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Washington State Patrol Relaxes Drug, Crime Rules for Applicants

December 05, 2013  | 

The Washington State Patrol is revising its screening process for applicants in ways that the agency contends reflect the realities of today and the demographics of tomorrow, the Spokesman-Review reports.

It faces the possible loss of more than 200 troopers and sergeants between now and 2017 through retirement, and it isn’t attracting enough qualified applicants to fill those holes.

Bob Calkins, a spokesman for the patrol, said the main changes involve several things that previously disqualified applicants, such as a conviction for being a minor in possession of alcohol. Say it happened when you were 16 and foolish, Calkins said, but now you’re a mature 25-year-old with a spouse, family and good job history. The patrol would give you an interview.

Previously, an applicant could not have smoked marijuana or hash in the last three years. The patrol has dropped that to one year, but will still ask how often you used the drug.

Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Retired Chief @ 12/5/2013 8:54 PM

Ignoring a 9 year old MIP of alcohol I can see. Ignoring use of hash a year ago---no way. And we wonder why we have problems.

Harleyguy20212 @ 12/6/2013 7:35 AM

Sorry Chief but I disagree. We need honest, qualified candidates. People make bad judgment calls all the time. The problem that we have is people not taking responsibility for those calls and then trying to hide it. If we can get people to say "yep, I did that, and I will not do it again" then I think we will be making progress. PS: A 9 year old MIP is far worse than a 17 year old MIP to me btw.

Ima Leprechaun @ 12/6/2013 7:27 PM

I came into Law Enforcement after the Age of Aquarius and Free Love and all government agencies were hard pressed to find any recruits that had not had some kind of drug background, so as long as they had no prior use before a year prior to hire and no drug arrests or convictions it was not considered an impediment to hire. I had been a nerd and I never took anything illegal so it was never an issue for me but we hired guys that had used LSD, Hash, Pills, Pot, Thai-sticks, Heroin and all kinds of other stuff. I never saw any of them have a problem after we hired them. Upon entering the hiring process if they tested clean and they didn't lie about their past use and declared they had no intention of ever taking them again it really wasn't a problem. We are only human and after taking this job of great trust we remain honest and do the job to the best of our ability that should be the only standard we should be judged by. Given Probable Cause I see no reason why someone cannot be tested if they show signs of impairment while at work. After all, with Probable Cause we still have the same rights as everyone else.

Troop @ 12/8/2013 6:03 PM

Better to do more with less, than having a shady background Trooper on the job.

John @ 12/9/2013 5:13 PM

I have no prob with ignoring the MIP but drug use 13 months ago? Forget it. 5 years clean and annual drug tests minimum.

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