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Does anyone know how long a background check for a state police department takes? Does it matter how old you are, places lived in etc... Also what are they looking at? I have received an offer as a civilian pilot for the MSP and will get written official offer once the background check is complete. I am trying to figure out how long it will take so I can plan a move and so on.



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It depends on how thorough they are with the check. It could take from 30 to 60 days to complete or longer. Some states do very thorough backgrounds and will contact nearly everyone who knows you or lived near you. They are willing to spend extra time to find any skeletons that may give the state problems.


Generally they will follow a certain criteria that the applicant needs to meet to qualify. If a flag comes up most agencies will dig into it to find out more. Very good background investigators are very good at ruling out the BS.


Is there anyone else that is being looked at for this position? Multiple people will take longer and they will compare the results to pick the individual they want. There may be other things to consider but it is very difficult to answer not knowing the state or what their normal procedure is.


I wouldn’t make any plans to move until the final offer comes in. Every state will give the applicant of choice adequate time to relocate when they are hired. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do research on living accommodations.


Age can be a consideration but mainly because of a physical agility test.


They will look at character, past job history, possibly financial history, any criminal history, traffic tickets, contacts with law enforcement and reasons, and possibly more. Again it is difficult to say not knowing the states procedures.


Hang in there and I wish you the best of luck!


MN Heli Flyer

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Thanks for the info. Getting the initial offer took a lot longer then expected so when they told me 2 weeks for the background investigation I was apprehensive. It is for the Maryland State Police and I think there are 3 other new hires. My understanding is that I have the job as long as the background check matches the polygraph and the interview questionnaire. I am 27 with a very uneventful driving and financial history so I am hoping it might go quick. Thanks again

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There's a whole lot of variables here (as mentioned in the other reply). Generally it will take a couple of months. Like you said, it will depend on how many places you previously worked, job history etc.


I will tell you that the state generally sets a minimum standard for what must be vetted in a police background. We have a Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission here in Ca. and they set the standard. Even our civilian employees working in sensitive areas of the PD have to go through the same level of background as the Officers. Our helicopter mechanics are civilians and they are subject to that standard.


Good luck and keep us posted on the progress.



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  • 1 month later...
Does anyone know how long a background check for a state police department takes? Does it matter how old you are, places lived in etc...
The item that takes the longest is the FBI background check, which is part of the State Police background check. The FBI has a long backlog. Event though the state police does get some priority, the FBI can still take weeks to return their results. For a sercurity clearance level, they will interview your friends, family, and references. The more people you know, places you have been, and jobs you have had, the longer the background search will take. Private companies can do a pre-employment background record search in 3 days, but the state police requires an FBI background check.
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