Personal History Criteria

As part of the selection process, applicants who are invited to start the background portion will be asked to complete a Personal History Statement. In addition, a polygraph examination will be utilized to further examine a candidate’s background and personal history. Any one or a combination of any of the following situations may disqualify an applicant from further consideration from a position with the La Palma Police Department:

Potential Background Disqualifiers

  • Failure to be honest, which includes covering up or omitting information
  • Incidents of domestic violence or physical altercations
  • Verbal or physical abuse toward others, or other incidents displaying lack of control
  • Inability to get along with others
  • A pattern of poor decision making and judgment
  • A pattern of immaturity and/or lack of discipline
  • Abuse of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs
  • History of unlawful conduct
  • Failure to meet commitments at work, school, or family
  • Failure to exercise fiscal responsibility and acceptance of financial obligations
  • Failure to operate a motor vehicle responsibly 
  • Poor and/or unstable employment record

These are examples only. There may be other circumstances which could disqualify an applicant from the background process. It is advantageous for applicants to be completely forthright and truthful during the hiring process. Applicants have been disqualified in the background process as a result of dishonesty and/or purposely omitting information.

Please remember that many people have made mistakes in the past. The passage of time and recent history of responsible behavior or actions, may be taken into account and compensate for past indiscretions.

Common Disqualifiers for Police Officer Positions

Below is a list of common areas that may disqualify an applicant for a Police Officer position with the La Palma Police Department.


  • Pattern of repeated or recent use of illegal drugs.
  • Sale of illegal drugs or narcotics. 
  • Abuse of pharmaceutical drugs as an adult.


  • Felony conviction.
  • On probation or parole.
  • Adult conviction for a property related offense.
  • Theft from any employer as an adult. 
  • Sex act for which criminal prosecution would have resulted had the incident been reported.


  • Unable to obtain a valid California drivers license.
  • Unable to obtain motor vehicle insurance.
  • DUI conviction within the past 3 years.
  • More than 1 DUI conviction, including reckless driving with alcohol.
  • Conviction of 4 or more moving violations.
  • Revocation/suspension of drivers license within the past 3 years.
  • At fault in 3 traffic accidents within the last 5 years.


  • Continued responses indicating deception on questions asked.
  • Attempts to defeat the machine (i.e., holding your breathe, hyperventilating, or taking drugs/alcohol before testing).


  • Failure to meet the standards as determined by the department psychologist (written and oral interview).


  • Physically incapable of safely performing job duties pursuant to ADA regulations.


  • Falsification and/or omission of any data on personal history statement.
  • Untruthfulness to the background investigator.
  • Inability to communicate with a variety of types of people as is expected of a police officer.
  • Unfavorable work history (discipline, firing, attendance problems, etc.).

NOTE: This list is not all inclusive and other information or facts revealed in the detailed background investigation may also be sufficient to disqualify an applicant.