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    Default getting hire with a misdemeanor

    To the dedicated firefighter,

    I am 19 and currently attending college. I want to become a firefighter, and I will start my EMT training soon. Last year, I made a poor decision of shoplifting. I was caught and convicted of a class a misdemeanor. I am very ashamed of my action. Will this conviction bar me from becoming a firefighter?
    Thank you all.

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    No!! It may take some time, and you need to keep out of trouble, but there are guys with worse in their backgrounds on the job. Good luck!!

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    Thank you for you comment. It has been real hard for me and my family after this incident. I will not go down that path again. I just want to live my life in a way that I can actually held my head up with confidence.

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    I wouldn't be so quick to say that this would not keep him from getting hired. What does the rest of your record look like? What a shoplifting arrest means is that this MAY not be an isolated offense. It's hard to believe that someone only stole once and got caught. The statistics show that some stole multiple times BEFORE getting caught.
    The same holds true for drunk driving arrests. I have heard it said that the someone gets behind the wheel and drives drunk 100 times before getting caught.
    So, before anyone can tell you that you can still get hired, only you know the real story.
    For the record, shoplifting is really frowned upon in the fire service. We are constantly unsupervised in people's homes.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Thank you for you comment. It has been real hard for me and my family after this incident. I will not go down that path again. I just want to live my life in a way that I can actually held my head up with confidence.

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    Unhappy

    That is the only offense on my record. I truthfully regent what I did. I was 18 at the time, and I was dumb. Now I am 19 and going through college and hoping one day I can become a firefighter. I don't know what to say. I feel so depressed and ashamed because of my mistake. I have learned my lesson . I am not the irresponsible person that I was anymore. Now it seems my dream of becoming a firefighter to make me and family proud is also over

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    Mister Lepore, you're probably right that a misdemeanor of shoplifting could make it tough to get hired. Plus, that's something easy to find during a background search. Have you ever been involved in any background searches, BCLepore? I was just wondering, how do investigators conducting a background search find more minor violations than misdemeanors such as traffic and ordinance violations, which are usually only found in municipal court records?
    Until you've been on a Harley-Davidson, you haven't been on a motorcycle

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCSmith View Post
    Mister Lepore, you're probably right that a misdemeanor of shoplifting could make it tough to get hired. Plus, that's something easy to find during a background search. Have you ever been involved in any background searches, BCLepore? I was just wondering, how do investigators conducting a background search find more minor violations than misdemeanors such as traffic and ordinance violations, which are usually only found in municipal court records?
    I can't speak for Chief Lepore, but I have conducted background checks and I can answer your question.

    If the background check is done in conjunction with law enforcement, it is very, very simple to run a criminal history check, that will show all arrests (felony or misdemeanor), convictions and sentencing info. The computerized criminal history check will not show juvenile charges, local ordinance violations or items that have been expunged. It will show arrests with conditional discharges or diversion programs, not guilty verdicts and arrests with no dispositions.

    A different criminal history can be obtained from the FBI. This history will be based more on the occassions when your fingerprint card was submitted to the FBI.

    Both of these CCH will show if you are a multi-state offender. If you are a multi-state offender. This will allow the agency to request CCH from all the states you have been arrested in.

    For a record to hit the CCH, it must be confirmed by a fingerprint hit.

    Other interesting stuff that will show up on your CCH will be; aliases, SS#'s you have used, nicknames, scars and tatoos and your Henry fingerprint classification.

    They will also obtain a certified abstract of your driver's history. The difference between a certified abstract and a computer DL check is that ALL of your history will be on the abstract. There won't be any of the violations dropped off due to safe driving.

    The DL records can be searched by name or by DL number. That way, it can be used to find someone with multiple DL's. It is time consuming, but a 50 state check on DL records can be done to see if you have a DL in other states. This will detect that individual who may have a suspended license and then illegally obtains a duplicate by changing the information.

    Another check I would do is run an NCIC/SCIC check. This will tell me if the individual has felony warrants. A telephone call to the local PD will tell me if there are any misdemeanor or MV warrants, as most of these are sent to the locality where the fugitive lives. Whether the PD will ever serve that warrant is a crap shoot.

    Depending on what level of background I am doing, I would probably check the Megan's Law database. I would also do computer checks on private databases such as AutoTrak. This is an amazing database using information submitted by subscribing companies and public databases. This will show me everything-I mean everything-there is to know about you. I will find all of your addresses you ever used. I will find all of the properties you ever owned. I will find your relatives. I will fnd your neighbors. I will find all the SS#'s you ever used, etc. I will literally find EVERYTHING there is to know about you. EVERYTHING.

