Adjudication- Whole Person Concept

I’m sure this gets brought up quite a bit, but I was curious for others input. Given that the Adjudication Process is supposed to look at the “Whole Person”–is too much honesty a problem?

I currently work in local law enforcement. Which while that sounds great, I am well aware that the municipal background investigation (poly and all), is way different that the Federal background investigation. Which is why, as well as many other reasons, I handled it as follows:

When I went into my In Person Interview with my BI, I offered everything possible I could get ahead of.

I offered any information she needed on an incident that occurred when I was 18 (outside of the 10 year time frame), for an incident where I was one of many passengers in a stolen vehicle that crossed the border. It was friend of a friend who was the driver/suspect. Long story short, the passengers (including myself) were not detained for long and were released given corroborating statements. Later myself and the others were present to help the DA prosecute the jerk. Given the Federal BI and access to systems municipal agencies do not have, I offered candor. Similar to previous investigations with the (2) municipal agencies I have worked for, I offered this information to them–and thought I would provide it now as opposed to allowing it to be a hold up later. MY BI stated it wasn’t within the 10 year time frame and not a concern, especially since I was not a suspect.

In my current place of work (going on 5 years) I had 2 write-up’s I openly discussed with my BI, even though they were removed from my file after a year (they occurred 2 years ago for separate issues), and are not available to her. I did this for (2) reasons. The first was because my SF-86 asked if I had ever received a write up, not if it was still available. So to me, the truthful answer was “Yes”. I provided details, explained how the mistakes were in fact my own, how I had done wrong, but had not since repeated said mistakes and had since been promoted to a Supervisor position. I.E. They don’t define me.

I also received a DUI almost 10 years ago. It was dropped. I’m well aware that the “dropped” part means nothing to a BI. It’s misconduct. I explained my immature and incorrect choices and expressed remorse. I brought court paperwork showing this to the BI, even offered her copies for her file, as our court purges these documents after (5) years. I was surprised when she stated she would acquire these copies on her own. I thought it was ok to provide copies of paperwork as opposed to them not being included during the adjudication process and having to provide them during a response to a potential SOR? What worried me further, was she asked me if I entered a “not guilty” plea. I have to say, I don’t think it ever got to that point, but I cannot recall. And so my answer was that I didn’t recall. I do know that it was dropped because the probable cause utilized for the stop was insufficient. What worries me, is that perceived as dishonesty if a “not guilty plea” was entered and I admitted to making a bad choice?

I have been told that I sealed my fate with the Feds by being too honest about too much–mind you–this is coming from a municipal agency mindset of paranoia. I felt like I did great by being 100% honest, thinking directly to this whole person concept. Did I do it all wrong?


My mother works for the Federal Government for over 35 years. She has stated to be honest about the time frames in the investigation covered areas. If it said for example give all misconduct offenses in the past 5 years, if you had misconduct 5.6 years ago, you omit. Stay within the guidelines of the investigation. Do not offer up anything that is not covered within the parameters of the forms. Being 100 percent honest is not relevant for things that you did outside the scope of the investigations.

1 Like

I don’t think that you did anything “wrong”. If you have problems, it will be because of the adjudication guidelines for the agency and position that you are applying for. From my understanding, the Border Patrol is pretty tough.

In the end, if something turns out to be a problem it will not be because you brought it up.

BTW: I believe that the investigator did not take copies from court records from you is that they can’t verify the origin of the documents.


I have applied to many police departments and they seem to be more strict in some ways. I never got through the background portion because of a few dings in my past. With a security clearance it Is a little different, they look at the whole person. There is a much better chance explaining yourself during the clearance background process than with the police department background process. They hardly give you a chance to explain yourself. I was granted a security clearance but could never get through the application process with the police department. Being too honest is not an issue, it does help with clearances. Don’t get too caught up in the way the investigator made you feel, they just pass the information on to someone else who makes the decision. I wouldn’t worry, you should be fine.

1 Like

I appreciate this feedback. I probably shouldn’t have gone more in depth than needed, but I was extremely nervous. During my nervous rant, she didn’t take notes on the items I expressed, just advising it was out of the scope of the investigation and not a concern. Unfortunately what is done is done, and I’m over here hoping the “Whole Person” Concept ends up showing who I am as a whole. Thank you so much for your input!

1 Like

Thank you for the feedback. In regards to the documents, that makes sense considering authentication and all. As for the problems and bringing them up and what ends up “sealing my fate”, again, I really appreciate the comments. As you mentioned, I agree–I knew DHS was tough (husband currently employed there), and I think it was my reasoning for offering more than less out of fear that I might not get the opportunity to explain later–so I opted to explain then. I do hope it works out, but fingers crossed for now :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you for the feedback. :slight_smile: In regards to explaining myself and the difference at the municipal level and the Federal level–there are real differences. Never going through a Federal background before, I wasn’t sure how much room for explanation I’d get if the Investigator came across something I didn’t readily disclose in the interview–so I opted to lay it all out on the line. I did this same practice when doing my background with current municipal department, and have secured employment at local level for almost 8 years. I’m not perfect, and I know that it’s not expected. Hoping the “Whole Person” Concept works out for me! Thanks again for your willingness to share!

1 Like