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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201969 Find in a Library
Title: Background Checks on Lateral Hires
Journal: Law and Order  Volume:51  Issue:7  Dated:July 2003  Pages:98-102
Author(s): Stanley Slowik
Date Published: July 2003
Page Count: 5
Type: Instructional Material
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses special considerations that should be taken into account when conducting background investigations of police applicants with recent or prior law enforcement experience.
Abstract: The article advises that for a variety of legal reasons, the attributes, characteristics, and behaviors selected for evaluation in candidates with or without previous law enforcement experience must be the same, along with the criteria and acceptance guidelines used to evaluate candidates. This does not mean, however, that the applicants must be asked exactly the same questions in an interview. Each area of inquiry should be customized to fit the unique background of each applicant. In order to illustrate how this applies to a candidate with previous law enforcement experience, this article selects the specific area of employment history and discipline. Although all past employment information should be obtained and verified for all candidates, those with previous law enforcement experience ("laterals") differ from other types of police applicants, in that their skills, knowledge, experience, and abilities as they directly relate to the police job being considered must be checked and verified. Background investigators who may have access to the lateral's previous personnel file are advised to make no assumptions beyond the specific information in the file; otherwise, charges of slander, defamation, and libel may be warranted against the department. If at all possible, the interviewing department should rely primarily on information provided directly by the lateral applicant. It should not be assumed that information provided by a previous agency employer is more accurate than that supplied by the applicant himself/herself. Sixty-two percent of large police departments and the virtual unanimous use of special interviewing or polygraph techniques by Federal law enforcement agencies is tacit acknowledgement that the need for critical information can only be met by the applicant, not third parties or records.
Main Term(s): Police personnel selection
Index Term(s): Background investigations; Personal interviews; Police management
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