Background Investigation

Government Code Section 1031 requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to determine that “peace officer candidates are of good moral character, as determined by a thorough background investigation.” Civil Code 1798.15 requires that “personal information shall be collected to the greatest extent practical.” Additionally, Labor Code Section 432.7 requires that you disclose arrests or detentions which did or did not result in conviction, as well as referral to and participation in pretrial diversion programs.

The background investigation process consists of a thorough background investigation into each applicant’s past and current employment, residence history, relationships, credit responsibility, criminality, computerized voice stress analysis and fingerprint search. During this process CDCR will contact personal references, employers, education institutions, and law enforcement agencies to determine your suitability to become a peace officer.


Personal History Statement (PHS)

The PHS is an extensive document used to collect information regarding applicants past residences, acquaintances, and employment history. All candidates must submit their PHS, along with the notarized release (page 4), and other original documents upon check-in at the PFT. Candidates who are unable to provide a completed typed PHS document and notarized release will not be allowed to participate in the PFT and must contact their designated testing center no later than their appointment date to reschedule.

Request PHS Form (CDCR 1902)

Provide your email address and the PHS form will be emailed to you.
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If you do not receive this file via email, check your Spam/Junk folder.  You may need to move the email from your Junk/Spam folder to your main inbox to view the form. If you need assistance, please call the 916-255-2500.
Note: If you receive a permissions error do not use the Edit PDF tool; instead, you may fill out the document by typing directly into the entry fields.

All responses to questions answered within the submitted PHS will be verified through the background investigation and Computerized Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA) examination.

For more information and to learn more about the PHS, refer to the Personal History Statement (PHS) Guide.


CVSA Examination/Fingerprinting (LiveScan)

As part of the background investigation process, all candidates will be required to submit to a CVSA examination. The CVSA examination is used to verify the veracity and accuracy of information submitted by applicants regarding, but not necessarily limited to: use of controlled substances, driving, criminal history, employment history, and other suitability factors.

Candidates will be fingerprinted by Live Scan as a required part of the background investigation. Each fingerprint is scanned into a computer database at the Department of Justice and checked against criminal records nationwide. Information received may include charges that have been dismissed.

It takes approximately 90 days to complete the background investigation. A complex background investigation, or a background investigation with serious issues, may exceed the 90-day timeframe.


Drug Usage

Illegal Drug Activity – An applicant’s experimental use of marijuana or other drugs may not be a disqualifying factor. The recency, frequency, and specific circumstances of illegal drug activity will be evaluated to determine suitability for employment as a peace officer.

Marijuana Use – The use of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes is considered illegal drug use as mandated by the federal government. 

CDCR recognizes some qualified applicants may have used illegal drugs, or abused legal drugs or substances, at some point in their past;  application of CDCR’s drug use policy guidelines, in conjunction with case-by-case analysis, will determine if an applicant’s prior drug usage or activity will result in the applicant’s non-selection for employment with the CDCR.  All applicants are required to disclose their current and past drug usage and activity.  An applicant will not be selected for employment if he or she deliberately misrepresents his or her drug history in connection with his or her application for employment. For CDCR’s policy regarding marijuana, review the Frequently Asked Questions.

For more information on the Background Investigation read the Frequently Asked Questions.