who used cocaine back in college 5 years ago. Not the best thought in the world to have. Joe blow may be top notch now, but again, why is coke acceptable whereas BLANK (drug of choice here) is not?

  8. #8
    ATF SAC's Avatar
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    You're in Colorado. If you don't wiggle on coke Aspen is a ghost town and everybody is skiing in Utah at Bob's Place. We can only share with you that whatever you are seeing in CO, lot's of places do not try to slice it as fine. As I noted, depending on the location, departments can do what they think will work for them. At the Federal level, things have only gotten tighter.

    Also worth noting that your ability to apply to agencies in many locations and levels of governments is less constrained than someone who used drugs. At the outset, the drug policy is a gateway. No applications will be processed for persons who are outside the policy. Even those in the policy have to compete against others who have not used drugs, so it is always there as a negative up to selection. So you will always have an advantage in the process.

    The why is based on our system of government. If state x has less stringent standards than state y it because state x and y have the right to set the standards they think work for them. However, even the circumstance you describe gives you a deserved advantage. The college senior who used cocaine in his last year of college is 5 to 7 years from being an acceptable applicant, you were the day you got the degree.
    Last edited by ATF SAC; 08-24-2005 at 14:45.
    ret.

  9. #9
    kb75's Avatar
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    After reading through this thread, I have to say I am stumped by the hiring standards of some agencies. The Delaware State Police have a very strict policy on "hallucinogenic drugs" such as LSD, mushrooms, and the most recent addition, ecstasy. Use of these drugs is an automatic disqualification.

    When I went through the DSP academy, we had a State Fire Marshal in the class. He admitted to all of us he had done LSD 5 times during our drug lecture. The instructors, as well as the rest of us, were floored. I have to wonder, why would two agencies under the control of the State of Delaware have such different hiring standards?

    Plus, there were recruits in the class, now Troopers, who admitted to doing coke.

    Just my observation of the small and often overlooked, sales tax free State of DE.

    kb75

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kb75
    After reading through this thread, I have to say I am stumped by the hiring standards of some agencies. The Delaware State Police have a very strict policy on "hallucinogenic drugs" such as LSD, mushrooms, and the most recent addition, ecstasy. Use of these drugs is an automatic disqualification.

    When I went through the DSP academy, we had a State Fire Marshal in the class. He admitted to all of us he had done LSD 5 times during our drug lecture. The instructors, as well as the rest of us, were floored. I have to wonder, why would two agencies under the control of the State of Delaware have such different hiring standards?

    Plus, there were recruits in the class, now Troopers, who admitted to doing coke.

    Just my observation of the small and often overlooked, sales tax free State of DE.

    kb75
    And you are assuming they were 100% truthful on their hiring packet....If they weren't, imagine spending the rest of your law enforcment carrer looking over your shoulder.....Chicks
    Contigo


 

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