Police Oral Boards
Police Oral Boards are one of the most nerve raking things a person will go through when applying for the position of police officer
Because I get so many questions directly related to police oral board exams, primarily police oral boards, I've decided to write a few articles on it. The hope is to give criminal justice students and police applicants a few tips and pointers on the subject. I will also try to address some of the questions and topics you should prepare for. However, before we move on, let's talk about some of the extreme basics that you should never forget. Ironically, these basic mistakes have excluded applicants before they even opened their mouth (and I'm speaking from personal knowledge).
First of all, at anytime during your interaction with the police department, be sure to wear a nice business suit. I'm referring to even the smallest things like simply dropping off information for your recruiter, completing your application, etc. I know it may seem a bit extreme for some of the tasks, but believe me, its worth it and it really shows that you are serious. I can honestly remember looking at a guy getting his finger prints taken while in sweat pants and a dirty t-shirt. I couldn't believe it. I'm thinking "Does this guy really expect to get hired?"
For the actual interview, wearing a suit this isn't even an option; you have to wear one I can't understand for the life of me why I still see police applicants enter the interview room with a polo shirt and a pair of slacks. Its just suicide in my opinion, because the interviewer has already formed an opinion about your attitude. Wear a suit. Do not wear jeans, khaki pants, etc. Failing to wear a suit to a police oral board is bad news. Its telling the police interviewers that you are not serious about the job. I think you get the point, let's move on.
Be on time. I can only imagine what a police recruiter would be thinking if you were late. Your excuse really wouldn't matter. To prepare for this, be sure you know exactly where to go for your police oral board prior to the date. If you're not familiar with it, then drive through the area at least once before your interview. It's extremely important.
In conclusion for the basics, just remember that your police oral board will be the "make it or break it" in your application process. It is absolutely critical that you prepare and understand how important it actually is. Don't put all this work into it and blow it over something silly. Anyway, let's move on.
Start practicing and anticipating questions you will be asked in your police oral boards
Learn what questions you are likely to be asked, and practice answering them out loud. I know this sounds crazy, but I used to actually talk out loud in the shower, in my car, and anywhere I was alone, as if I was actually being interviewed. I would ask the question "Why do you want to be a police officer?" for example, and then answer it out loud. I was actually surprised how many times I would have to stop (while talking to myself, lol) because I didn't know what to say. If you can't answer basic questions alone, how are you going to answer them in front of a panel of interviewers? Doing this really helped me because it forced me to think about answers I didn't know how to answer (if that makes sense). I mean, why did I want to be a cop? Is it ok to answer "Because I want to get in chases, shoot-outs, etc.?" Probably not the best wording for your police oral board, but the point is that I didn't know how to answer this basic question that you will almost certainly be asked.
Some questions you are almost certain to be asked in a police oral board interview are:
Why do you want to be a police officer?
If you witnessed your training officer steal something, what would you do?
If you stopped your Uncle for drunk driving, what would you do?
Would you write your Mother a ticket for speeding?
These are tough questions, they really are, because you're thinking "Man, I better answer these to the letter of the law," which is not the truth. And there's the problem; now you're not being honest. So now what?
Believe it or not, the police interviewers (generally speaking) want to hear the truth, and really want to hear "how" and "why" you feel the way you do.
For example (and this is the truth), when they asked me if I would write my Mother a ticket for speeding, I told them "No I wouldn't." They of course began drilling me as to "So its ok if your family speeds?" I said "No its not, but I certainly would not write my own Mother a ticket. However, I would tell my Mother not to speed any more, and explain that she's putting me in a bad position." By the way, this question really isn't about if you would write your Mother a ticket. Its about your honesty, loyalty, and reasoning both to the department and your own family. And quite frankly, its designed to see if you will lie. No one will believe you when you tell them you would write your Mother a ticket. In fact, a guy in my academy told the interviewer that he would write his Mother and he was never hired. Was that the reason? I can't be certain, but I'm sure if he answered that question that way, he probably answered other questions similar and was not truthful. Just remember when you take your police oral board, just be honest and explain your answers.
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