    This is important when I want to verify an applicant's address. If you are faking residency, it is likely that your address will not pop on this database.

    But nothing is going to replace talking to people. If I find information that may be derogatory or may be in conflict with what the applicant supplied, I am going out to talk to people. If you lied, someone is going to confirm that you are lying, even if they don't know it.

    I keep telling you guys over and over and over not to lie or try to conceal information. With the proper computer resources, money and time, I can find out every single thing about you short of your underwear size. If an idiot like me can fnd it, it should be easy for any other investigator to do it.

    Remember one thing. The FD does not have to prove that you were lying not to hire you. They have to have an indication that you are lying to knock you out of the process.

    Is it fair? Probably not. But that is the price you pay when you are trying to get a job in such a highly competitive field.

    If you want to be a FF, get an education, keep yourself in good physical condition, do not get arrested, keep your credit in good order and do not engage in substance abuse. Is it hard? Not if you want it bad enough.

    No website. No books. No CD's No DVD's No tapes. No email blast. No BS. I'm just trying to help.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Default backgrounds

    From what I understand, even the negative items that are no longer on my dmv print out and credit report need to be mentioned. My question is this, if I have traffic violations or accidents that are not on my DMV report, how do I find the exact dates they occured? I have a speeding ticket from over 18 years ago and I have no idea how to find the exact date. I also had negative items in my credit history from 1998. How do I find these things if they are no longer on my credit report. Maybe it is as simple as making a phone call and asking for this information.

    Also, I lived with roommates for about a year, but was never on the lease. I was using my parents address at the time. Which address would I use, or would I just put both. I never once stayed at my parents, but my mail did go to there.

    Thanks for any advice,

    Kevin

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    Quote Originally Posted by arff42 View Post
    From what I understand, even the negative items that are no longer on my dmv print out and credit report need to be mentioned. My question is this, if I have traffic violations or accidents that are not on my DMV report, how do I find the exact dates they occured? I have a speeding ticket from over 18 years ago and I have no idea how to find the exact date. I also had negative items in my credit history from 1998. How do I find these things if they are no longer on my credit report. Maybe it is as simple as making a phone call and asking for this information.

    Also, I lived with roommates for about a year, but was never on the lease. I was using my parents address at the time. Which address would I use, or would I just put both. I never once stayed at my parents, but my mail did go to there.

    Thanks for any advice,

    Kevin
    If something is so old that it isn't showing on your credit report anymore, that I honestly wouldn't worry about unless you declared bankruptcy or something like that. Fire departments want to know as much about a candidate as the can, so they even look over your credit report just to make sure there isn't anything too serious on there and to see what your credit score is, but a credit history ranks pretty low relative to the other things they're looking for in a candidate's history. As far as finding out the exact date of a traffic ticket from the distant past, call the court that prosecuted the ticket, because they will always have a record of any traffic violation that passed through their system no matter how old it is. Ask the court to print all of your traffic and ordinance violations as they are usually paired together. They might charge you 25 cents a copy. Even if you just decided to mail in the payment for the ticket instead of making a court appearance, the court still has a record of that. Most of the time, firefighter applications only ask you to list traffic violations you got since your 17th birthday.

    Hope this helps.

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    GW, don't background investigators want to find out about local ordinance violations too?
    Until you've been on a Harley-Davidson, you haven't been on a motorcycle

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    Mr. Smith,
    George gave a very thorough explanation of how a fire department conducts a background investigation. You asked if I have EVER been involved with background investigations. Yous answer is YES. For the last two years I ran my fire department's BLS ambulance program. It's an in-house (meaning the EMT's live in the fire station) and run our 911 calls with an engine or truck company.

    I personally hired 75 new employees. This includes writing the test questions for the entry-level exam, writing the interview questions, conducting the interviews, selecting who I wanted to hire, running them through a PD level background investigation, reviewing the results of the background, selecting the candidates for the academy and coordinating the academy. Now that you understand where I get my experience from, you may understand why I answer the way I did.

    I have been on the Chief's interview panel for the last 4 classes of recruit firefighters. I have also conducted the entry-level interviews for many years.

