Your Partner Steals a Candy Bar – Police Oral Board Question – 2015 Update

Learn the 7 Deadly Sins of the Police Oral Board Interview

One of the more common law enforcement oral board questions, your partner steals something.

Serving on countless oral board panels over the years, I’ve heard just about every answer a person can possibly offer to this type of question, from, I’d look the other way, to, I’d arrest my partner. Let’s watch the video and I’ll offer some closing thoughts.

Panel: Mr. Ehlers, let’s say you’re on foot patrol and you’re pulling doors. You happen to find a convenience store with the doors unlocked and you and your partner walk in and assessed the situation and find that everything’s okay and on your way out, you notice your partner grabbed a candy bar on the way out. What would you do?

Candidate: I would certainly challenge my partner. I would ask him if he paid for it or left money on the counter even though that’s unconventional, I would like to believe that my partner was honest enough to leave more than enough to cover the candy bar with tax. I’m guessing he didn’t leave money for it and of course, in that situation, I would have to bring that to the attention of one of my supervisors, sir, as soon as was practically possible.

Panel: Okay, let’s change this up a little bit. Let’s say, your partner is a veteran and he’s got one year left to retirement. You’re telling me you would ruin his entire career for an 99 cent candy bar? You would really do that?

Candidate: Yes, sir. I would take the approach that I indicated. I don’t mean to be argumentative but I guess this is hard, but I look at it like this. I didn’t ruin his career if it does get ruined, he did. I mean, we’re expected to be the cream of the crop and to uphold the laws and not violate them. I think the way I would look at this is that I didn’t ruin his career. He chose to take an item of value that he had no intention of paying for. This type of person, whether new on the job, or a seasoned veteran is obviously not interested in putting the best interest of the department in front. I believe this is a decision that’s better dealt with by a supervisor than a frontline officer so I’m certainly going to stick with my guns and say that I would talk to a supervisor. I believe in my heart of hearts that this is the right way to handle that situation, sir.

Chief Russ: So, you’ve answered the question, and received a challenge. You answered it and you justified your answer, showing the panel that there was no question in your mind, as to what the correct approach is. Don’t be afraid to stick to your guns. Right, wrong, or indifferent, the Oral Board is probably going to challenge your answer, particularly when it comes to this type of scenario question. Hold your ground, give them a good answer, but don’t become argumentative with them. In fact, you even told the panel member, that you meant not to be argumentative but that you had to stick to your guns because you were quite sure this was a situation better handled by a supervisor– not a frontline officer. You must be willing to submit to the authority of supervisors, and you’re answer here qualified that belief.

There are hundreds of forms that this question may come in, but remember, when someone takes property that does not belong to them, it’s theft and a supervisor must deal with it.

The answer began with giving your partner the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully he or she paid for it, but you didn’t dance around the bush on this one. You indicated almost immediately that you’d bring this matter to the attention of a supervisor.

Many candidates fear, not taking immediate law enforcement action and so, they indicate they’d arrest their partner. Once this officer is outed, by you, for stealing, the wheels of justice begin turning and they may in fact be charged with theft and will likely lose their career, a fate much greater than what a citizen would face for the same act, and rightfully so.

There is no room for a thief in the law enforcement profession, and the oral board panel knows this, they simply want to be certain, that you know it as well.

Visit, for more information on passing your oral board interview.

To your success, I’m Chief Russ.