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background investigation

I am currently going through the LAFD background investigation process.

When i was 9 years old i was questioned by the LAPD about a tresspassing incident but i was never brought up on any charges because i didnt do anything wrong.

When i was 17 i was investigated by one of my former employers for possible "product theft" but the result of the investigation showed i was innocent. It was a case of mistaken idendity, my co employee was the theif.

Currently i am 23 years old, i have graduated a fire academy, work as an Emt, work also as an auxiliary firefighter, am a graduating senior majoring in a bachelors in communication at a local univeristy, As well as 3 classes away from recieving my AS degree in fire tech. I have had no financial problems or credit problems and i have volunteered in the community.

My question is could those two things in my past hurt me in the background investigation in any way?? Could my current activities in life overlap those things in my past??

This message was edited by tabat on 10-29-02 @ 11:57 AM

First and foremost, congratulations on your progress in the testing process! The first rule of success is that you must persevere.

The LAFD background process is by any and all accounts, the most thorough and demanding of any Fire Department in North America. While I will not suggest that you or anyone else become paranoid, it is common knowledge that those who make - or have made - bad choices in their lives are routinely passed over for career opportunities at the Los Angeles Fire Department. Like the Marines: many are called, few are chosen.

The things you mention do indeed seem petty, but that is not the point. They either happened or they did not. You will all be asked questions about your past. While many candidates seem well poised to spew a prepared answer, they often don't listen to the question. All of us who will work alongside you expect you to be honest. If the background investigator asks specifically about whether you (at nine years of age) rode your bicycle on the grass at the park, then you would be expected to answer that question honestly. Again, either it happend or it did not. While you understandably want to be prepared to answer questions of a serious nature, it is most important that you first LISTEN TO THE QUESTION!

If the question does not in any way pertain to the "prepared answer" that you have created for your worst case scenario, please do yourself a favor and don't try to make it fit. Just listen and answer in a forthright fashion. Honesty is always, always, always the best policy.

I happen to know an active duty LAFD member who at age ten threw a rock and broke a neighbor's window. I can assure you that he was not asked about it in his interviews. Had he been asked, I am confident that he would have answered honestly.

I do find it important to mention that I do NOT work in recruitment, selection or background investigations, and my comments above are my personal opinion. They may not reflect the opinions of an expert, but I can say with all confidence they do reflect the feelings of a majority of the men and women who actively serve as members of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Stay Safe, Be Well - and AT ALL TIMES be honest with that man in the mirror!


Please no e-mail. Public replies only. Thank you.
This message was edited by lafdpso on 10-29-02 @ 3:47 PM


In your opinion could i be disqualified from the backgrounds given my 2 situations where obviously i was innocent in both cases and i did no wrong doing?

One situation being mistaken identity from management. Which obviously was a mistake by the management.

The other situation being just the lapd asking me a few questions and never being charged, arrested, fingerprinted, detained or anything like that.

what is your opinion? Any info would be appreciated

If the specific question comes up regarding law enforcement "contact" while a juvenile, as mentioned above, I would expect you to answer honestly.

Most candidates for the LAFD have at one time of another been accused of *something*. Yes, something. If it is nothing more than an accusation (of a bad haircut, singing off-key in the shower, or ?) you are not likely to be queried about that in your interview. Then again, anything is game. I cannot again emphasize enough the importance of listening to the question and then answering in a forthright fashion. Answer honestly and completely, but don't ramble on with an "overanswer" (a ten minute dissertation to a three-second question). Be straight forward and concise, without even the slightest trace of concealment.If they want to know more, they will ask.

The bottom line is not that you were accused, but FIRST: how you handled those accusations, and then SECONDLY: did they prove true?

Stay Safe!

Please no e-mail. Public replies only. Thank you!

It is currently illegal to ask a prospective employee about their arrest record. So unless you have been convicted of any crimes, they are not allowed to ask these questions. I don't know what the specific law is called, but I recommend referencing this statue BEFORE you walk in to your interview so that you can give them a solid reply.

...good luck
This message was edited by SFFD134 on 1-9-04 @ 11:58 AM

Nothing mentioned in your post will affect you in a background check. As Brian Humphrey (my former classmate at LAFD)mentioned, it is important to be honest. YOU WILL BE TERMINATED IF THEY CATCH YOU IN A LIE.
Everyone has at some point in their life exercised questoinable judgement. You have no convictions. I can accuse an employee of anything. If the investigation does not reveal any wrongdoing, there is no issue to cost you a job. If, on the other hand, you have a conviction for shoplifting your chances of getting a job are greatly decreased.
Bottom line: Be honest!
I know firefighters that have questionable pasts, however, enough time had passed that they were able to demonstrate that they had changed.
From this point forward it is impoirtant to think about your actions. This includes your driving record. We have alot of choices when it comes to hiring firefighters. Why not hire the best?
Lastly, Gordon Graham (a well known speaker for the fire service and law enforcement agencies) advocates performing in-depth background checks. He believes that many future organizational problems can be avoided by not hiring someone with a questionable background. I happen to agree with him.
Good luck

Paul Lepore
This message was edited by Paul on 12-29-02 @ 9:18 PM