    For the record, the background investigation for Ambulance Operator is not nearly as in-depth as it is for firefighter. I would not have hired the original poster for an $8.95/hour EMT job on the information provided. I am certain the Fire Chief would not hire him as a firefighter. There is no way I would hire someone in one of my stations who has a history of stealing.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    WWW.aspiringfirefighters.com
    Last edited by BCLepore; 09-07-2008 at 12:21 AM.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCLepore View Post
    There is no way I would someone in one of my stations who has a history of stealing.

    Never mind the fact that we, as firefighters, do not want someone with a history of stealing working with us.
    There is a lot of money, personal property, and departmental items that would be "free for the taking", ranging from money, lap tops, cell phones, etc... that could be easily stolen by one of our own. That's just in our firehouse, which does not take into account the opportunities for stealing in peoples homes.

    Stealing is not welcome in my home away from home, nor do I wish to ever have to worry about it.

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    If it happened when you were 14, that might be a little different. But something so recent is going to be a problem. The thing is, there are a hundred other people exactly like you who didn't shoplift.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LightsAndSirens View Post
    If something is so old that it isn't showing on your credit report anymore, that I honestly wouldn't worry about unless you declared bankruptcy or something like that. Fire departments want to know as much about a candidate as the can, so they even look over your credit report just to make sure there isn't anything too serious on there and to see what your credit score is, but a credit history ranks pretty low relative to the other things they're looking for in a candidate's history. As far as finding out the exact date of a traffic ticket from the distant past, call the court that prosecuted the ticket, because they will always have a record of any traffic violation that passed through their system no matter how old it is. Ask the court to print all of your traffic and ordinance violations as they are usually paired together. They might charge you 25 cents a copy. Even if you just decided to mail in the payment for the ticket instead of making a court appearance, the court still has a record of that. Most of the time, firefighter applications only ask you to list traffic violations you got since your 17th birthday.

    Hope this helps.
    It does help.

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arff42 View Post
    From what I understand, even the negative items that are no longer on my dmv print out and credit report need to be mentioned. My question is this, if I have traffic violations or accidents that are not on my DMV report, how do I find the exact dates they occured? I have a speeding ticket from over 18 years ago and I have no idea how to find the exact date. I also had negative items in my credit history from 1998. How do I find these things if they are no longer on my credit report. Maybe it is as simple as making a phone call and asking for this information.

    Also, I lived with roommates for about a year, but was never on the lease. I was using my parents address at the time. Which address would I use, or would I just put both. I never once stayed at my parents, but my mail did go to there.

    Thanks for any advice,

    Kevin
    You can check with your State DMV and request a copy of your driver's abstract.

    I would get a current copy of your credit report. In fact, it's a good idea to get a copy of your credit report every year. As far the negative items, I don't have a good answer. The proper answer will depend heavily on the manner in which the question was worded.

    As far your address, where do you lay your head most nights? What address does your job have? What address do you receive mail at? What address would you receive legal notices at? What do you consider to be your home? The legal basis for residency may vary from state. You might want to find out what the legal standard is in that state and then work backwards.

    Multiple addresses can be a land mine. It is something you might want to get a handle on now before you have to explain it.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCSmith View Post
    GW, don't background investigators want to find out about local ordinance violations too?
    Sure they do. That's what I was talking about when I mentioned talking to people. Again, how important this is will depend on the manner in which a question is asked on the app. If it asks about felony arrests and convictions only, that is probably what they consider to be important. The background investigations I have conducted (made after the offer of employment, so some of the rules go out the window) will ask specifics about MV and local ordinance violations.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    I think it all really depends on the department. For instance, I am currently in the hiring process for the Phoenix Police Department (I'm a paramedic too) and they dug so deep I couldn't believe it. My background Detective asked me why I hadn't disclosed certain things to him and I didn't know what he was talking about. He starts saying "well, In 1998 you broke curfew and snuck out of your parents house without permission", and he kept speaking.. I stopped and just was in utter disbelief. I told him, ya know i know exactly what you are talking about, in 1998 I was in 8th grade and 13 years old. Can you believe that even exists on even some level of record for me??? The funny thing is I wasn't surprised it was filed as an incident because the local police department in my hometown is Pathetic and had nothing better to do. That just gives you an idea of how deep they can possibly go. So best to just throw all the cards out on the table in the beginning to the best of your knowledge. And that is what you tell them. "This is everything to the best of my knowledge". And when I told them my background it was, I never would have remembered that. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougw133 View Post
    I think it all really depends on the department. For instance, I am currently in the hiring process for the Phoenix Police Department (I'm a paramedic too) and they dug so deep I couldn't believe it. My background Detective asked me why I hadn't disclosed certain things to him and I didn't know what he was talking about. He starts saying "well, In 1998 you broke curfew and snuck out of your parents house without permission", and he kept speaking.. I stopped and just was in utter disbelief. I told him, ya know i know exactly what you are talking about, in 1998 I was in 8th grade and 13 years old. Can you believe that even exists on even some level of record for me??? The funny thing is I wasn't surprised it was filed as an incident because the local police department in my hometown is Pathetic and had nothing better to do. That just gives you an idea of how deep they can possibly go. So best to just throw all the cards out on the table in the beginning to the best of your knowledge. And that is what you tell them. "This is everything to the best of my knowledge". And when I told them my background it was, I never would have remembered that. Good luck.
    Great story!

