I am new to the site (still looking for a dart, so I'm not very active here), but found this section with good timing. I've been trying to become a LEO for about 3 years now, I am located in New Jersey and just took my Civil Service Exam here a few weeks ago. I ran into an issue that has made me become quite depressed, and I've lost all hope of ever becoming a LEO. Back in 2014 I applied to work on the NYPD fleet vehicles as a mechanic, although it isn't what I wanted to do it was a foot in the door so I thought. I ended up getting the letter for an interview, medical, background investigation as if I was a LEO. After about 10 months of processing I get disqualified. The DQ was the cause of Employment (I was fired from Gateway Toyota for 3 accidents, when a garage door fell on the customers car I panicked at the time and didn't report it, second time was a loose drain plug that was in my name, and a 3rd one I didn't document that I didn't rotate tires it completely slipped my mind in a busy shop). Second issue was my driving record (6 citations altogether 3 MVA, my last moving violation was 2013, my last MVA was 2015 it was very minor the only damage was a dent the size of my thumb on my hood no points never suspended license), but more importantly that has me bummed is the fact that I admitted that I smoked marijuana in college almost 7 years ago. It was a one time usage, I even admitted on the application it was stupid and I could of served serious consequences. I am very honest on my applications, I write down exactly what they want to a T from what I can remember. I have no criminal history, I have done and still continue to do community service. I volunteer with a local First Aid Squad, I was in an Air Force Auxilary, I have a college degree going back for 2 more, so I think to believe I am of good morale character.
However, the DQ for "Illegal Drug Use" as stated on my notice of disqualification from the NYPD has me believing I will NEVER become a LEO. There is one department near me that the LT said as long as you didn't do it at the time of interview, or within the year he doesn't care. He wants people who have made mistakes before, he wants to see the better of people who did stupid things, in younger days which is absolutely great but it's only one department for a Class 1 Special but it's the only department I know of that doesn't have the illegal drug use as an automatic DQ. It's made me nervous because up until the NYPD application, the prior departments I applied for (which was only 2 I believe) I've subconsciously put no as they only asked about within 3 years, which in my head seems to be the truth as my one time use was 7 years ago. Now I know departments talk between the two, they keep your name on files, mark your file with what you wore, how you dressed, any dermits, application status etc. Now I fear that every department I apply too will see this (I will continue to put yes) and they will never hire me. Am I just paranoid? Or am I really just screwed? All I ever wanted to be in my life is to be a first responder, fire fighters and EMTS don't get paid a lot even with both certifications and it's next to impossible to find a department (at least in NJ) that hires. I just fear I will be stuck working $10 an hour jobs because I admitted to trying to smoke weed in 2009 and it has me extremely depressed.
TL;DR: I tried smoking weed in 2009 during college one time, I admitted to it on my NYPD application to be an Auto Service Worker and was DQ'd. Other departments asked if I had usage within 3 years and I wrote down no, now I fear because I wrote no on one, and yes on others that they will view this as an integrity issue and deny me every time and I will never become a LEO. Any comments, advice, similar situations, anything will be helpful.