Character Screenings for Police Officers

Paul Nalewajk Disqualification Appeal Process Leave a Comment

All components of police officer applications are taken to ensure the safety of the public and the candidates. Medical, character, psychological, and physical assessments allow police departments to select candidates capable of performing under high stress and also in physically and mentally demanding positions. 

What Does the Character Screening Process Entail? 

The character screening process is essentially a background check of police officer candidates. Police departments vary in their screenings, but there are some common areas most departments look for. 

Felonies, Misdemeanors, Domestic Violence, and Unreported Past Crimes

One of the areas that police departments carefully examine is candidate history regarding felonies, misdemeanors, domestic violence, and unreported past crimes. While police departments vary in their approach to certain findings, generally, a criminal history check of a candidate that returns with a felony will be disqualified from candidacy. 


Misdemeanors are punished less than felonies, though they may still result in disqualification. Domestic violence charges are taken very seriously and will almost certainly result in disqualification. 


Unreported past crimes refer to crimes committed where due to lack of oversight, miscommunications, or some error, the perpetrator was not charged. Police background checks can sometimes uncover such crimes, which will, of course, impact the candidate’s application. 

Drug Use

A drug test will be a part of the application. Additionally, the police department will check for past drug use or drug offenses. In recent years police departments have become a little more forgiving of past offenses depending on the type of drug and the age during which the candidate used. 

Driving Record

Depending on the exact role you are applying for, your driving history may be checked. Police officers tend to do a lot of driving on the job. Additionally, with the role of enforcing driving laws and regulations comes the expectation of a good driving record. An occasional speeding ticket will be noted but will likely not severely affect a candidate’s application. Other offenses such as a DUI, suspended license, or reckless driving offense will most likely place a halt on a candidate’s application altogether. 

Employment History

A police department, like any employer, most likely will want to see solid employment history and references to prove it. Be specific and accurate in your resume and include any references and recommendations you may have received during your previous work experience. 

Military History

A previous career in the military shows discipline and willingness to serve, which are two attributes highly sought after by police departments. A dishonorable discharge, however, will most likely result in disqualification from the application process. 

Beginning Your Application

As previously stated, different police departments have different requirements and procedures for applications. While not all of these categories may be assessed, a large majority will. In the chance that your application becomes suspended, there are options to appeal the disqualification

Robert E. Kronenberg specializes in appealing medical, psychological, and character disqualifications for candidates applying to the New York Police Department. Contact Disqualification Appeals today if you or someone you know is looking to appeal a disqualification.

Related Readings:

Medical Screenings for Police Officers

Psychological Screening for Police Officers

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