I've no criminal record - other than my juvenile record, and I plan to graduate soon from BSU (I'm in Buffalo NY) with a bachelors in Criminal Justice to become a police officer. I have not been in trouble since I was about 17 years old and am now 24.
How could I go about accessing my juvenile record myself?
Employment / Labor Attorney
The biggest impediment to becoming law enforcement is dishonesty. If you have some youthful mistakes, own up and admit them. They may or may not hire you, but they will fire you from any stage of the application process including after you're hired if they uncover (and they do) dishonesty.
It's a matter of public policy. There are few things more dangerous to the legal system dishonest law enforcement members.
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I agree with my colleague. Full disclosure is much better than saying nothing and then hoping your employer does not find out. If you want to access your record, you should consult the clerk at the court where you were charged. Better, consult an attorney who can assist you.
The response I have provided is general in nature, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. My practice is based in Rhode Island, and the law and practice in other states or jurisdictions may be different.
Depending on the disposition of your juvenile cases you may be able to expunge your record. I would consult an attorney to look into that possibility. Even if the cases get expunged, law enforcement does till have access to the records. Being honest will go a long way in your application. Either way you should pursue the possibility of expungement for any future employment or background checks.
As a prior law enforcement officer having gone through the laborious hiring process, you must disclose everything. It is the concealment or omission of prior acts that will inevitably cast a negative light upon you. Speaking from experience, a low level (non-violent or sexual offense) misdemeanor should not inhibit you from becoming a law enforcement officer. You need to do your homework and contact each individual agency where you plan on seeking employment. Generally speaking most are receptive to these types of inquiries and will give you am honest answer. With the more competitive agencies expect more scrutiny regarding your background. In the end they are more concerned with one accepting responsibility for past transgressions with an emphasis on how you learned from it and what you have done since that time. The past is the past.