    Traditionally, background checks for police officer applicants were more thorough than those for firefighter applicants. These days, background checks on potential firefighters are equally thorough to those on their law enforcement counterparts in most areas of the country. Part of the reason for that is because it has become much easier, and therefore cheaper (less man-hours), to conduct extensive background checks due to everything being entered into a computer database instead just being filed on paper somewhere.

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    Moooz, as I have said before, the more time that passes since you have been in trouble, the better the chances you have of getting hired. In some departments, they may not hire you, but there are a whole lot of departments that will hire you!! Don't give up and stay out of trouble. I have seen time and time again, people hired with more in their background than what you have stated. Just as an example, not sure of exact department, but out in Cali, an ex gang member is working as a firefighter! If he got a job, I'm sure you could!! Good luck!
    Last edited by frosty11869; 09-08-2008 at 03:13 PM.

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    its LAFD. can't find the news article, but here is the thread talking about the hiring: http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=95867

    edit-
    heres the news article:
    http://cms.firehouse.com/web/online/News/Former-Gang-Member-Now-Los-Angeles-Firefighter/46$57118
    Last edited by MattyS; 09-08-2008 at 09:55 PM. Reason: found link
    The good thing about this job is that we have done so much, with so little, for so long that we can do everything with nothing...... which is what is wrong with this job.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrmoooz View Post
    That is the only offense on my record. I truthfully regent what I did. I was 18 at the time, and I was dumb. Now I am 19 and going through college and hoping one day I can become a firefighter. I don't know what to say. I feel so depressed and ashamed because of my mistake. I have learned my lesson . I am not the irresponsible person that I was anymore. Now it seems my dream of becoming a firefighter to make me and family proud is also over
    As BCLepore said, if you got caught for shoplifting once, it's extremely likely that it wasn't your first time. Any department you apply to is going to automatically assume that because it's probably true. The fact is, you may be very upset and sorry for getting caught, but it takes a lot longer than a year to truly change from the type of person you were last year. You may be on the path to changing your thieving ways permanently, and if so, good for you and I hope you stick with it. If firefighting is truly what you want to do, just plan on working twice as hard as the next guy and be ready for a long haul. If you get there, which I think you can, you will have earned it. Young people aren't always patient, though, and you're going to need to be. The general rule of thumb for offenses that stand out is five years of a clean record before having a realistic shot of getting hired on a decent department.
    Until you've been on a Harley-Davidson, you haven't been on a motorcycle

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    Default Misdemeanor from an Assault

    I am currently fighting a Misdemeanor Assault charge which I am pleading not guilty. My question is I am already employed with the Fire Department as a reserve. I am still finishing up my Fire Fighting classes, and currently taking my EMT, what I want to know is this going to affect getting hired on as a full time employee if i am found guilty?

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    Reserve,
    Even if you are NOT convicted, you will have to answer for it. The question in a background packet reads:
    Have you ever been arrested (note arrested, not conviceted).

    To the previous poster who says that you have a chance because LA City hired a former gang member, your advice is way off base........I would not use this as a barometer.
    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCLepore View Post

    To the previous poster who says that you have a chance because LA City hired a former gang member, your advice is way off base........I would not use this as a barometer.
    BC, What I see happening on here alot is that some folks (and I'm sure some have good intentions) are real fast to say you can't get a job or it will take a long time if you have been in any sort of trouble. I agree that there are some departments that are very strict on their requirements as to what they will allow you to have on record, however I know there are alot of departments that will still hire this individual, as long as he keeps himself clean. I know of quite a few folks who have had worse in their backgrounds, and still obtained a job without waiting forever. It really depends on where you apply. Obviously he needs to stay out of trouble and maybe it WILL take him awhile to obtain the badge, but maybe it will not. I mean no direspect to you, but I don't think my example is too off base.

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