Buhner.com Takes The Police
Test By Tom Edwards,
The job market is really horrible
(don't let anyone tell you differently), so people are finding themselves trying
to do whatever they can to make themselves available for more jobs. Me? I find
myself taking tests as often as possible, in an effort to make money some time
in the future.
I took the Suffolk County Police Exam
Saturday, to the shock of pretty much anyone who hasn't spoken to me recently.
I'm not exactly one who "seems" like I'd make a good cop, but in times like
these, you do whatever you need to do to get a job.
So, without the support of any of my family
(with the exception of my wife, naturally), I embarked on a police test mission
this past Saturday. Apparently, so did everyone else in the world. I know that
the test was being given in several school around the county. The parking lot
for the William Floyd School District (junior and senior high schools) was
completely full, and people were parking outside on the street and walking to
the schools to take the test. It looked like a Giants game.
Now, normally, you probably wouldn't have this
many people attempting to try to become police officers. It's not exactly a fun
job. There's a good amount of people who don't like you, you have to go into
unfavorable situations and locations, your life is in danger, and you have to
wear a uniform. However, it makes a good living, there's a pension, and once
you get the job, you retire in twenty-something years. It's not that bad of a
In previous years, it would have been people
who "wanted" to be police officers taking the test. Now, it's people who want
to work. People in fields question switching over to other fields. Doctors
don't think that they could be lawyers. Animal trainers don't think they can be
computer programmers. Taxi drivers don't think they can be pastry chefs.
However, everybody thinks they can be a cop.
So, I took the test Saturday, and as I looked
around the room at the people who were going to be taking the test with me, I'd
say 50% of them looked like they would have been here, regardless of the job
market. They've got Marine cut hair, 5% body fat, and look like they'd be
friendly but people you wouldn't want to cross. There were also a handful that
looked like they had plenty of police experience, but none of it on the "good"
side. Me? I just shrugged and waited for the test.
The test is a three part experience. 270 (I
think) questions, broken up into "intellegence" questions, "personality"
questions, and "life experience" questions. The first hundred are the actual
"test" portion of the exam. They're questions that determine whether you're
smart enough to be a cop. Matching a sketch with another sketch out of four
possible (with very minor differences in each), putting sentences in a police
report in logical order, determining which witness' account was different from
the rest, etc. Here's an example question taken from the "candidate preparation
guide", distributed to applicants a few weeks before the test:
Police Officer Wilkins is preparing a
report after leaving the scene of an accident. The report will include the
following sentences. (These sentences are NOT listed in the correct
1) The Dodge struck the right rear fender
of Mrs. Smith's Ford, and continued on its way.
2) Mrs. Smith stated that she was making a
left turn from 40th St. onto Third Avenue.
3) As the car passed, Mrs. Smith noticed
the dangling rear license plate #412AEJ.
4) Mrs. Smith complained to police of back
pains and was removed by ambulance to Bellevue Hospital.
5) An old green Dodge traveling up Third
Avenue went through the red light at 40th St. and Third Avenue.
The most logical order for the above
statements to appear in the report is:
A. 1,3,2,5,4 B. 2,5,1,3,4 C.
4,5,1,2,3 D. 5,3,1,2,4
In other civil service tests I have taken,
this question would test your English language knowledge. By determining the
context each sentence was said in, you'd have to determine what order to put the
statements in to make the most clear statement. However, for the police exam,
they've made it simple enough to look at the statements, figure out the time
order they belong in, and place them in that order. In addition, the four
choices are explained to you, so you really don't have to determine the best
order by reading the statements first, but just by reading the statements in the
order that the answers state, you can determine which sounds best. This was
pretty much cake, and
The "personality" portion is a series of
statements that you rate one to five on how much you agree or disagree with
them. It's hard to believe, but these questions are reportedly "graded", so the
years and years of hearing that there "is no wrong answer" for questions about
your personality, this test shows that there apparently is a wrong answer
when you talk about how you act in certain situation. Two example
Insults don't bother me.
