Now I’m writing this blog post based on one online newspaper article, so it could be that some facts are omitted which would cause me to change my stance. That being said “Sgt. Osvaldo Hernandez has been trying to join the NYPD since 2008, but was blocked because of a 2002 gun arrest.”
When he young Hernandez was caught with a gun in his car and did 8 months in jail before joining the Army. Since then he has proven himself in combat, both as a leader and as a subordinate. A Lt. Colonel wrote appeal to the NYPD police commissioner, Raymond Kelly. New York Governor David Paterson gave him an official pardon which makes him legally eligible to serve his city as on officer in NYPD. But still they resist.
One problem I have is that when police departments refuse to hire someone based on mistakes made before maturity they further stigmatize the applicant and make him think “Well I did everything I can to do right. Now what?”
Also I feel like applicants like Hernandez will be much more likely to walk the line. They know the consequences of mistakes. The know how easy it can be to slip. A lot of times you get a guy with no black marks on their record and they simply haven’t learned how important it is to hold yourself completely accountable every second on-duty and off-duty.
I’m not suggesting hiring someone with a past that shows a pattern of habitual offense, but when it comes to a guy who made a mistake or two I seriously believe his application should be considered on the merit of the man and he shouldn’t be disqualified right off the bat.
By the way, I’m a Constable’s Deputy and I go into the Army in November. That’s why this issue is important to me.