I set goals and strive to achieve
For these statements, you would answer on a
scale of one to five, with one being that you "strongly disagree" with the
statement, and five being that you "strongly agree". Now, apparently, one of
those five answers is considered the "right answer", although questions answered
by showing your personality aren't exactly the best judge of a person's
character, especially considering it's rather easy to lie when asked the
In a statement like the first one, it seems
that if you were a police officer, you would want someone who isn't affected by
insults, as policemen generally have to keep a thick skin, as they can sometimes
find themselves in unpopular situations, and one of the worst things that can
possibly happen to a police officer is to take action on someone on someone who
may just be using these comments to vent anger seeing someone he or she loves
taken away to jail. It causes a negative image for the police, it turns a bad
situation into a worse one, and it puts the police officer in danger. So sure,
you want a potential police offer to have a thick skin. That being said, is it
really a good idea to screen applicants through the "honor system"? Insults
generally bother most people. However, are you really going to say that insults
greatly bother you if you're trying to get a police job? Most likely,
The second statement even moreso asks for a
"right" answer than it asks for a truthful one. Does anyone really think that
an applicant would say that he/she "doesn't set goals" and "doesn't strive to
achieve goals"? Sure, this question could weed out the few people that are
shockingly honest AND are lazy as hell, but how many of those are going to pay
$100 for the opportunity to take this test?
So, as lying is the key to success in the
second part of the exam, the third part of the exam lets you know immedately
that lying will not be tolerated. Section three, known as the "background
information and life experience" survey, is "designed to access characteristics
related to each candidate's past history or experience." Sounds happy and
friendly, right? Well, that goes out the window in the next paragraph in the
preparation guide, written in both BOLD and UNDERLINED. What's
the big deal? Read:
You will be required to sign a
disclaimer prior to participating in the exam indicating that all information
you will provide is true/accurate to the best of your
Ok, that's not too bad. Read on.
Any false information provided in your
responses is punishable as a Class A Misdemeanor pursuant to Section 210.45 of
the Penal Law of the State of New York.
Any person who chooses not to sign this
disclaimer, or fails to do so for any reason, will be disqualified from the
Well, as you can imagine, I signed that thing.
Twice. Hell, I started signing outher people's disclaimers until I started
getting dirty looks. I know I don't want to break the LAW.
This part of the exam really wasn't overly
complex. It called for a little bit of memory, but outside of that, it was
probably the easiest part, because questions were relatively straightforward.
Some questions asked about your high school career, though, so that takes a
little bit of memory. Again, even with the vicious BOLDED AND
UNDERLINED threats, there were some questions that almost asked you to
lie, if anything to show that you could actually get away with it, and saying
anything outside of the "desired" answer, was almost grounds for rejection.
Within the last two years, how many times
have you taken a day off because you did not feel like going to
A. never. B. once. C. twice. D.
three times. E. more than three times.
Barring the Suffolk County Police Force's mind
reading technology getting more advanced, I doubt seriously they're going to
know if I took a day off from work because I didn't feel like going to work,
unless I specifically told my boss that I didn't feel like coming to work.
Usually, those requests are followed by a lot more vacation time. So, for the
sake of argument, let's say that you did take a day off or two because you
didn't feel like going to work. You can tell the truth on that question, and
lose a few billion points on the test, or you can lie, say that you never
did such a dishonest and horrid thing, and risk the BOLDED AND UNDERLINED
WORDS and hope that Suffolk County's mindreading device is still a few
months away from completion.
As a side note, I recently looked up what
exactly a "class A misdemeanor" and "section 210.45 of the Penal Law" were.
Section 210.45 basically says it is a crime to make a "false written
statement". A class A misdemeanor can get you up to a year in jail. Can you
imaging being in prison for a year because you stated on your police test that
you took a day off once because you didn't feel like going to work, when you
actually went twice, and WERE CAUGHT? How would you survive in federal
pound-me-in-the-ass prison with that story? Exactly.
So, I took the test. I fought temptation to
test the penal code, and I took it. I found it to be relatively easy,
especially considering I counted more than one person who couldn't follow
instructions BEFORE THE TEST STARTED. People seem to have this obsession with
trying to "get the jump" on everyone else during tests, even after you get out
of school. I saw more than one person start filling in the respective circles
for their name as soon as they got the answer sheets, even though the monitor
said not to mark the sheets whatsoever until after she totally went over the
instructions. Granted, I know that when she starts talking, she's going to say
exactly that, but people who do things like that apparently can't follow
directions, and/or have a serious complex about finishing on time or quicker
than everyone else.
When it was all over, I finished the test with
an hour and fourty minutes remaining on my time. No one else was done, not even
the speed demons filling in their name early. Whether or not I'll end up a
police officer is out of my hands; it takes quite a while to grade these tests,
and I'm hoping I'll have some kind of job by then so that even if the
opportunity arises, some thought will actually have to go into it. But I made
the effort, and if I do decide to become a police officer (and they want me),
that day will be one to look back upon, as a day that changed my life. And if I
don't? Well, it gave me something to write about.